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.

A: It sounds like the catalytic converter has ...

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

Ask a Mechanic
(100% Free)

Have a car question? Get free advice from our top-rated mechanics.

Ask A Mechanic
Over 10,000 questions answered!

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Save up to 30%

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: I want to know if it's ok to drive to Canada from Massachusetts with bad converter

If you have a lack of power, it is not a good idea to put highway mileage (high RPMs) on your vehicle. It can clog your fuel injectors and damage your engine. There are two types of catalytic converter damage....

Q: No heat - 2000 Dodge Dakota

Hello there, many common faults will cause your 2000 Dodge Dakota to not have heat. If you have no heat coming from the vents, it is likely you have a air conditioning blend door actuator fault or a faulty AC...

Q: I have negative camber on my front driver's side wheel

Replacing the upper control arm on your vehicle may permit camber adjustment. But first, look for cam-style bolts or another adjusting mechanism. Of course, check to see if the factory preferred camber setting (probably slightly negative, maybe 0.5 to 1.0...

Related articles

How Long Does a Distributor O Ring Last?
The distributor is part of the ignition system in your vehicle and its purpose is to route high voltage from the ignition coil to the spark plug. The spark plug then...
Rules of the Road For Iowa Drivers
Driving on the roads requires knowledge of the rules, many of which are based on common sense and courtesy. However, even though you know the rules in...
How to Avoid Back Pain in a Car
If you have back problems, sitting in a car for an extended period of time can be excruciating. Even without back problems, you could experience discomfort and soreness from...