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Chevrolet Impala Catalytic Converter

Signs of a Bad Chevrolet Impala Catalytic Converter

One of the biggest problems of the Chevrolet Impala is a clogged catalytic converter. On any other car, you can use your senses to detect if the part has gone bad. This is not the case for the Impala. What makes matters more difficult is that the engine light doesn't come on to indicate that there's a problem. To know if your car is already a victim, you need to be very sharp to notice the slight signs that tell you have a bad catalytic converter. If you're able to diagnose the issue properly, go to your local dealer at once to get an extended-warranty replacement.

35 limit

As far as performance goes, one clear way of knowing if you have a clogged catalytic converter in the Impala is if begins to struggle by the time you reach 35mph or you rev your engine to 3,500 rpm. Acceleration may even be bad when you make your way to these numbers. The car only ends up stuttering. No matter how much you step on the gas pedal to get more speed, the vehicle simply refuses to cooperate. This is a clear sign of a choked exhaust system.

Vacuum test

If you aren't convinced that the catalytic converter is clogged, there is a simple test you can do that requires only an open palm and another person to assist you. Run the engine while the Impala is parked. Get one person to hop inside the car and get on the driver's seat while the other stands by near the tailpipe. Set an open palm at a point behind the tail pipe. Don't place it too near or you might get burns. Let the one inside the car step on the gas while the other tries to feel the exhaust pressure. If there's a steady flow of air, the converter is fine. You have a clogged one if the air comes out in short bursts.

Bad mileage

Since the tendency with a struggling Impala is to step on the accelerator pedal harder, the effect is an increase in fuel consumption and bad mileage. Compute how far the car travels for every gallon of gas you use. If the numbers show a lower efficiency than normal, it's possible you do have a clogged catalytic converter.

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  • Preventing Clogs on a Chevrolet Impala Catalytic Converter 27 February 2013

    A clogged catalytic converter of a Chevrolet Impala is fairly common to the car. Replacing old and defective ones with a new unit only temporarily solves the problem. Solely doing this doesn't guarantee that the problem will not happen again. As far as maintenance of a converter goes, there aren't clear and specific measures you can do on the part itself to prolong its life. What you can do is work on the other areas of your car to prevent damages. This shouldn't be a big problem if you're the type that's used to performing DIY and maintenance tasks. The following or some of the steps to prevent clogs on the Impala's catalytic converter:


    Maintain engine, fuel, and exhaust system.


    Since you can't work directly on the catalytic converter, the next best thing you can do is to deal with the car's components that affect it: the engine, fuel, and exhaust systems. Check fuel pumps and lines. Tune the engine so that it performs at its finest. For the exhaust system, work on any leaks and corroded parts to ensure gasses flow efficiently. If you are sure that these other parts are intact, there's a big chance that nothing unusual should happen to the converter.


    Use clean fuel.


    Clogs on a catalytic converter happen when unexpected materials passing through it breakdown its honeycomb filter. That's why it's important that you only use clean and high-quality gas for your Impala. Despite the extra price you have to pay for expensive fuel, feeding your car clean gas can save you tons of cash because it means less breakdowns and clogs. Dirty and cheap fuel contains large amounts of damaging contaminants. Unnamed or small-time gas companies usually supply this type to save costs and sell their products at a more competitive cost.


    Don't run the engine too lean.


    Catalytic converters work at their best when it's up to a certain temperature. If it exceeds this limit, the result is also clogs and breakdowns. One easy way to limit heat buildup is to run the Impala's engine with the right balance of fuel and air. If it runs with a low amount of fuel, this produces more heat that can damage the converter.