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Why is the catalytic converter important?

Beneath your car sits the catalytic converter, which is a critical component in your car’s functioning. Catalytic converters are a piece of the exhaust and emissions system in your Audi that have the main job of transforming harmful gases your car produces into less harmful byproducts that are safer to be released into the environment. All cars are equipped with such a feature, unless they were made before 1975. Catalytic converters are the main feature that enables cars to pass smog tests, and they’re built to withstand plenty of use over time. However, there are certain instances that may cause damage, excessive wear, and even premature failure of your catalytic converter.

What to look for in a failing catalytic converter

Since the signs of catalytic converter failure may mimic the signs of other exhaust system problems, it’s important to have your car diagnosed by a trained Audi expert to more accurately assess the problem, and therefore come up with a more salient treatment protocol. Here’s what you should be on the lookout for:

Check-engine light

The check-engine light may come on for a wide range of reasons, and they’re all important to look into. A clogged catalytic converter will cause problems with the vehicle that can certainly lead to an illuminated check-engine light. The good news is that your Audi specialist will be able to read the code emitted by the light with the proper tools and skills, identifying the converter as the source of the issue.

Overall diminished performance

The exhaust system works by pushing our air out of the system; however, on the other end of the exhaust system is the air intake system, which is responsible for bringing in clean air that is cycled through the exhaust system and catalytic converter eventually. When there’s a clog in the converter, the systems can build pressure rendering the system highly inefficient. This takes a toll on your Audi’s performance, which might be most notable upon acceleration when the car is attempting to drawn in the most air.

Odd or concerning noises

Our cars are made up of hundreds of parts and pieces that can sometimes get a little loose or make noises from time-to-time. However, if you notice any odd noises that are out-of-the-ordinary, especially for your own vehicle, it should be checked out right away. If the catalytic converter becomes clogged it can produce a rattling sounds as it attempts to filter air.

Engine misfires

Engine misfiring can occur for any number of reasons, but it is surely one of the symptoms your car may exhibit if it is unable to filter out the contaminated air through a clogged catalytic converter. Engine misfiring is commonly mistaken for a symptom of an issue with the fuel system or an oxygen sensor, so it’s important to have the catalytic converter checked out too.

Issues with vehicle emissions

If you have an older Audi vehicle and are required to bring it in for an emissions test, usually passing it is no big deal and you can go on about your day; however, if your Audi is unable to pass an emissions test it could likely be due to a clogged converter. Another sign of emissions problems could be a strong, chemical odor emitting from your exhaust.

Less efficient fuel use

Your engine requires a constant flow of clean air in and out of the engine. When the converter is clogged it impedes the circulation of clean air in and out of your engine, leading to an inefficient use of fuel. Since Audis are known for their efficiency, this is especially problematic for Audi drivers.

What you can do to prevent catalytic converter failure

Preventing catalytic converter failure or clogging begins with consistent, thorough auto maintenance. Here are a few tips to help you take a preventive approach while driving and caring for your catalytic converter:

  • Keep your vehicle at the standard height
  • Be sure to drive slowly over speed bumps, divots, or potholes
  • Don’t let any of the aforementioned symptoms go unattended to
  • As your car gets older perform frequent inspections of the catalytic converter functioning
  • Stick to your owner’s manual’s suggested maintenance schedule

Audi Cars at Service Center Here at St. Matthews Imports in Louisville, KY, our location on Hubbards Lane is designed for optimal automotive servicing and repair of luxury European import vehicles such as Audi. If you’re having difficulty passing emissions tests or you believe your catalytic converter may have undergone some damage, please contact us right way to restore your Audi to its high performance standards.

* Audi Cars at Service Center image credit goes to: tomeng.

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