If you have an older car, you understand that the catalytic converter wears out, decreasing your vehicle’s performance. If you are looking for something to improve your car’s efficiency, you can get a bottle of cataclean to help you reduce emissions and then enhance your car’s performance.
The great thing about cataclean is that it helps unclog the fuel injectors and clean the sensors, so you should consider using it at least once every year. Fortunately, it is useful in both diesel and petrol engines so you will not have to buy different types. However, it also has its shortcomings. So, what are the Problems after using cataclean? In this article, you will learn everything about cataclean and problems after using it.
What is Cataclean?
Cataclean is an exhaust system and fuel cleaner that helps to reduce the building-up of carbon toxins in the catalytic converter.
Cataclean cleans your catalytic converter and other components of the exhaust system like fuel injectors, oxygen sensors and cylinder head. It lowers hydrocarbon emissions by about half. It is made up of hydrocarbons and other fuel components, which positively impact the combustion of fuel. Therefore, cataclean is safe to use in diesel, gasoline, and hybrid engines.Cataclean also uses acetone to help in improving the efficiency of combustion of fuel; since acetone helps burn the energy thoroughly and evenly. Although you pour cataclean in the gas tank, it will not affect your car’s fuel composition.
What Does Cataclean Do?
Cataclean is made up of hydrocarbons and fuel constituents to improve fuel efficiency and prevent the building up of toxins.Here is how cataclean works;
1. Cataclean Works as Fuel Treatment
Incomplete combustion can occur in an internal combustion engine due to high pressure and temperature. It could also be due to low oxygen for oxidizing the fuel to CO2 and water. The incomplete combustion leads to harmful components like CO, NOx, and a mix of organic chemicals in the environment. Vehicles have a catalytic converter to convert the by-products to environmentally friendly and less harmful chemicals.
time, the catalytic converters become less effective because of incomplete combustion, which leads to the building of carbon deposits. Since Cataclean is made up of acetone, xylene, isopropanol, and long-chain hydrocarbons; they help to;
- Produces oxygen that helps in an oxidizing layer of carbon deposits on the surface of the catalytic converter.
- Produces carboxylic acid vapor that helps clean the catalytic converter and convert hydrogen peroxide to water and oxygen, which helps in oxidation.
2. Impacts Internal Combustion and Engine Performance
Pre-combustion Effects: Cataclean has solvents that assist in removing deposits that might have been formed in the fuel system before combustion. The deposits may be on fuel lines, sensors, injectors, or filters, increasing fuel combustion, thus reducing engine performance. So, acetone in the cataclean helps to enhance fuel efficiency in internal engine combustion.
Post-combustion Effects: The components of cataclean combust with fuel; and the by-products remove deposits like the carbon build-up from your car’s catalytic converter, oxygen sensors, and exhaust system. The post-combustion vapors from the cataclean revitalize the catalytic converter to remove harmful emissions more efficiently. This cleaning helps improve the catalytic converter’s performance, hence enhancing the car’s overall performance. Therefore, the cataclean helps clean the fuel system and improve combustion efficiency.
Does Cataclean Work?
Cataclean is primarily used in older vehicles or cars with emission issues. Although most people disregard the use of any fuel additives, it is great to be open-minded about it; some additives might be damaging, but others can be effective and beneficial when you follow the instructions.
According to its review 79% review on Amazon, it works; its only negative review is from the extreme cases of failure of the user to follow instructions right. There is so much debate about fuel additives because it is not something you can see. Therefore, consider looking at the fuel economy to gauge whether your cataclean worked after using it.
If your MPG (miles-per-gallon) increases, your car is using less fuel; it means that your cataclean had an impact and something is happening. Over the subsequent travels, your car’s fuel economy keeps getting better. Therefore, cataclean is a great option, and it will help your car improve the performance of your vehicle if you use it right. However, it would be best to note that a cataclean will not fix your leaking exhaust system or a collapsed catalytic converter.
Problems after Using Cataclean
Cataclean products work really well and do what they promise. However, using too much Cataclean in your car can cause problems. Let me tell you about some issues you might face if you use this product for a long time.
Your car’s important parts might wear out faster.
This can happen to the catalytic converter, turbocharger, and fuel injectors – all crucial components that help your car run. If these parts get damaged from using too much Cataclean, your car’s performance will drop a lot. It might need big repairs or even a whole new engine. Also, keep in mind that Cataclean additives could harm your engine. If you don’t address this quickly, it could hurt how well your car works or even damage the entire engine.
Some might think this is only a concern with aftermarket products like Cataclean. But really, anyone using any kind of fuel additive should know about it.
Issues with the catalytic converter
Unlike a regular muffler or exhaust, the catalytic converter cleans your car’s exhaust before it goes out into the air. But if additives like Cataclean hurt it, the converter won’t work right. This means harmful gases like carbon monoxide (CO) won’t be cleaned up – instead, they’ll go into the air.
There can also be trouble with your exhaust system
Cataclean fuel additives can clean your fuel system and improve your car’s mileage. It’s a popular product that lots of people have tried and liked. But it can mess up your exhaust system. Cataclean products have chemicals that go into the fuel tank, like detergents, soaps, and alcohol. These break down buildup in the engine, which is good. However, they can also mess with the sensors that control how your car’s pollution control system works.
The oxygen sensor might get harmed
This sensor checks the oxygen in your car’s exhaust fumes. If it breaks, your car won’t run efficiently and might use more gas than it should. You might have problems when driving at low speeds, like stalling or rough idling. If your Check Engine Light comes on, it usually means something’s wrong with an exhaust system.
After using Cataclean, it’s a good idea to regularly check your car’s oxygen sensor using OBD II diagnostics to avoid these issues.
The fuel injectors could get clogged
Cataclean is strong at cleaning out engine gunk, but it’s also been known to cause trouble with fuel injectors. These are really important for how well your car performs, so they need careful handling. Unfortunately, the chemicals in Cataclean can clog these delicate parts. That leads to worse fuel efficiency and even engine problems.
Can Cause Smoke
If your car starts smoking after using Cataclean, a few things might be causing it. First, check the exhaust system. If there’s a lot of smoke coming from the exhaust or muffler, that’s not good. Your car might run rough and waste fuel if the catalytic converter or oxygen sensor isn’t working right. Thick carbon deposits from not enough oxygen getting to the engine block or cylinder head could also make your exhaust smoke. These deposits can get so thick that they block airflow through the valves and pistons, possibly causing the engine to fail.
The Best Cataclean Alternatives
DuraLube Severe Catalytic and Exhaust Treatment
Dura Lube Severe Catalytic and Exhaust Treatment is made to clean your catalytic exhaust system. This means it gets rid of dirt and gunk that make your catalyst work less effectively. When the catalyst doesn’t work well, it can make you lose power in your vehicle and even cost you more money.
It also helps reduce certain substances like phosphorous and zinc at the start of the catalyst. These things can harm the catalyst and make it stop working sooner. This product can also help fix the OBD error code P0420. This code tells you when your catalyst isn’t working like it should be. You only need to use one bottle every 5,000 miles, and you put it right into your fuel tank. One bottle is enough for about 15.9 gallons of gasoline, and it can last for three months. You can also use this product in engines that run on diesel or ethanol-containing flex-fuels.
Pros and Cons
- Only need to use it every 5,000 miles, just put it in your fuel
- Costs more than other brands
Solder-It Catalytic Converter Cleaner
If your catalytic converter is not working well or is failing, you might notice a bad smell like rotten eggs coming from your exhaust. This smell is connected to how the converter works, changing harmful hydrogen sulfide into sulfur dioxide. Even though this is less important now due to cleaner fuels, the smell can still happen. So, if you detect this odor, there’s an issue with your catalytic converter. Or you might just need to dispose of your old lunch.
This additive for your fuel is designed to clean the inside of your catalytic converter. It gets rid of the build-up that is stopping it from working properly. When used correctly, it can also help clean your oxygen sensors. These sensors need to read accurately, and this product can help with that. It can also make your car need fewer tune-ups. For older engines, you can pour this directly into the carburetor while the engine is running. This makes it work even faster compared to mixing it in with the fuel in the tank.
Pros and Cons
- Might clean oxygen sensors, can be used in carbureted engines, needs application every 6,000 miles
- Might require multiple uses, could harm the catalytic converter if not used the right way
CRC Guaranteed to Pass Emissions Sensor Cleaner
It might sound bold, but the maker of this product claims you’ll pass your emissions test, and if not, they’ll give you twice your money back. This is because the product helps decrease the emissions of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides. The strong cleaning agents in the mixture work to eliminate carbon and varnish buildup from your fuel system. This makes everything run smoother and cleaner than before. Using it is easy: just pour a bottle into your gas tank, use up most of that gas, then refill your tank. They guarantee that you’ll pass the test.
However, keep in mind that this guarantee only applies if the other parts of your car are functioning properly and your engine is in its original state. It won’t fix a broken fuel injector or a disconnected oxygen sensor. While it’s natural to be doubtful about claims like these, there are numerous positive reviews from customers who had vehicles that were running fine but couldn’t pass emissions tests. After using the product, they achieved successful results.
Pros and Cons
- Money-back guarantee, can help with check engine lights caused by O2 sensor issues
- Usually takes a few tanks of gas to notice changes, needs to be used every 3,000 miles
Autoprofi OXICAT Oxygen Sensor & Catalytic Converter Cleaner
The OXICAT Oxygen Sensor & Catalytic Converter Cleaner is created to clean and improve the oxygen sensors and catalytic converters. It does this by dissolving carbon deposits, oils, and other substances that can block and lessen the effectiveness of these parts.
Made in Germany, OXICAT is mixed with your fuel. When the fuel burns, it moves through the exhaust system. This process helps get rid of the carbon buildup and other contaminants, bringing back the proper functioning of the O2 sensors and catalytic converters. OXICAT is meant to be used alongside other maintenance tasks like changing spark plugs and tuning up the engine. You can use it safely in all types of vehicles – gasoline, diesel, and hybrid.
Pros and cons
- Money-back guarantee, simple to use
- One of the pricier options for cleaning catalytic converters
On Problems after using cataclean
Cataclean is an excellent exhaust system and fuel cleaner that is very easy to use and legal in about fifty states. When there is so much carbon deposits build up in the catalytic converter, it fails to function effectively. It causes air to fuel ratio that is less than optimal since all the fuel burned is used to run the car. With time, the catalytic converter wears out just like other car parts. So, cataclean is used here to increase the life span of your catalytic converter.
Although a cataclean will not fix your leaking exhaust or broken catalytic converter, it will extend its lifespan. Are there problems after using cataclean? Yes and no. You might experience some issues like noise, poor fuel efficiency, and sometimes smoking from the exhaust, although the cataclean helps improve your car’s performance. Therefore, if you notice any problem, it would be best to take your car to an expert mechanic to check whether you applied the cataclean properly. An expert will also help to diagnose any other underlying issue in your car correctly.
Hi I’m Marshall based in 1478 Doctors Drive Santa Monica, CA. I’m your DIY Car Repairman with more than 5 years experience in automobile repair, a skill I learned from my old man.
I started this blog to share my experience on both simple and technical aspects of your car.