Have you failed your emissions test? If so, you know that it could mean costly repairs to ensure that your car becomes compliant with your state’s emissions standards.
Fortunately, there is a cheaper way to make your car smog-compliant. In the catalytic converter cleaners reviews, we will recommend you the best catalytic converter cleaners, and explain how to use them to clean catalytic converter of your car.
Overview of Catalytic Converter Cleaners
What Is the Catalytic Converter?
The catalytic converter is a component installed in your exhaust system. It works by converting the harmful chemicals in the exhaust to carbon dioxide and water vapor. Over time, however, excess carbon residue will build up in the catalytic converter. This will make it less effective at removing emissions.
When the catalytic converter gets dirty, you may see a check engine light on your dashboard.
The usual code you will get if there is an issue with the catalytic converter is P0430. This means “catalyst efficiency below threshold”. Aside from problems with the catalytic converter, it may also indicate that your engine is not running at its optimal air: fuel ratio.
About Using the Catalytic Converter Cleaner
If you find that your catalytic converter is dirty, what is next? The simplest way for how to clean catalytic converter is to use a catalytic converter cleaner. These are additives that you pour into the gas tank. The cleaner mixes with the gas and cleans the converter while you are driving.
Once the tank is almost empty, go to a gas station to have it refilled. By the time this happens, the converter has been cleaned, and your car should be back to normal. You may even notice that it is running more smoothly.
Don’t forget to clear the OBD codes if they still appear after you refill the tank. If it continues to return, you should take your car to a mechanic to have it checked out. There may be some underlying problem that is merely applying cleaner will not address.
Related: How to gut a catalytic converter
Advantages of Catalytic Converter Cleaners
Here are some of the significant benefits you can get from catalytic converter cleaners:
Catalytic Converter Cleaners Reviews
What are our recommendations for catalytic converter cleaners? Here are our suggestions for the best catalytic converter cleaners:
OXICAT: Oxygen Sensor and Catalytic Converter Cleaner
Oxicat is produced by the Bluechem Group, a German-based manufacturer of automotive products that are used for maintenance, cleaning, and servicing of cars, trucks, and other vehicles. It is designed to remove carbon deposits and soot in the
- Works for all gas and diesel vehicles, and even hybrids.
- Helps prevent residue buildup with regular use.
- Product has received a TUV certification. This means it has been found to meet the minimum requirements of the German Equipment and Product Safety Act after safety testing.
- OXICAT is engineered to meet and even exceed the most recent European environmental standards.
- Container size: 30 ml
- Model number: 43243-1
- Flashpoint: ~70 °C DIN EN ISO 2719
- Use OXICAT every three to four months.
- After adding the cleaner to your fuel tank, it will start to work once the additive has reached its working temperature.
- Mixing ratio is 1:200 or one 300 ml bottle added to 60 to 80 liters fuel.
If your car displays the “check engine light” or you detect an OBD-II error code, using at least two cans of Oxicat will make it stop showing. It will also help your car pass emissions tests. And you may notice that you are getting better gas mileage.
This is one of the better-reviewed catalytic cleaners available on Amazon, so it is worth trying. It is designed to meet or even exceed the higher emissions standards in Europe, which ensures that it will do a very efficient job in removing emissions.
The main downside of this product is that it is somewhat pricey compared with other cleaners on the market. However, the greater quality you get may make the higher price worth it.
Solder-It (CAT-1) Catalytic Converter Cleaner
This is one of the better-reviewed catalytic cleaners on Amazon, with over 40% of customer reviews giving it five-stars.
- Has a deodorizing function that may help eliminate the ‘rotten egg' smell that some cars emit in their exhaust.
- Extends the period between required tune-ups.
- May help cars pass emission tests.
- Helps to clean the oxygen sensor.
- Sixteen oz. bottle
- Model number: CAT-1.
- This product should be added to your tank when it reaches around one-fourth full.
- Drive the car around to heat the catalytic converter so that it will begin working.
- Repeat as required.
- Always follow the directions when using.
If you use the product as directed, the check engine light should go out. You may also see your gas mileage increase and other improvements that will enhance the performance of your car. If there is bad ammonia smell similar to that of rotten eggs, using this product will also remove it.
All you have to do is add one bottle to your gas tank when it is one-fourth full. Then run the car until the gas is almost empty and then refill it. Reset your OBD-II code reader to get rid of the code. You should notice that the error light is gone.
This product has one important selling point that other products lack – its deodorizing function. Some cars can develop a smell like rotten eggs that comes from fuel that is not burnt in the exhaust system.
Otherwise, this is an affordable and effective catalytic engine cleaner. While it may not have the same “name recognition” value as other competing products, customers who have used it say that it works well enough for them to pass their emissions tests.
CRC 05063 Guaranteed to Pass
CRC is a global manufacturer and distributor of specialty products designed to meet the needs of various markets, including automotive, hardware, heavy truck, aviation, electrical, and industrial. Its range of brands includes Weld-Aid, A&W, Marykate, KF, and Action Can.
This product has gotten mostly positive reviews on Amazon, with over 50% of customer reviews giving it five-stars.
- Emissions cleaner guaranteed to ensure you pass your emissions test.
- Increases fuel mileage.
- Contains strong detergent additives that will efficiently clean your whole fuel system.
- Designed for use with gasoline engines.
- Also works with ethanol-blended fuels.
- 12 fuel oz bottle
- Model number: 05063
- Pour contents of one bottle into a full tank of gas. For tanks with a capacity of more than sixteen gallons, use two bottles.
- Drive the vehicle as you typically would, until the tank is empty.
- Refill your gas tank before going to your emissions test.
- Use every 3,000 miles.
Using this product will help you pass your emissions test. All you have to do is pour a bottle into a partially full gas tank, then drive it around. Once the tank is almost empty, refill it. You should see the error light go off.
This product is notable for including a guarantee as part of its name. However, you can avail of the guarantee only if you have your car repaired after the emissions test and submit the receipts to them. So it is somewhat deceptive. Otherwise, the majority of users seem to be happy with the product.
Cataclean 12007 Complete Engine, Fuel and Exhaust System Cleaner
Cataclean is a British company that specializes in manufacturing emissions and fuel cleaning products. The company started in 1995 producing ‘pour and go’ solutions for conveniently cleaning exhaust and fuel systems. It has since established a global presence, exporting their portfolio of products all over the world.
Cataclean Liquid Science has mainly positive customer ratings on Amazon. Nearly half of all customer reviews gave the product five-stars.
- Boosts the overall performance of your vehicle, including issues affecting its drivability. These include rough idle, power reduction, hesitation, lost fuel economy and hard starts.
- Can reduce your total hydrocarbon emissions by as much as fifty percent.
- Improves fuel efficiency by decreasing carbon build-up in your oxygen sensors, cylinder heads, fuel injectors, and catalytic converters.
- Does not change the composition of fuel.
- Provides long-term protection by preventing debris and carbon build-up.
- Safe for use with all gasoline, diesel, and hybrid cars and trucks.
- Do not use with oil/gas mix or 2-stroke engines.
- 475 mm bottle
- Model number: 120007
- Empty one whole bottle of Cataclean into your fuel tank.
- Recommended mix is one bottle per fifteen liters of fuel
- Drive your vehicle for at least fifteen minutes. Refuel as needed.
- Use it four times a year. Apply cleaner every time the season changes, i.e. once during fall, winter, summer and spring.
This is another effective product that will clean your catalytic converter and help you pass your emissions tests. All you have to do is add one bottle to 1/4th tank of gas then drive it for around fifty miles. Then refill the tank and drive around some more. You should then see the error light go off.
This is another product that seems to work for the majority of people who have used it. Of course, there are a minority of people that say it didn’t work for them, but most people said they enjoyed improved performance after using Cataclean.
Catalytic Converter Cleaner User Guide
After reading our short reviews of the best catalytic converter cleaner products, you may still be confused as to which is the best one for your vehicle. To help you make your choice, here are some factors to keep in mind:
Certain catalytic converter cleaners may not work with every model of car.
So you should do some research and check if they work with your car’s particular make and model.
There are some catalytic converter cleaner products that may not be legal in certain states because they have failed during state emissions tests. Make sure the product that you are using is legal in your particular state before you use it in your car.
Complete system cleaning.
The best products are designed not just to clean the catalytic converter, but the entire exhaust system. In particular, it should also be able to clean the oxygen sensors, fuel injectors, and cylinder heads. This will ensure that your car's overall performance will be improved.
Available in multi-packs.
Since you may need to use more than one bottle or use catalytic converter cleaners several times a year, buying a multi-pack can save you money. The unit cost will usually be cheaper than if you bought individual bottles.
I hope that you were able to learn how to clean catalytic converter from this article, and you’ll be able to decide which catalytic converter cleaner is best for your particular needs. If it does not work, however, it may be an indicator that you need to change your catalytic converter or otherwise have your car serviced.
But if the issue with the converter is that it is just dirty and not working efficiently, using a cleaner should be able to help you and save you money.
Simon graduated with a Mechanical and Electrical Engineering Degree. He has over 20 years of servicing experience in both Japanese and German car dealerships. He now acts as a freelance mechanic’s instructor for local schools.