So, you bought your new catalytic converter and installed it with so much excitement. But, after using it for some time you discovered that smoke coming out of it!
“What the heck!” You are thinking about what terrible mistake you did buy and desperately thinking why is my catalytic converter smoking? Well, I got your back.
You may experience smoke from your catalytic converter due to the mixing of oil and water inside. This can be caused by a number of reasons including oil leaks, bad spark plugs, intake manifold leaks, Condensation
Malfunctioning fuel delivery system, Blown head gasket, Cracked cylinder head etc.
However, the reasons are only the beginning, and you must understand what this leads to, how to prevent and fix it.
Why Is My New (also old) Catalytic Converter Smoking?
It’s really frustrating to see smoking in the new catalytic converter. In many cases the smoke people see in new catalytic converting is because the oil maybe was been there from the manufacturing process. Over time, it will disappear though.
However, there are some other reasons why your new cats might smoke. Those are:
- Oil leaks
- Bad spark plugs
- Intake manifold leaks
Let’s discuss this in detail.
- Oil leaks
If somehow oil enters the exhaust system, it will burn off and cause smoke.
When your vehicle has a faulty valve cover or gasket, it causes oil leaks. And, as soon as the oil gets into the cats, it starts to burn off the oil causing smoke.
- Bad spark plugs
Gas-fuel combustion engines require spark plugs to start. But, what’s the relationship between spark plugs and smoke?
Well, when your spark plug is bad or worn out, it can pass oil into your exhaust system. This can create smoke from the cats.
- Intake manifold leaks
If there is a leak in the intake manifold, the device can’t regulate airflow passing into the engine. This results in a rich mixture. As a result of the rich mixture, the catalytic converter will burn extra fuel, causing smoke to result.
Why White Smoke After New Catalytic Converter?
White smoke is dangerous as it might cause the failure of head gasket in the engine. If the white smoke causes due to coolant leak, this might create even more serious issues.
When you see condensation in your exhaust pipe it’s a sign of white smoke in your catalytic converter.
It is usually caused by a cracked or leaking head gasket, which allows coolant to enter the cylinder. A damaged head gasket may require replacement. By sealing the leak before it damages your engine, you can detect white smoke that is coming from the head gasket.
Why Does Smoke Come From Catalytic Converters?
There is a number of reasons why your catalytic converter smokes. However, of them, one thing will be common and that is burning oil and vaporization of water.
Here is the list of problems that makes cats smoke.
- Malfunctioning fuel delivery system.
- Blown head gasket.
- Cracked cylinder head.
Let’s dig deeper into these.
Condensation occurs if water enters the exhaust system. You won’t understand the effect until the exhaust system starts off. As soon as your engine heats up, smoke begins to appear.
Due to the fact that it occurs as a result of water vapour, it usually looks like white smoke. And, if the smoke lasts for hours, you can be very sure that the issue is caused by condensation.
Well, how do you fix these issues or is it bad? Well, no it’s not. If the issue has occurred due to condensation you shouldn’t worry about it.
But, I’d suggest observing carefully if there are other potential malfunctioning issues. You will learn more about this in the next section.
- Malfunctioning fuel delivery system
To keep the engine up and running smoothly you must have to maintain the oil-fuel ratio. It is very likely that the oil-fuel ratio will not be maintained if the combustion process is sabotaged. In addition, this will generate more impurities than usual.
What’s the reason behind this problem? In some cases, fuel injection systems can malfunction due to wear and tear. This can cause other issues like generating more impurities.
In these circumstances, your engine might misfire and produce white smoke.
Ok, but how can you solve this problem? In this case, it would be best to remove the fuel pump and clean it, or, if necessary, replace the fuel injection kit.
- Blown head gasket
The head gasket is part of an engine that separates the engine block and cylinder head. A head gasket separates the engine oil from the combustion chamber and the coolant from the engine.
The coolant would enter the catalytic converter if somehow this gasket blew out. And, as we know coolant is concentrated hot water formation.
In other words, the coolant would vaporize as soon as it gets hot. And, the result would produce white smoke.
Now for the important part, how can you prevent the head gasket from blowing off and causing smoke to escape? Unlike other problems, replacing a head gasket isn’t cheap. The problem needs to be resolved immediately.
The worst part is that it requires disassembling the entire engine of your car. Additionally, fixing the problem can take a long time.
- Cracked cylinder head
Thin white smoke is another major problem. When the engine is working, the engine block and cylinder head get very hot. To prevent overheating, coolant is constantly added to the engine block.
Multiple channels act as channels for the coolant to flow over the engine block and cylinder head. The engine expands as it heats up. By flowing over it, the coolant cools it down again. Over a million expansions and contractions put a lot of strain on engine performance.
Occasionally, this pressure can lead to stress fractures. This can crack either the cylinder head or the engine block over time.
Cracks in either of these components allow coolant to seep through. Once again, coolant will seep through and enter the combustion chamber. Coolant evaporates to form white smoke, just like a blown head gasket. It is actually water vapour that causes the smoke.
How should you resolve this problem? It might be better to replace the engine rather than spend a fortune on engine repairs.
Can A Catalytic Converter Cause White Smoke?
Yes, a catalytic converter can cause white smoke problems. But, it caused due to the other problems associated with the catalytic converter. So, it’s not necessarily cats that cause white smoke. Although some bad cats can produce harmful chemicals and black smoke, it’s rare to see cats itself produce white smoke.
However, other problems include condensation and malfunctioning fuel delivery systems. A blown head gasket and cracked cylinder head may cause the entrance of the water into the cats and thereby help produce white smoke.
When you encounter white smoke coming out of your exhaust, you should scrutinize the problem first. Why? You should fix some of them immediately because this could lead to some serious problems.
In this article, I mentioned some of the most common reasons why your catalytic converter is smoking along with how to fix it.
Hope this helped, if so read this article on what to do when your exhaust pipe is broken.