How to Clean a Clogged Catalytic Converter

the underside of a rusty automobile
  • 1-2 hours
  • Advanced
  • 0-200
What You'll Need
High-pressure washer
Cleaning cloths
Protective eye wear

A clogged catalytic converter can cause poor gas mileage and lower engine-performance levels in your car. In addition, a clogged converter can’t control the harmful emissions the vehicle’s exhaust releases into the air. To fix yours without taking it to the shop, check out these quick and simple steps.

Step 1 – Taking Safety Precautions

Before beginning, be sure your automobile is parked on a hard, flat, well-lit surface. Open the hood and lift the prop rod. Secure the prop rod in position to keep the hood of the car open. Put on your protective eye wear before you proceed to the next step.

Step 2 – Removing the Catalytic Converter

Use a wrench to loosen and remove the bolts that secure the converter into position, placing the bolts in a safe place until you need them again. You may now remove the catalytic converter from your exhaust system.

Step 3 – Inspecting the Converter

Next, inspect the converter for any damage. Shake the converter and listen for any noises. If there is any damage, you should remove and properly dispose of it before installing a new one.

Step 4 – Cleaning the Converter

Use a cleaning cloth to wipe away any residue from the face of the converter. Use the power washer to force any built up debris out of it, making sure you get into the inlet and outlet pipes. If it's still dirty, you may need to soak it in a mixture of degreaser and hot water.

Step 5 – Allowing the Converter to Dry

Allow the catalytic converter enough time to dry completely before you position it back into the exhaust system and re-insert the bolts into place.