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How to Burn Out a Catalytic Converter

by Lisa Newcomb

Catalytic converters help dilute toxic chemicals that are pushed out of your car through the exhaust. While these converters last years and thousands of miles, there are ways to burn out your converter. This isn't something you want to do. To avoid burnout, consider the causes of catalytic converter failure, and have your car checked by a mechanic according to the manufacturer's instructions.

Step 1

Drive your car with a malfunctioning oxygen sensor. This can cause thermal failure, which means that excess raw fuels are making their way, in large quantities, to your catalytic converter.

Step 2

Drive around in a car that has a starter or engine that misfires. This can also cause thermal failure of the catalytic converter.

Drive around in a car with old spark plugs that are prone to misfiring. This too can cause burnout.


  • If you think you have burned out your catalytic converter, see a mechanic.

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