How To Unblock A Catalytic Converter?

A catalytic converter makes the impact of cars lesser on the surroundings. It is like the filter and the purifier of the car’s emissions. It catalyzes a redox reaction, which controls the exhaust emission from the internal combustion engine. It is certainly very important. Are you having trouble with your car’s catalytic converter? If yes, then this article is meant for you as it depicts how to unblock a catalytic converter.

As it makes sure that your car is not polluting the environment, it is very necessary. It is located in the exhaust system between the engine and the muffler.

Without it, your car will not be able to pass the emissions test and it can have serious consequences for your car as well.

How To Know If Your Catalytic Converter Is Blocked?

Various signs tell us if the catalytic converter is blocked. Down below are some of the most common signs of a blocked converter-

1. Rattling Car On Startup:

If your car rattles while turning it on or it just takes time to start compared to prior experiences, your catalytic converter might be going bad.

2. Rotten Egg Smell:

If you can occasionally smell rotten eggs in your car your catalytic converter might be damaged.

3. Poor Engine Performance:

If your car is performing poorer than it is supposed to while you are experiencing more symptoms mentioned above,                    your catalytic converter might be worn out or overheated.

4. Check Engine Light:

While you are having other symptoms in your car and the check engine light has come up, the catalytic converter or some other engine component might have degraded.


5. Failed Emissions Test:

A failed emissions test would suggest a damaged catalytic converter.

There are other ways to identify a clogged/blocked catalytic converter, but the ones above are common. You can also check for other issues using a scanner if you own one by plugging it in the steering wheel and looking for the issue.

How To Unblock A Catalytic Converter?

1. Cleaning The Cat Con Using Cleaner:

The best option to get a fixed catalytic converter would be replacing it, but there is a way you can clean it yourselves. It is quite simple to do so and wouldn’t require much money. There are various cleaning kits available on the internet and in automotive shops. Before cleaning the catalytic converter, I’d suggest you buy an OBD Scanner, diagnose the problem, and check whether the problem has been solved after cleaning the catalytic converter. Given below are the steps on how to unblock a catalytic converter:

  • Make sure your car has at least 15 litres of gas. Do not do the next step without making this sure.
  • Pour the contents of the cleaner into the fuel tank, while taking the help of the instructions on the bottle.
  • Make sure to replace the fuel tank’s cap.
  • Drive your car around for around 45 minutes until the tank is almost empty.
  • Connect the OBD Scanner to the steering wheel and check whether the reading has changed from before.

2. Cleaning The Cat Con Using Toolkit:

You must have some mechanical skills before you attempt to replace the catalytic converter. You will also need basic tools. You will require a degreaser, a high-pressure washer, a jack, a wrench, safety equipment and a towel for cleaning purposes.

  • The converter as discussed before is between the exhaust system. After identifying the converter, remove the bolts on it using the wrench.
  • Check and inspect the converter to find out whether it is damaged or melted due to high temperature. I
  • If the converter can still be fixed, clean the outer part using the towel. Use the washer to wash the components and make sure particles stuck inside are washed out. Just make sure you are not damaging it.
  • After cleaning it thoroughly, let it dry for 2-3 hours. After it has dried, you can put it back in.

If this still has not solved your problem, you will have to get the converter replaced.

How Much Would It Cost To Fix A Clogged Catalytic Converter?

Getting a cleaner for a clogged catalytic converter is not much and will cost around $15 to $30. You can even find a cheaper alternative on sales. If you are not lucky and your car’s converter requires a replacement, you will have to spend more. A catalytic converter can cost a lot, depending upon your car model.


The guides above showing how to unblock a catalytic converter are going to be really helpful for you if the converter is not damaged or melted. If the damage has gone up to an extent where it cannot be fixed, your car desperately needs a replacement. It is a very crucial part of a car and it should not be ignored. It can even mess up the engine. I’d suggest trying the do it yourself methods. If things do not get resolved, take it to a repair shop. A catalytic converter is not going to be cheap. It will cost you anywhere from around $900 to even $2500. But, regardless of the cost, this is supposed to be fixed as soon as possible as this cost is not going down with ignorance.