Your Audi’s catalytic converter plays an important role in helping keep the environment clean and healthy, but if it develops a clog, it may struggle to adequately fill this role. Not only can a clogged catalytic converter be harmful for the environment, but it can also cause significant damage to your vehicle. To help you prevent this, here is everything you need to know about diagnosing and fixing a clogged catalytic converter.
The Purpose of the Catalytic Converter
The main purpose of your Audi’s catalytic converter is to minimize the harmful emissions produced by your vehicle. To achieve this, the converter passes your vehicle’s emissions through a catalyst made of palladium, rhodium, and platinum, all of which chemically react to the emissions and neutralize the harmful gasses contained within. The cleaned emissions are then directed out of the converter, through the exhaust pipe, and into the environment.
Typically, the catalytic converter can neutralize up to 90% of your vehicle’s emissions. However, because the component is regularly exposed to lots of noxious chemicals, parts of it can sometimes melt and/or develop clogs, which reduces its efficiency. When this happens, the converter will allow harmful chemicals to be released into the environment and may also cause problems for your vehicle’s performance.
Symptoms of a Clogged Catalytic Converter
Because clogged catalytic converters nearly always result in increased emissions, the best way to tell if your Audi’s catalytic converter is clogged is by running an emissions test on it. If your vehicle fails this test, there is almost certainly something wrong with the catalytic converter. In this instance, you should take your vehicle to a mechanic to have the problem addressed as soon as possible, both because the situation may cause further damage to your Audi and because vehicles that cannot pass emissions tests are illegal to drive.
In addition to a failed emissions test, several other symptoms may indicate that something is wrong with your Audi’s catalytic converter. One particularly common sign of a clogged catalytic converter is decreased engine performance. If your vehicle’s catalytic converter becomes clogged, it will no longer be able to efficiently process and release emissions, which may lead to a pressure build-up within your vehicle’s engine. This can wreak havoc on the system and may cause rough acceleration, decreased fuel economy, and slow performance.
Furthermore, another symptom of a clogged catalytic converter is changes to your vehicle’s exhaust. More specifically, clogs in your Audi’s catalytic converter may cause its exhaust to produce thick, dark smoke. This is often accompanied by a harsh, sulfurous smell. If you notice these symptoms, either alone or together, you should have your vehicle’s catalytic converter examined.
Finally, a clogged catalytic converter may cause your vehicle’s check-engine light to turn on. Of course, multiple factors may lead to engine light illumination, ranging from a loose gas cap to total engine failure. However, if an engine warning light illumination occurs together alongside any of the symptoms mentioned above, it may be wise to have a professional mechanic take a look at your vehicle’s catalytic converter.
Fixing the Problem
If your Audi’s catalytic converter is clogged, there are several steps you may take to solve the problem. More specifically, if the clog seems to be minimal, you might try to solve the problem by adding catalytic converter cleaner fluid to your vehicle’s engine. However, if the clog seems significant, or if your vehicle has failed an emissions test, your best option will be to bring your vehicle to a licensed automotive repair technician. They will be able to solve the problem safely and efficiently, allowing you to get back out on the road as quickly as possible.
Dieter’s Porsche & BMW Service Will Help
If your Audi’s catalytic converter is malfunctioning, you’ll want the experts to handle it, and that’s where we come in. Here at Dieter’s Porsche & BMW Service, our skilled technicians have the expertise necessary to ensure your vehicle is safe and environmentally-friendly.
Since opening our doors in 1960, we have become the go-to shop for European auto repairs in Chula Vista, Coronado, Mission Valley, Point Loma, and San Diego, CA. We’d love to help you keep your Audi in top condition, so contact us today to find out what we can do for you.