How To Clean A Catalytic Converter Without Removing It

The catalytic converter inside your car helps in reducing the emission of harmful gases produced due to an internal combustion process in the engine. These gases including Carbon Monoxide, Nitrogen Oxide, and Hydrocarbon lead to air pollution. At times, the car might face low gas mileage and reduced engine performance. These are the signs of a clogged catalytic converter. For that reason, the question is: How to clean catalytic converter without removing them from the vehicle?

Lucky for you, we have the answer right here!

Thing Need To Be Considered Before Starting

Before we tell you how to fix catalytic converter without replacing it, let’s take a look at what you need to keep in mind. As many people wonder if it is possible, the answer is yes, definitely. But there is something that you need to know. In many cases, the parts inside the catalytic converter will become loose and you cannot repair your catalytic converter without removing and replacing it.

1. Over Clogged

The first case in which catalytic converter cleaner may be useless and you have to remove and replace the new one is the over clogged situation. If your vehicle gets this case, the removement is needed. You may have to use the special tools or replace the whole catalytic converter. 

2. Purified Catalyst

There is another case when the catalytic converter has been cleaned inside and the parts inside it may have blown out from the exhaust pipe. So you need to remove it to check. It is a popular case that even some experts drivers do not know how to solve it. 

3. Check The For The Loose Parts

Can you clean a catalytic converter? Yes, so can you check for the loosen parts? Of course, you can. By using a hammer and hit your catalytic converter carefully, you can listen to ascertain if there seem to be any loose parts inside it. If you can hear loose parts, you should remove and inspect the catalytic converter. The loose parts could come even looser and clog your exhaust pipe totally, which may cause your vehicle to stop while driving if you do not check carefully.

4. The Oil Consumption

The internal oil is one of many potential reasons why your catalytic converter have got clogged. The oil enters the cylinders and gets combusted and burned inside the hot catalytic converter. If this is the case, you should fix the internal oil leak before applying these methods on how to clean catalytic converter without removing it. If you do not fix it, the problem soon comes back and the converter will be clogged again. Common symptoms of an internal oil leak are clogged crankcase ventilation, broken valve seals or piston rings. For that reason, drivers must always check the crankcase ventilation first.

What we mentioned above is the thing you should know before going to learn how to clean catalytic converter without removing it. Since it is crucial to maintain your car, do not skip!

How to Clean Catalytic Converter without Removing it

How To Clean Catalytic Converter Without Removing It

Before we provide you with the tips on cleaning the clogged catalytic converter of the car, let us understand what the catalytic converter does to keep the car running.

The automobile industry has also used catalysts for reducing the emission of certain harmful compounds. For your car’s internal combustion engine to function smoothly, it needs a controlled combustion reaction to happen inside the vehicle’s engine. The response also produces harmful gases, which cause air pollution.

Your car comes equipped with a device known as the catalytic converter to reduce the emission from your vehicle. It can clog the catalytic converter, and some might ask as can a catalytic converter be cleaned. We will provide you with the tips to clean the converter without separating it from the car.

1. Driving Surface

Before beginning the work on the catalytic converter, we recommend that you drive your vehicle on a flat and hard surface. It would be a wise decision to drive your car on a highway and drive it on a lower speed limit. Push the brakes, and repeat the process until you notice any change in performance. At times, simple debris might cause the catalytic converter to clog. It is the primary step in learning how to clean catalytic converter without removing it from the car.  


2. Using A Cleaner

It is considered as the easiest way to clean out deposits on the inside of the catalytic converter and return the emission to the normal level. What you need to prepare is just a catalytic converter cleaner and fuel.

Buying the right product for your car catalytic converter is necessary. Some may be used only for diesel cars, some for gasoline cars only. So check it carefully before buying. 

Follow the direction on the product and pour the recommended amount directly into your tank. Depending on the brand of the cleaner, you may need to have a near-empty tank. Now, drive your car as normal, it will help the cleaner circulate to the converter. If the product works as expected, there’ll be an improvement in symptoms like smoky exhaust, engine misfire, and poor acceleration. What you need is waiting!

3. Using Catalytic Converter Seafoam

Seafoam can do such a good job of cleaning the carbon from an engine that it will make it pass from the engine right into your catalytic converter. Now if your cat is in good working order, it will burn this off and be on its way at the cost of its heavy metals. But a cat on its last legs might not survive.

DIY Or Hire A Professional

If you decide to unclog the catalytic converter yourself, make sure that you have the proper knowledge of its working and repair. You would require a few things including: protective eyewear, a wrench, degreaser, hot water, power washer, and a clean cloth. We recommend that you browse online to know the best maintenance tips to keep the vehicle running smoothly.

In case, you realize that the catalytic converter is severely clogged, and do not know about how to clean catalytic converter, then it is better to take it to a professional. If the ceramic material inside the converter is melted, the mechanic will change it. They have the professional experience to handle such issues.

Why Do You Have To Clean Your Catalytic Converter Occasionally?

There are some reasons why you need to clean the car catalytic converter occasionally.

First, it breaks the law. It’s illegal and irresponsible not to have a functional catalytic converter. The rule may be different across the country but in general, it is illegal to have an unfunctional catalytic converter. In some states, smoking exhaust pipes are a serious offense and without a functioning catalytic converter, your vehicle will fail the emission test which attracts a fine.

Secondly, it reduces in gas control. A clogged catalytic converter will be less effective at converting toxic gases to harmless gases. With a clogged converter, your vehicle will be giving off more emissions than the legal limit.

Thirdly, it damages the car from overheating since a faulty catalytic converter can cause other mechanisms to overheat and possibly damage.

Lastly, it drops in the performance. Every component in the car is designed to depend on each other and work in sync. If the catalytic converter is not cared for, engine performance and fuel economy will tank.

So keep cleaning your car catalytic converter regularly if you want to save money for the fine and also for the maintenance.


If you are looking for a way to clear the clogged catalytic converter without removing from your car, this guideline would help you understand the basic knowledge, the right tool to use, as well as the way to do it yourself.