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Kia Rio Catalytic Converter

How to Know if Your Kia Rio Catalytic Converter is Failing

The catalytic converter is responsible for keeping good emission ratings for your Kia Rio. It is made to last up to 10 years, but because of a number of factors, problems arise that may lead to its premature failure. Here is a simple guide to help you find out if your Kia Rio catalytic converter is about to breathe its last.

Do an OBD scan

Take an OBD or onboard diagnostic scan tool and plug it into the fuse panel's OBD port. With the ignition key turned to the "on" position, check the readout on the OBD scan tool. If you see the fault code P0420, it means "emissions failure." If you get a P0300, on the other hand, it means "random misfire." Either fault code translates that you will need to replace the catalytic converter as soon as possible.


Check the external appearance of your Kia's catalytic converter. If you see any discoloration or any apparent warping, that is a clear indication of an overheating issue. This may be caused by misfires originating from faulty ignition coils or burned out spark plugs. Either cause will result in unburned fuel entering into the catcon. Here, the tendency for the fuel to ignite is very high. When this happens, the honeycomb substrate melts, and thus, the overheating occurs.

Backpressure problem

If you suspect that your catalytic converter is causing problems in your fuel efficiency and engine performance, you may do the backpressure test. This is done by linking a pressure gauge that connects properly to the oxygen sensor. To begin the test, start the engine and allow it to reach its normal operating temperature. Then, observe the pressure gauge when the engine is in idle. If you get a psi not higher than 1.25, there is no problem with your exhaust. Now, accelerate the engine to 2,000 rpm and check the gauge. It should read no more than 3 psi. If it does, however, then the exhaust is quite restricted. Check the other exhaust components before you conclude a failing catcon. But if you find that everything else is in proper order, you must replace the converter as soon as possible to prevent more problems.

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  • Maintaining Your Kia Rio Catalytic Converter

    The catalytic converter is an essential component of your Kia Rio's exhaust system. That's why it is absolutely necessary to keep it in tip-top shape to prolong its useful life, since replacing it is not a cheap joke. Here are some simple ways to take good care of your catalytic converter.

    • Regularly check your ignition system components.
    • Maintaining your car's ignition system components is not to be taken for granted. Doing so will prevent misfiring from faulty ignition coils and spark plugs.
    • Use the correct fuel.
    • Running your Kia Rio with higher octane fuel helps keep the exhaust emission level to a minimum. This is because cleaner fuel is burned and used more efficiently.
    • Do not tow loads heavier than your car is able.
    • Being a subcompact car, Kia Rio has a towing capacity of up to 450 kg or 1000 lb. A load heavier than this will cause unburned fuel to enter the catalytic converter and melt the ceramic monolith.
    • Drive slowly over speed bumps and on bumpy roads.
    • It is necessary to drive very carefully when approaching a speed bump or when driving through a bumpy road. This is because the exhaust system can get grounded and cause damage to the catcon's core. The monolith is made of highly-breakable ceramic, so any vibration caused by external causes should be avoided.
    • Drive carefully through puddles and avoid snowy parking.
    • The catalytic converter operates with a high temperature. When it suddenly comes in contact with anything of cold temperature, it cools down rapidly. This causes the steel shell to contract faster than the ceramic monolith. When the shell contracts, there is a high probability of crushing the fragile monolith.
    • Invest on a reliable lock to prevent catcon theft.
    • Catcons come in regular and high-end types. These days, catalytic converters have become a target for theft, because many scrap shops offer at least 50 USD for used catcons. This is, in fact, because of some precious metals such as gold, platinum, palladium, and rhodium that are found in the ceramic monolith. So to prevent catcon theft, we recommend that you invest in a good ol' reliable lock.