Can a Bad Catalytic Converter Make a Car Overheat?

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A bad catalytic converter can make a car overheat by causing a backup of pressure in the cylinder head. Pull over and shut a vehicle down if it overheats with tips from a certified master mechanic in this free video on car maintenance.

Part of the Video Series: Car Maintenance
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Video Transcript

Good afternoon, my name is Tom Brintzenhofe, a certified master mechanic from Reading, Pennsylvania. And today we're going to talk about can a catalytic converter make a car overheat. Now before I answer that question I'm going to talk a little bit about how this exhaust system works and how it can or can't make it overheat. Now as your engine is running, the temperatures in that cylinder are roughly about three thousand degrees. They're extremely hot. Now when your exhaust valves open up the exhaust goes down through the manifold and down inevitably into your catalytic converter. Now if your catalytic converter ever becomes clogged for any reason, all that pressure build up inside this head and all that heat that gets generated from this motor burning off your fuel will cause a backup in pressure up into your cylinder head and unfortunately inevitably the heat just stays up inside that motor and it will cause it to overheat. There's various different degrees of what a catalytic converter can and won't do. As it progressively gets clogged up you will notice you'll have a loss of power. The engine might even start pinging on you. It might start bucking and carrying on also. You want to keep an eye on it if you start having any of them symptoms whatsoever. And you might want to think about pulling over and shutting the vehicle down because it can cause engine damage if that does happen. But the answer to your question is yes, a catalytic converter will make your engine overheat.

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