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Davis Recycling Incorporated

How Is A Catalytic Converter Damaged

Catalytic Converters do not fail on their own. One main cause of a damaged catalytic converter is installing a new converter on a vehicle with fuel system problems which will result in failure of the new converter. This can happen in as little as 100 miles. The CAT can actually glow red by the heat of raw fuel being brought directly into the catalytic converter. Remember, a hot converter can cause fire on grass or other materials underneath a car. Always park safely even with a proper functionary converter.

Diagnosing a damaged catalytic converter:
  • Shell or Air Tube damage
  • - Scratched or dented shell
    - Cracked neck or shell
  • Shell discoloration
  • - Overall shell discoloration
    - Shell discolor at outlet (with air)
  • Substrate damage
  • - Carbon deposits
    - Clogged
    - Cracked/Broken
    - Melted/Disintregated
    Damaged Catalytic Converter Melted Substrate
    Cracked Broken Catalytic Converter


  • Physical Damage
  • - Installation errors. Metal fatigue. Low hanging exhaust systems. Broken hanger. Brackets. Engine Mounts. Transmission mounts. Manifold studs. Spring bolts. Poor manufacturing or inferior materials.
  • Rich Fuel Mixture
  • - Oxygen sensor. ECT. TPS. Spark plugs. Ignition system. Air filter. ECM. Engine operating system modifications.
  • Excessive Heat
  • Diverter valve. Air injection system. Vehicle or trailer overload. Exhaust system restrictions.
  • Mechanical/Electrical Failures
  • - Head gasket. Intake gasket. Oil in exhaust or fuel. Transmission modular failure. Piston rings. Valve guides. Air injection tube.
  • Fuel Contamination
  • - Non sensor-safe gas additives. Non sensor-safe RTV used in engine repairs. Anti-freeze. Poor quality gasonline. Fuels with high sulfur content.

    Does your car stall out? check the catalytic converter. If pressure is backed up and not allowed to pass the converter, the engine can stall out.
    Hear a strange noise under the car? Older converters use pellets that can rattle if damaged. However, new converters can also crack inside causing a strange rattle sound.
    Do converters last forever? No, they can wear out. The substrate inside can melt down and turn into a solid mass. This will usually clog the exhaust system. If you are not feeling much output 'wind' from the exhaust pipe, then there is a possible chance that the exhaust system is clogged by the catalytic converter.
    My car smells at startup. Is the converter broken? Probably not. Converters only work once heated. When you start a car the fuel is rich, possibly unburnt, and it will allow peculiar smells or visual smoke until the converter heats from the heated burnt fuel.
    Can I cut my converter off? It is illegal to run the car without a catalytic converter due to national and state laws. However, if the car is not used, the damaged converter can be cut for recycling. Always replace a new converter to the vehicle before driving. Laws are very strict for illegal converter removing.
    Can I take my catalytic converter apart? No is our recommendation. The materials inside can be very dangerous to human respiratory systems. Breathing the materials inside a converter is very unhealthy. Professional converter recycling companies use very involved safety equipment to dissect the various metals. It is better to sell the catalytic converter to a Recycling Center.

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