Can a Bad Catalytic Converter Make a Car Overheat?

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Restricted Flow

  • A bad catalytic converter can impede the natural flow of exhaust emissions exiting a car's engine, thereby increasing the amount of back pressure within the car's engine which can lead, ultimately, to overheating. Exhaust gases are pushed out of a car's engine by the pistons and travel through the exhaust system and out of the car's tailpipe. Any blockage or obstruction along the way can cause huge problems for a car's engine.

Overworked Engine

  • As the exhaust pressure builds up within a car's engine, the natural combustion that occurs is compromised. In an engine that is operating normally, combustion happens at precise times and in correct amounts. As bad or faulty catalytic converter, which can disrupt the normal combustion properties of an engine, can force the engine to work harder in order to emit the burned exhaust gases, or exhaust. This raises the operating temperature of an engine, and if left untreated, can definitely cause a car's engine to overheat.

Disruption of Air/Fuel Mixture

  • Automotive engines require a delicate balance of gas and air in which to function normally. Any time that the air/fuel mixture is compromised in a car's engine, a whole host of problems can occur, including overheating. A bad catalytic converter, by altering the combustion properties and ratios of a car's engine, can alter the correct air/fuel mixture, thus leading to an engine that overheats and performs poorly.

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