Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: I have a 2000 lexus es300 and the engine light is flashing non stop, there is a rotten egg smell, white smoke coming from tailpipe

asked by on

I bought this car used as is and on my way home the engine light came on and the whole car started shaking and when I stopped the rpms would jump and try and jerk the car as if I were giving it gas. When I got home I discovered an oil leak from my front valve cover leaking down around and past the exhaust manifold and i also found a power steering fluid leak and ripped vacuum hose. I fixed the hose issue and the jerks weren't nearly as bad but the shaking got worse. Without fixing either leaks I attempted to drive the car to the store just a few miles away and that's when things got bad. I came straight back home and found the cat converter connected to my front exhaust manifold was GLOWING red and since then im to afraid to even drive around the corner in it and everytime I start the car there is popping sounds coming from engine and exhaust, very harsh shaking/vibrating thruout, white smoke from tailpipe, a rotten egg smell, and very low rpms (200-400) when car is dropped into gear

My car has 200000 miles.
My car has an automatic transmission.

It sounds like the catalytic converter has failed. When the catalyst material inside the converter either becomes plugged, or breaks loose and doesn’t allow for exhaust to flow, it causes friction between the escaping exhaust gas and the converter body. This friction causes heat, and is why the converter begins to get so hot. The sulfur smell that you are getting is almost exclusively a result of a failed catalytic converter. Continuing to drive the vehicle with a clogged converter can lead to severe engine damage, and can also be a fire risk, as the extreme heat created can cause other components to ignite. If you need some help with repairing the vehicle, you will need to consult a certified mechanic, like those available at YourMechanic.com.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details
  • Home
  • Questions
  • I have a 2000 lexus es300 and the engine light is flashing non stop, there is a rotten egg smell, white smoke coming from tailpipe

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: All engine sensor failure, transmission problems after a car wash.

Hi there. The only thing that could cause the severe issues that you are having with your vehicle is a leak in the exhaust system and having cold water enter the catalytic converter causing the chamber to collapse. Check the...

Q: Will not stay started once jumper cables are removed. Loses power while driving

If you can keep the engine running when the jumper cable is connected, and it stalls as soon as the jumper is removed, this means the battery is bad or its connections are bad on the clamps and the alternator...

Q: Does the catalytic converter have to be removed in order to change the oil pan gasket? 2001 Mazda Tribute

Hi there - yes, it is necessary to remove the exhaust manifold and catalytic converter (1 integrated piece) for the front cylinder bank to remove the oil pan and it's gasket. This is an unfortunate result of the tight packaging...

Related articles

What Causes Hoses to Leak?
While the largest part of your engine is mechanical, hydraulics plays a significant role. You’ll find fluids at work in a number of different areas. Your car's fluids include: Engine oil Transmission...
How Much Does a Mechanic Make in Vermont?
Automotive technician jobs in Vermont have an average mechanic salary of $37k, with some mechanics earning a salary of $53k.
P2103 OBD-II Trouble Code: Throttle Actuator Control Motor Circuit High
P2103 means there is a fault with the throttle actuator control motor circuit, likely due to a defective electrical component or part.