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Can a Clogged Catalytic Converter Cause a Misfire?

Catalytic converters are a critical component of any gasoline-powered vehicle. These components work to reduce toxic emissions from your vehicle’s internal workings and convert the exhaust emitted into breathable air. It is critical to keep your catalytic converter in good working order in effort to match emission standards and keep your car running efficiently. A misfire could indicate that your catalytic converter has failed. 


One of the telltale signs of a faulty catalytic converter is an engine misfire. Misfires in your car indicate incomplete combustion within the cylinder, implying that the catalytic converter isn’t working properly. 


How does a catalytic converter get clogged? 

When oil enters the exhaust, it can clog the catalytic converters. Another common cause is antifreeze getting into the exhaust system and clogging the catalytic converter. In either case, a thick layer of soot coats and creates a barrier in and out of the catalytic converter. The layer prevents the catalytic converter from removing harmful emissions, and the backpressure created as air forces its way through causes heat and exhaust to be recirculated back into the engine. 


Are Misfires Damaging? 

Misfires in your engine will almost certainly cause damage to your vehicle. When the backpressure rises due to a restriction in the exhaust flow, all the heat and exhaust will flow backwards in search of an exit. This can cause a lot of internal damage because it will find an exit back inside the engine. 


What to do if Misfire Occurs 

If your vehicle is misfiring, you should take it to a repair shop right away. A cylinder misfire in your vehicle is a serious problem that can cause significant engine damage. If you suspect you have a misfiring cylinder, you should have it inspected and repaired as soon as possible. 


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