Catalytic converters are a major component on your exhaust system. They serve the main purpose of minimizing the harmful emissions produced by your car during fuel combustion. When they fail, your car begins producing bad emissions and the fuel may lose oxygenation thanks to poor filtering. Knowing the signs of a failing catalytic converter can help you plan for a repair.

1. Sulfur Odors

One of the first signs of a failing catalytic converter is a sulfur odor when you are driving around. Sulfur has been compared to the smell of rotten eggs, which is quite similar. The odor is due to sulfate gases, which is one of the emissions that a catalytic converter is supposed to control during operation. When the converter begins to fail, some sulfate gases aren't converted to less harmful gases, so the odor is present in your car's emissions.

2. Acceleration Loss

Another early but obvious sign of catalytic converter failure is poor acceleration. This is due to a loss of efficiency, thanks to a poorly performing catalytic converter. Your car won't just hesitate when you lay on the gas, it will gain speed slowly. The problem will worsen the longer you go without having the catalytic converter replaced or serviced. 

3. Increasing Noise

A car with a malfunctioning catalytic converter is much louder than it should be. A loud rattling sound will be present when the car is turned on, and the sound will often worsen as you accelerate and drive around. The noise will become nearly unbearable once the catalytic converter fails entirely. You may also notice black smoke coming out of your tail pipe in conjunction with the noise. 

4. Reduced Fuel Efficiency

Catalytic converter failure means that the gas in your car is no longer properly oxygenated. Poorly oxygenated fuel burns less efficiently, so you will likely notice your miles per gallon going down as you have to fill up the gas tank more often. Not only is your car putting out dangerous and environmentally damaging emissions, you will have to pay at the pump for this problem until you have the catalytic converter replaced.

5. Mechanical Failure

A check engine light is sure to come on as the catalytic converter begins to fail. It will also become more difficult to start the car and to get the engine to turn over, thanks to the poor oxygenation of the fuel. Some car models may even fail to start completely if there is damage to the catalytic converter, so you won't be able to drive at all until the repair is made. 

Contact an auto repair shop like Tony's Auto Air if you suspect that there is an issue with your catalytic converter.