Cat Catastrophe: Troubleshooting Your BMW 318i Catalytic Converter
If you treat your BMW 318i as a friend, Mother Nature treats it as her enemy. Exhaust emissions from vehicles are among the leading causes of air pollution, and, truth be told, your BMW is a big, moving environmental hazard. Well, all vehicles are actually considered as pollutants, what with all the carbon dioxide and hydrocarbon emissions continuously streaming out of them. Fortunately, catalytic converters were invented to help protect the environment from the harmful effects of exhaust emissions. As a responsible driver, you need to do your part in protecting Mother Nature. One of the ways you can do this is by ensuring your BMW 318i catalytic converter is always in good condition. A properly working cat will help make your vehicle more eco-friendly, so you can feel less guilty about driving your vehicle daily. If your cat's malfunctioning, lethal exhaust emissions from your engine won't be converted into less harmful substances properly, resulting in acceleration problems, power loss, poor fuel economy, rough idling, and frequent stalling. Your converter doesn't have to reach the point of total failure, though, as long as you troubleshoot and try to fix the problems right away. We've listed a few tips to help you out.
The smell of rotten eggs
Surprisingly, the kitchen is not the only place where you can smell the stench of rotten eggs. This foul odor can also fill up your vehicle if you have a bad catalytic converter. Usually, a stinky vehicle has an overheated and malfunctioning converter that emits a smell similar to that of rotten eggs. This is usually caused by improper fuel mixture and extreme temperature in the converter's ceramic monolith. The incorrect fuel mixture also causes a spike in the amount of hydrogen sulfide in exhaust emissions, prompting the converter to produce a foul odor. If your vehicle reeks of this smell, have your converter checked immediately for possible damage.
Odd rattling noise
Aside from emitting a foul smell, a bad catalytic converter will also produce an odd rattling noise. Thermal shock is usually the culprit behind this problem, as converters are not designed to handle extreme temperature change. Sudden shifts in temperature can cause the converter's housing to contract and crush the internal ceramic substrate, creating highly audible rattling noises. To check for ceramic substrate damage, lightly tap the outside of the converter with a rubber mallet. If the converter gives off a rattling noise while you're tapping, then it means the ceramic substrate is broken. Take the converter to a mechanic or have it replaced as soon as possible.