This work attempts a systematic investigation of the effects of flow maldistribution on the light-off behavior of a monolithic catalytic converter. To achieve this goal, a combined chemical reaction model and three-dimensional computational fluid dynamic modeling technique has been developed.The computational results reveal that the influence of area ratio was significant during high flow transient conditions. The cross-sectional area ratio with the smaller value increases the thermal gradient due to flow maldistribution in the monolith, which degrades performance of catalytic converter. Due to locally concentrated high velocities, large portions of the monolith remain cold and CO,HC are unconverted during warm up period. Therefore, flow maldistribution can cause a significant retardation of the light-off and can eventually worsen the conversion efficiency.