It is not uncommon for catalytic converters to endure the lifespan of the vehicle in which they are installed. There are a few drawbacks, though. Catalytic converter blockages are often caused by carbon buildup and other deposits that have been left behind. What can you do to maintain your catalytic converter clean and free of harmful deposits?
There are catalytic converter cleaners that can help you with that. How do these cleaners operate and will they be able to restore the catalytic converter if it has already been clogged? In this article, we have come up with a list of the top ten best cleaners now on the market along with a detailed explanation of common queries like “How does catalytic converter cleaner work?” or “Does catalytic converter cleaner work?”
Catalytic Converter Cleaner – How Does it Work?
Cleaning a catalytic converter couldn’t be easier! Most of the time, all you have to do is add the cleaner to your tank and drive. Your car’s combustion chamber and exhaust pipe will be cleaned by the cleaner.
During the combustion of the cleaner, it will travel through your catalytic converter. Special detergents and chemicals in the cleaner aid in the removal of converter buildup and deposits.
In most cases, the cleaners will do more than just clean your catalytic converter since they are included in your gasoline. All these cleaners will clean your complete fuel and exhaust system, not just your catalytic converter.
Catalytic converters and oxygen sensors are all part of the combustion system of your car. All of the above-mentioned vehicle components will be cleaned of carbon and unburned hydrocarbons using these cleansers.
When it comes to catalytic converter cleaning, many people are skeptical. Fuel and exhaust systems will benefit from their ability to remove carbon dioxide and other contaminants. However, if your catalytic converter is blocked, a cleaner may not be able to help, and you’ll likely need to replace it.
Does Catalytic Converter Cleaner Work?
Every week, we get the question, “Does catalytic converter cleaner work?” from our readers.
The carbon buildup in your exhaust system and the engine is removed by using a catalytic converter cleaning. Yes, catalytic converter cleaners work whenever you utilize them to remove carbon deposits from your vehicle’s exhaust system.
If you use it once, will it eliminate more than a decade’s worth of carbon? No!
Therefore, it is recommended to use catalytic converter cleaners four times a year.
Regular use will aid in the removal of old carbon deposits and help prevent new ones from accumulating.
To keep your exhaust system and engine clean, a catalytic converter cleaner employs solvents like acetone. The following is what happens when you put these substances in your gas tank and then drive until they are depleted:
- Active peroxy compounds
- Carboxylic acids
Clean the inside of your car’s catalytic converter with these magical ingredients. Cleaning the exhaust system with Cataclean also includes cleaning the fuel injectors, eliminating cylinder deposit buildup, and increasing fuel efficiency.
Clogged Catalytic Converter Symptoms
How can you tell if your car’s catalytic converter is clogged? Using a bottle of cleaner with each oil change is recommended by some. Nevertheless, the following signs and symptoms hint at the presence of a clogged converter. The best course of action is to use a bottle of a cleaner if you see any of these issues in your vehicle.
Rotten Egg Smell
Sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide in your exhaust are converted to carbon dioxide in your catalytic converter, which is where the chemical process takes place. Sulfur has a rotten egg smell, thus your exhaust may have a rotten egg scent as well. If this is the case, your catalytic converter is not performing its intended function of screening your exhaust gasses. Therefore, cleaning your exhaust system with a bottle of cleaner is probably in order.
Reduced Engine Performance
If you have a blocked converter, you will notice a rise in exhaust backpressure. This might lead to a decrease in the performance of your engine. As the performance declines, you may find that your automobile no longer accelerates quickly. If you notice a drop in performance, it’s possible that your converter is clogged.
Poor Fuel Economy
A clogged converter, like a clogged engine, may affect fuel efficiency. You’ll have to use more fuel to keep your automobile moving when the performance of your engine degrades. The more you push the pedal, the more gasoline your car consumes. Eventually, it’ll get to the point where you’re filling up your tank more often than you’d want.
Check Engine Light
This is one of the earliest signs of a clogged converter, and it’s not uncommon. Oxygen sensors in your car’s electronics continually check your exhaust gasses. Your check engine light will illuminate if the sensors detect an excessive amount of hazardous gasses in the exhaust. Almost any repair shop can examine the error codes in your car’s computer to assist you to establish whether the converter is to blame.
Failed Smog Test
A failed emissions test is a sure sign that your catalytic converter is clogged. If your converter isn’t doing its job, you’ll fail these tests that measure the number of dangerous emissions and pollutants coming out of your vehicle’s tailpipe. It’s possible to pass the emissions test with the aid of a catalytic cleaner before having to shell out for a costly catalytic converter replacement.
10 Best Catalytic Converter Cleaners for your car in 2022
It’s possible that you’ve made the decision to use a catalytic converter cleaning on your car, but you’re not sure where to begin. To help you narrow down your options, we’ve compiled a list of the finest 10 cleaners currently on the market.
1. Solder-It CAT-1
If you’ve detected a rotten egg odor coming from your exhaust, this is the product for you. It especially helps to eradicate the rotten egg smell from your catalytic converter. Because it does not include some of the stronger detergents, this catalytic converter cleaner is not as harsh as others on the market. You may want to look elsewhere if you have a significantly clogged catalytic converter. For those who just want to restore their converters, this is a good option.
Cataclean by Mr. Gasket routinely ranks at the top of practically every list you encounter when considering cleaners. It’s easy to operate and does a great job of cleaning your exhaust system. Just open it, and pour the contents into your gas tank, then drive your vehicle as usual. While you’re driving, the cleaning solution will do its job. It has been demonstrated to lower hydrocarbon emissions by up to fifty percent in both gasoline and diesel engines.
3. CRC “Guaranteed to Pass” Emissions System Cleaner
This device may be precisely what you need if your automobile fails its emissions test. It includes a variety of detergents and chemicals to help clean and dissolve even the most stubborn buildup in your car’s catalytic converter. CRC promises that after applying their product, your car will pass an emissions test. If you’re not satisfied with your purchase, you may return it for a full refund, but there is a catch.
When employing this product, if your vehicle fails a road test, they will refund you double your purchase price! Those in need of a powerful cleaning agent should give this mixture a go since it is guaranteed to pass emissions tests.
4. Chevron Techron Complete Fuel System Cleaner
Chevron’s product is among the most affordable on the market. Catalytic converter cleaning is also a benefit of using this product, even though it is not advertised as such. However, it is primarily designed for use in cleaning the fuel system. Combustion chambers, spark plugs, cylinder heads, and fuel injectors may be cleaned using this solution. As a mild cleanser, many individuals run a bottle of this converter cleaner through their vehicle at every oil change – particularly considering its price of $15 per bottle.
5. Sea Foam Motor Treatment
This one is well-known in the automobile industry, but there’s a tiny catch to this product. It’s not going to do anything for your catalytic converter. However, if you want to clean your engine thoroughly, this is a great product to use.
Catalytic converters may get clogged due to a variety of factors, one of which is a malfunctioning engine. Pouring it into your tank or ingesting it via your car’s intake system depends on which sections you want to clean.
6. Hi-Gear EZ Emissions Pass & Catalytic Converter Cleaner
Excellent for cleaning the complete fuel and exhaust system, this is a great all-purpose cleaner to have on hand. It will remove buildup and deposits from your injectors, valves, pistons, and catalytic converter. Having a check engine light on due to an emissions problem may be fixed with this product. Running a bottle of this catalytic converter cleaner through your car may help you avoid a costly repair.
7. Lucas Fuel Treatment
This is quite similar to the Sea Foam Cleaner. The catalytic converter is not specifically targeted or cleaned by this product. Cleaning your fuel system is one of its best uses. Catalytic converter problems are often caused by unclean gasoline systems, and this product may help keep yours clean. Being well-known in several motorsports, you may be certain that this is a high-quality product.
8. Sledgehammer Catalytic Converter Fuel System Rapid Induction Deposit Cleaner
Rather than being a single product, this product is like a system. It has an induction cleaner as well as a cleaner for the fuel system. It aids in the general cleaning of your car’s intake, fuel, and exhaust. The fuel system cleaner may be put directly into the gas tank, but the Sledgehammer induction cleaner must be supplied into your car through an intake vacuum line.
You should only do this if you are confident and comfortable doing so; otherwise, you risk damaging your car. When used properly, this product is a terrific way to give your exhaust and intake systems a thorough cleaning.
9. OXICAT Oxygen Sensor and Catalytic Converter Cleaner
The oxygen sensors and catalytic converter are specifically targeted in this product, as implied by its name. This product is recommended by the manufacturer as a prophylactic measure. In order to avoid carbon accumulation in your exhaust system, you should use a can of this solution every few months. Catalytic converters that have already been blocked are unlikely to be repaired, however, error codes linked to oxygen sensors or exhaust may frequently be cleared using this product.
10. DuraLube Severe Catalytic & Exhaust Treatment
Being one of the best exhaust system cleaners on the market, this product from DuraLube does a terrific job without being too harsh on your car. Reducing emissions and keeping your system clean are its possible outcomes. That being said, it’s unlikely that this product will restore a highly unclean or blocked catalytic converter. As a preventive measure, you should use this product on a regular basis. In certain circles, Marvel Mystery Oil has been compared to this product, however, the oils serve quite distinct objectives.
Catalytic Converter Cleaners: How Often to Use?
Which product you choose and how poor your exhaust system determines the answer to this question. In order to maintain your car’s catalytic converter clean, you may use one of the milder treatments every oil change or every 5,000 miles.
You should only use the stronger cleansers on rare occasions and not on a regular basis. One of the stronger solutions may be needed to cure an emissions test failure or a check engine light that is triggered by an oxygen sensor. When used in moderation, however, these tools may be beneficial to your car.
The Bottom Line
Do catalytic converter cleaners work? Yes! Catalytic converter cleaners are an excellent way to save the expense of a new catalytic converter. Many of these items may be obtained on Amazon or at a local automobile parts shop, and they are simple to use and often operate effectively. Try a bottle of cleaner to see if it helps in getting rid of an emissions-related check engine light or if you fail an emissions test.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Do catalytic converter cleaners really work?
Yes! However, catalytic converters that are in need of replacement can’t be fixed using these. There is a good chance that if your converter is blocked, these items will not help. However, cleansers are excellent solutions if your catalytic converter is still in good shape and you’re wondering how to clean it. The valuable metals in your catalytic converter may be cleaned and reduced in carbon accumulation.
Can my car’s clogged catalytic converter be cleaned?
Catalytic converter unblocking is a common question. It is determined by how bad the clog is. It may be possible to use some of the stronger cleansers if the clog is not too bad. However, a cleaning won’t do much help if the converter is blocked. In this instance, a new converter is likely to be necessary.
Do catalytic converter cleaners have side effects?
These cleansers are typically safe to use, and there are usually no negative side effects. As the catalytic cleaner gets dissolved and burns the buildup in your car’s exhaust system, you may see a little quantity of smoke. In addition, you may notice a boost in engine performance and a decrease in your fuel consumption!
When do I need to replace the converter?
You’ll probably have to replace your catalytic converter if you’ve previously tried using a cleaner and your car is still emitting issues. Mechanics will be able to inform you whether or not a converter replacement is required if you take your vehicle to a repair facility.
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