A failed emission test or check engine code involving your car’s catalytic converter is reason enough to clean the converter. Under normal circumstances, your vehicle’s engine tends to produce harmful pollutants during combustion. The catalytic converter’s main task is to convert the pollutants into less harmful gasses. 


What Does a Catalytic Converter do?
The catalytic converter in your car is a type of filter that doesn’t actually filter anything. Instead, the converter makes use of chemical reactions for altering the exhaust’s chemical composition so the resulting fumes are easier on the environment. 

Unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides in your car’s exhaust pass through the converter’s substrate coated with precious metals. The metal, catalyst, causes a reaction that converts harmful chemicals to carbon dioxide and water vapor. 

What are the Causes of Catalytic Converter Issues?
With time, and a lack of regular servicing, the catalytic converter is clogged with carbon buildup, which happens to be one of the most popular catalytic converter problems. The buildup in the catalytic converter prevents the catalyst from removing harmful exhaust emissions. Once the converter’s performance starts suffering, your OBDII will turn on the Service Engine light. 

Carbon buildup is usually a sign that your vehicle is “running rich.” This means that the air to fuel ratio is less than optimal and the engine is not burning all the fuel it’s consuming. 

While there are numerous reasons that may cause your vehicle to run rich, one of the first steps you need to take is replacing the spark plugs. If you can’t remember the last time you had the spark plugs changed, this should be at the very top of your list. After replacing the spark plugs, the next step is cleaning the converter, and best catalytic converter cleaner reviews can help you find product to remove the carbon buildup in the exhaust. 

Do Catalytic Converter Cleaners Work?
One of the commonest questions people ask is whether a catalytic converter cleaner actually works. The cleaner works by removing carbon build up in your engine and exhaust system. 

However, the catalytic converter cleaner will probably not remove a decade worth of carbon build up the first time you use it. This is the main reason why it is advisable you use the cleaner at least four times a year. Regular use of the catalytic converter cleaner helps remove stubborn deposits as well as prevent buildup of new carbon. 

Purchasing several cleaner bottles may be expensive, but it’s cheaper compared to purchasing a new converter, which can cost up to hundreds of dollars. This is not including what it would cost you in terms of labor!

The catalytic converter cleaner contains acetone and solvents that help keep the entire engine and exhaust system clean. Once you add the ingredients to your vehicle’s gas tank, the resulting byproduct contains:

Carboxylic acids
Active peroxy compounds

These ingredients help keep your catalytic converter clean. Apart from cleaning your car’s exhaust system, a converter cleaner bottle will also clean fuel injectors, remove deposits in cylinders and improve overall fuel economy. 

How do You Use a Catalytic Converter Cleaner to Achieve the Best Results?
Catalytic converter cleaners are usually sold in easy to use 16-ounce cans, and they are certainly a better option compared to replacing the entire catalytic converter. All you have to do is pour the contents of the cleaner into your gas tank and drive until you are close to empty to ensure the chemical has been used up well. 

The systematic cleaning process involves: 
1. Pouring bottle of catalytic converter cleaner into your gas tank with about four gallons of gas left
2. Drive around for at least 10 miles or until your tank hits ‘E’
3. Clear any OBDII error codes that might be present
4. Refill the gas tank
5. Drive on highway and side streets for about 50 miles to re-calibrate the OBDII
6. Pass emissions!

So, there you have it; catalytic converter cleaners do actually work! However, first make sure that your spark plugs are not causing the engine to run rich. Next, use the converter cleaner to remove carbon buildup from the exhaust system.