Let’s Talk About Catalytic Converters

The invention of automobiles made transportation fast and easy. But it is also true that vehicles produce a great amount of pollution that also causes health risks. 

However, today’s vehicles have a modern exhaust system containing different parts that make cars more eco-friendly. One such part is a catalytic converter 

The harmful molecules that makeup pollutant gases are constructed from comparatively safe atoms. Therefore, if we could figure out a technique to split these molecules after they exit a car’s engine but before they are pushed into the air, we could control the pollution problem. A catalytic converter handles that task.

In terms of looks, a catalytic converter looks like a large metal box with a honeycomb structure in the middle coated with precious metals such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium. However, the magic happens inside where the harmful compounds are turned into safe gases. 

How does a catalytic converter work?

catalytic converter

Inside the converter, the gases pass through a tightly packed ceramic honeycomb structure coated with precious metals such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium. The honeycomb structure allows these gases to contact a large area of these metals so the gases can be transformed more quickly.

A catalytic converter typically contains two main types of catalysts:

  • One of them uses a chemical procedure called reduction to combat nitrogen oxide pollution (removing oxygen). This transforms nitrogen oxides into gases such as nitrogen and oxygen (these gases are harmless).
  • The other catalyst converts carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide by adding oxygen and hence called oxidation.

Modern catalytic converters have an additional oxygen sensor that measures the amount of oxygen in exhaust gases. The sensor then modifies the engine’s air intake to maintain the ideal fuel-to-oxygen ratio and guarantee that there is sufficient oxygen for the catalytic converter to function effectively.

A catalytic converter is important for a few reasons:

  • It helps to reduce air pollutants
  • It is important for the health of the people as well as the environment
  • A well-maintained converter can improve the efficiency as well as the life of your car

When should you replace the catalytic converter?

Given the part’s function in an automobile’s exhaust system, the following symptoms may appear as it begins to show signs of wear and strain.

  • Deteriorating fuel efficiency: Clogged catalytic converters might restrict the airflow through your engine causing it to use more fuel than usual to make up for this and experience a significant decrease in fuel efficiency.
  • Rotten egg smell: The catalytic converter could sustain internal damage that makes it difficult for it to convert exhaust gases. The end result could smell sulfuric, like a rotten egg.
  • Problems starting the engine: Your car’s exhaust gases need to go out. A clogged catalytic converter can effectively stop this from happening. When you try to start your automobile as a result, it may splutter or stall due to increased exhaust pressure.
  • Ineffective acceleration: Once more, the exhaust gases must find a way out. You can experience difficulty accelerating your car due to trapped exhaust and increased pressure from a blocked converter. When you try to accomplish this, you can experience stalling or jerking.

The easiest approach to prevent needing to repair or replace your catalytic converter is to maintain the health of your exhaust, emissions, and combustion systems.

How to protect your catalytic converter?

You can do a lot of simple things to give a long life to your catalytic converter. 

  • Only use fuels and lubricants approved by the manufacturer
  • Make sure your converter doesn’t get hit when travelling on uneven roads as it will shatter easily.
  • Never tow something that’s too heavy. This can cause the monolith to overheat and melt since unburned fuel is sent into the exhaust system.
  • Make sure you don’t drive in puddles. Water cools down the converter which can break the catalyst.
  • Always check out any dashboard warning lights as soon as they appear. Any pause can harm the catalytic converter.
  • Have your vehicle frequently serviced in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations. Make sure the engine is running properly in particular. The monolith may malfunction from a poorly tuned engine, which prevents it from converting.

Your catalytic converter will last 10 years or longer if your car is well-maintained. But if the damage gets beyond control, a catalytic converter needs to be repaired or replaced.