What Happens If There Is a Hole In Catalytic Converter?

In this article, we examine the role of a catalytic converter. Check out what happens if there is a hole in catalytic converter.

The catalytic converter is a device present in the exhaust system of the vehicle that helps convert all the toxic gases and pollutants emitted from the engine into less harmful ones so that they will not impact the environment.

Catalytic converter holes are not good because they allow poisonous gases to leak into the atmosphere and pollute it.

Moreover, these gases enter the car, and you will end up breathing polluted air, which can harm your health.

Hole In Catalytic Converter

What Does a Catalytic Converter Look Like?

The catalytic converter is located in between the exhaust manifold and the muffler. This device has a honeycomb structure and comprises metals like platinum, rhodium, and platinum. When you start your vehicle, it produces harmful gases and pollutants like unburnt hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide, which enter this exhaust control device.

Whenever harmful pollutants enter the exhaust control device, a reaction occurs in the converter that converts them into safer gases like oxygen and carbon dioxide. These are then liberated into the atmosphere.

Signs That Your Catalytic Converter Has Gone Bad

While the process we described above is how the converter works when it is fine, sometimes, the device goes bad and may even need a replacement. Below are a few signs that your catalytic converter has gone bad.

#1. Jerking, Stalling, and Fuel Loss During Acceleration

Sometimes carbon starts building inside the emission control appliance. The internals of this device can also melt because of high heat, which can result in blockage. The catalytic converter operates at a temperature of almost 750 F.

A vehicle’s engine depends on a good flow of exhaust gasses to produce power. But when the device gets blocked, it restricts the flow, and you start to experience jerking, stalling, and fuel loss during acceleration.

#2. Rattling Noise

The catalytic converter consists of honeycomb material that can break due to high heat. You will experience a rattling sound when you drive if this is the case. The sound becomes loud when you start your car.

You need to replace it quickly; otherwise, the parts of the honeycomb material can make their way to the muffler, which can shut down your car completely.

#3. Engine Misfires

An engine misfire means one or more cylinders inside your engine aren’t functioning properly. As a result, raw fuel enters the emission control appliance and starts either damaging its parts or overheating.

This may result in engine misfires and damage to various vital components of an engine. Try to check the device by taking your vehicle to the nearest automobile garage. You might have to replace it if required.

#4. Check Engine Light

If the emission control device malfunctions, the check engine light in your vehicle dashboard will go on. Oxygen sensors are present in most cars, which can check the exhaust gas level. If there is any problem with exhaust gas emission, then the oxygen sensors detect it and turn on the check engine light.

But a check engine light can mean several things to the driver. So, it is best to take your vehicle to a qualified automobile professional, who will point out what is wrong with the car.

#5.Fewer Miles Per Gallon

Has the mileage of your vehicle decreased drastically? If yes, then it can be because of the catalytic converter. The device can become get blocked because of excess carbon. Consequently, it reduces the air-fuel ratio to the engine, and the vehicle moves fewer miles per gallon of gasoline.

Hole In Catalytic Converter

Why Drill Holes On a Catalytic Converter?

Drilling holes in the catalytic converter can increase the performance of your car. You should allow more oxygen to enter the combustion chamber as it can create a greater level of combustion and produce more power. But the device in the exhaust manifold restricts the supply of oxygen, which can decrease the performance.

When your vehicle runs, oxygen will start to enter the combustion chamber and be used for combustion. The exhaust gasses must leave the chamber as quickly as possible, so that fresh oxygen can quickly enter.

But the presence of a converter prevents this action. The exhaust gases enter this device, and a reaction occurs, which delays oxygen entering and further reduces vehicle performance. But exhaust gases liberate more easily into the atmosphere whenever you drill holes in this device. Fresh oxygen quickly enters the combustion chamber and increases performance.

How to Punch Holes in Catalytic Converter

You need to follow the steps below to punch holes in your emission-control device.

#1.Lift Vehicle

Your first step should be to lift your car on a car jack so that you can easily locate the catalytic converter. Ensure your vehicle is adequately secured in the jack and there are no jerks possible.

#2. Find Out The Converter

You will find a cylindrical housing near the exhaust system of the vehicle. The housing is the converter and will have both an inlet and outlet port.

#3.Inspect The Converter And Take It Out

Now find out whether the exhaust-controlling device is welded or has clamps. If the emission control device has clamps, try to remove them and slide them out. If it is welded, then it might not be a good idea to take it out.

#4. Drill Holes

Take a chisel and hold it at the end of the device. Now hammer the chisel to drill a hole. Punch holes at both sides of the device.

#5. Reinstall The Converter

Now put it back in place and clamp it on the pipes.

Hole In Catalytic Converter

Why Punching Holes In Your Catalytic Converter is Not a Good Idea?

#1. Bad For The Environment

Most countries have strict regulations regarding harmful emissions. But still, environmental pollution is quite high all over the world. Environmental pollution is causing several diseases, including lung diseases, cancer, and other dreadful problems.

Vehicles today have a government-mandated catalytic converter that converts the more harmful pollutants into less toxic gases. Punching a hole in your catalytic converter will liberate all the exhaust gases directly into the atmosphere without catalyzing them. This can cause severe pollution and effect human and animal life.

#2. Carbon monoxide Poisoning

Drilling holes in the converter can release carbon monoxide into the atmosphere, which is good for the health of human beings. This gas might even enter your cabin, and you will start inhaling it consistently.

Minor side effects of inhaling carbon monoxide are vomiting, headache, and blurred vision. If you keep inhaling carbon monoxide regularly, it can permanently damage your brain and heart.

Is it Legal To Punch Holes in a Catalytic Converter?

Drilling holes in the converter is not legal in a majority of states because the harmful poisonous gases from the combustion chamber will directly liberate into the atmosphere, which can create air pollution. It can affect the health of both human beings and animals.

But drilling holes can be a solution if the device is severely blocked. You can prevent the car from completely shutting down by using this method. However, please make sure you check the rules and regulations of your state before drilling holes in the device.

Take your car to the nearest auto professional. They will inspect the device and drill it if required. Sometimes replacing the converter can be a better solution.

Frequently Asked Questions

#1. Can I drive with a hole in my catalytic converter?

You can drive with a hole in your catalytic converter. But a converter with holes will release all harmful gases into the atmosphere. These gases will severely pollute the air.

Additionally, inhaling poisonous gases like carbon monoxide can cause vomiting, blur vision, and, in the worst cases, damage the heart and brain.

#2. How much does it cost to fix a hole in a catalytic converter

If your vehicle’s converter goes bad, the automobile professional may recommend you replace it. Replacing this device is not cheap. If the converter just needs a few repairs, it may cost you $900 to $2,575. But if you want to replace it completely, it will cost more than $3,000.

#3. What causes holes in the catalytic converter?

Potholes or bumps can seriously affect the catalytic converter when you drive a vehicle off-road. It can create holes or severely damage it. Sometimes, if you have bought your car from a previous owner, they might have drilled holes in the converter.

Hole In Catalytic Converter

#4. What would happen if I drilled a hole in my catalytic converter

If you drill a hole in the converter, it will release all the exhaust gases inside the car directly into the outside air. Additionally, toxic gases will seep into the car cabin, which can cause serious health effects like vomiting, headache, loss of consciousness, or vision becoming blurred.

These toxic gases are colorless and odorless. So you cannot see them while inhaling. But inhaling poisonous gases for a long time can severely affect your brain, kidney, and heart and permanently damage them.

Wrap Up

The catalytic converter in a vehicle plays a crucial role in reducing air pollution. Its honeycomb structure is coated with a catalyst. The harmful gases passing through these devices undergo a catalytic reaction and get converted into harmless gases and exhaust into the outside atmosphere.

We recommend you not drill a hole in this device because it can severely increase air pollution, which is not good for human life. Thank you for reading this article!

Photo of author

Sean Mendez

Hi, I am Sean, a self-confessed petrolhead. I live in Boise, Idaho with a busy family of four and our energetic Labrador retriever. Thank you for visiting my website. You can find my email on the contact page.

Leave a Comment