San Francisco's Japanese Auto Repair Specialists

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San Francisco Catalytic Converter Replacement

Catalytic converters are built to last – but sometimes catalytic converter replacement may be required. Pat’s Garage offers full-service catalytic converter replacement in San Francisco. There are typically two reasons why we need to replace a catalytic converter - either the old one stopped performing correctly, or the catalytic converter has been stolen. Yes, catalytic converter theft has become a popular past time for thieves. San Francisco Prius Gen 2 owners and Honda Element owners seem to be especially at risk. 

What is a Catalytic Converter?

The catalytic converter is a component of your vehicle that cleans up engine emissions. It burns up particles in the exhaust gases. The reason we need a catalytic converter is that when gasoline burns up in the cylinders, it does not burn up completely. Unburned particles travel with the exhaust gases and are expelled from the car. In order to prevent these particles from getting into the atmosphere, and our lungs, catalytic converters were invented. 

Catalytic converters are made of precious metals that can withstand very high temperatures - catalytic converter can heat up to 1200  degrees °F. Any unburned particles that travel through the catalytic converter get fully burned up, resulting in car exhaust that is mostly carbon dioxide and water vapor. 

Symptoms of Catalytic Converter failure

When the catalytic converter fails, there are usually a few symptoms that anyone can recognize as needing professional attention:

  • a) Exhaust gases may have an unpleasant odor, due to unburned hydrocarbons. 
  • b) Car engine may be running rough 
  • c) Engine may misfire 
  • d) Check engine light will be illuminated 
  • e) Backfiring or rough running
  • f) Loss of power

Many of these symptoms may be due to problems other than failing catalytic converter, so professional diagnosis at an auto repair shop is a necessity. 

Catalytic Converter Replacement Process

First thing we will need to know is your vehicle’s VIN number. California has very stringent laws concerning catalytic converters, so we need to get the VIN number to source correct (legal) catalytic converter. 

Once we have the right catalytic converter in stock, we get your car up on the lift, and the old catalytic converter is removed. If the catalytic converter was stolen, there is nothing to remove, but the thieves likely damaged the vehicle in the process. This will increase the time and cost of repairs. 

Once the new catalytic converter is installed, we start the engine to check for exhaust leaks or problems with the new catalytic converter.  Finally, we take your car for a road test to verify that all systems are working correctly. 

So if you suspect that your vehicle’s catalytic converter needs to be replaced, bring your vehicle to Pat’s Garage. We will test your vehicle, find out exactly what needs to be done, and if the catalytic converter replacement is indeed indicated, we will get it done right the first time. 

Call us with any questions. You can also set up and appointment online or just gives us a call.   

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