How to Clean a Catalytic Converter without Removing it

catalytic converterAre you struggling with the P0420 code and want to clean your catalytic converter, but you realize that it’s a lot of work to remove the catalytic converter and you want to do it without removing it?

Then, this article is for you. We will discuss how to remove the catalytic converter without removing in on your car to get the best results, and you may save a lot of money by doing it.

If you want to learn more about the P0420 code before cleaning it, you can check out our article about it here: P0420 code.

Things to consider before starting

There are some things that you have to consider before trying to clean your catalytic converter. In a lot of cases, the parts inside the catalytic converter will get loose, and if this is the case, you can’t repair your catalytic converter without removing and replacing it.

Too clogged

If your catalytic converter is so clogged that the engine will not run, you have to remove the catalytic converter and either use special tools or replacing the whole catalytic converter.

Check/Listen for loose parts

You can try with take a hammer and hit your catalytic converter carefully to listen if there seem to be any loose parts inside it. If you can hear loose parts, I do recommend to remove and inspect the catalytic converter, because the loose parts could come even looser and clog your exhaust pipe totally, which may make your vehicle to stop while driving.

Purified catalyst

Remember that your catalytic converter may be cleaned inside and the parts inside it may have blown out from the exhaust pipe. This can be tough to see without removing it and if you suspect it, remove the catalytic converter and check it.

Oil consumption

Your catalytic converter may have to get clogged caused by internal oil consumption, caused by oil entering the cylinders and getting combusted and burned inside the hot catalytic converter. If this is the case, you should always repair the internal oil leak before using this cure, as it may just work for a short time until the catalytic converter is clogged again. Common symptoms of an internal oil leak are clogged crankcase ventilation, broken valve seals or piston rings. Always check the crankcase ventilation first.

Cleaning your catalytic converter without removing it

oxicat catalytic converterIf you checked and listened carefully on your catalytic converter to make sure there are no loose parts inside it and the catalytic converter is not too clogged, you can try this product to get it cleaned while driving.

The product that you can use is the OXICAT – Oxygen Sensor & Catalytic Converter CleanerHow to Clean a Catalytic Converter without Removing it. You tap it into your fuel tank, and it does not matter if you have a petrol, diesel or hybrid car. This will help not just to clean the catalytic converter; it will also clean your O2 sensors and the whole exhaust system.

Remember that this product will not repair mechanical faults inside your catalytic converter if it’s cracked, broken or too clogged. This is a cleaner for the catalytic converter which may have run with some oil burn before.

Tap this into the tank with the required amount from the manual you will get. Drive your car a couple of miles to see if your car runs better than before. You can also try to drive your car at high RPM’s over 3000 for a long distance to reach the catalytic really hot to burn out the clog inside it. Remember to check that there is no oil or other fluids on your catalytic converter that could ignite it. Also, check the coolant temperature of your car at all the time, to make sure it’s not overheating.

Check out the product on Amazon Here:
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The Oxicat did not work for me, what to do now?

If you tried the Oxicat catalytic converter cleaner, but the problem still insists, there is not much more to do than removing the catalytic converter to inspect it and to make sure it looks okay. Remember that there can be other causes of the P0420 trouble code like faulty O2 sensors or exhaust leaks and the problem may not be in your catalytic converter.

Removing the catalytic converter are often quite easy on most of the cars if you can get the rusty bolts loose. In some car’s the catalytic converters are fitted directly to the turbo, and in these cases, the removal of the catalytic converter may be more difficult. Let an automotive workshop do the job for you if you are not sure how to do it.

If you still think that your catalytic converter is clogged and it looks okay while inspecting it, you can try to clean it in a bath with water and Lacquer Thinner. This does sometimes work, and it may save you some money.

Check this link for Amazon’s version of Lacquer thinner: Nanoskin (NA-LTR128) Lacquer Thinner – 1 GallonHow to Clean a Catalytic Converter without Removing it.

If you tried to clean it and diagnosed the catalytic converter correctly to make sure it’s the parts that are damaged, there are no other choices than replacing the whole catalytic converter. Catalytic converters are often expensive and this is because there are noble metals inside it which costs a lot to produce.

Cleaning Catalytic Converters with Sodium Hydroxide -EricTheCarGuy


  • Tap on your catalytic converter with a hammer to make sure there are no loose parts inside of it.
  • The cleaner will not repair cracked, broken or too clogged catalytic converters.
  • If the catalytic converter cleaner did not work for your vehicle, check all other related parts to make sure they’re not damaged and remove the catalytic converter to inspect it.
  • You can clean your catalytic converter in a bath of Lacquer thinner if you are removing it.
  • Catalytic converters are often expensive due to the noble metals inside it.

Have you tried this method before to clean the catalytic converter? Let us know how it worked out for you by commenting down below! If you have any other car questions you are welcome to ask them at our homepage.

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16 thoughts on “How to Clean a Catalytic Converter without Removing it”

  1. My car runs great TSX 2011 162,00 miles a recall at 125,ooo miles pistons timing chain etc because of too much oil consumption. Now that code comes on then goes off??

    • Yes, there is most likely oil in your catalytic converter. The problem may disappear if you continue to drive it. Drive it hard to burn out the oil from the catalytic converter. In the worst case scenario, you may have to replace it.

      Of course, you can also try an additive to clean it while driving.

    • You have a DPF filter in your diesel car. It’s important to not only drive for short distances while you have a DPF filter. Over time when you are driving the car warm, the DPF filter will clean itself with a regeneration. However, the engine has to be warm for this function to work properly.

      There are also additives for DPF filters if you are worried 🙂

  2. Hi I’ve changed my diesel car’s turbo charger recently but there is still no power it’s really weak and when I accelerate or drive uphill it makes a sound like whistling. Also, when I turned my heating on a smell coming from the engine bay get in the cabinate it’s like oil burning smell.
    What could be the problem?!

    • I would check for any boost pipe leaks. The best way is to use an EVAP smoke machine, but you could also let a friend rev it up while you are listening or applying soap on the pipes and checking for bubbles!

      • My 1993 Subaru legacy won’t pull going up a hill until I find a sweet spot on the gas pedal then it takes off what gives

  3. hello . my car is suzuki sx4 2007 . defect my car in p0420 code. do i can wash the catalytic converter by spray cabreater cleaner or cook cleaner liquid

    • You can try to clean it with catalytic converter cleaner as mentioned in the article, I do not recommend using anything else because I have not tried it and I can’t recommend things that I’ve not used with success. It does not always help but it’s often cheap to try it. If the code still comes back several times after the wash, you have to replace the catalytic converter.

  4. Hello, I have an automatic diesel Korean Hyundai Santa Fe 2005, and after taking it for gear box and turbocharger change the car doesn’t accelerate as it used to, especially when ascending a ramp or hill, what could be the problem? Please I need help

  5. I have a 2013 JX35 Infiniti that they say I need to replace my catalytic converters to the time of $2200. Is it possible that it is just CLOGGED, and can I use the catalytic cleaner to see if that will work?

  6. Hi, I’m having a hard time trying to get my check engine light to go out NOW I had the PO420 code and another code keep coming up I got a diagnostic and the paper work said the was nothing wrong with the catalytic converter but the code keep coming up on the machine and the light won’t go out I had one of the codes fixed but they fixed the wrong one they fixed the one under the truck but it was the one on top so the guy at the place told me to use cataclean to try and clean out the converter he told me to fill it up drive it high speed and run the gas out if the light didn’t go out to fill it up again run all the gas out so my question is even thou I put the cataclean in my truck ran out one tank of gas should I try what oxyclean or just fill up the tank and ran the second tank of gas out? I’m so confused and frustrated. Oh and is there a way to know if a cat. Converter is bad before I buy it. One more question can a 2001 Silverado catalytic converter fit a 2003 chevy tahoe?

  7. O have a 04 ford Taurus and changed the fuel filter,egr vale,egr valve sensor but the plastic egr sensor and 2 little hoses keep melting. I took it to get it tested and thats all pops up on the test. I don’t know why it keeps melting them things

  8. Due to a very high demand and high ammount of comments, you have to wait for some time for your car questions to get answered. If you want to get fast answers from a certified master technician you can ask your questions here:
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