The importance of a Catalytic Converter for your vehicle
- Car Accessories,
- Feb 15, 2020
With the increase in population, it is only natural that the number of vehicles you see on the road has also increased. That can be amounted to the fact that a personal vehicle has become almost mandatory for everyone and because it has become so feasible to lease or loan a car so that everyone can afford it. The number of vehicles also means that all the vehicles that run on fuel produce harmful pollutants, that are not improving the effects on the environment at all; in fact, some of those pollutants are very harmful to humans as well as their harmful effects on the environment.
You might know about some of the harmful substances and may even be familiar with the greenhouse effect. Most of the harmful gases and substances that are found in the air prove to be harmful to breathe in. Most people would know that vehicles produce carbon dioxide gas as a byproduct of the combustion of fuel in the engine. If you are thinking that carbon dioxide is the only gas that is being produced, then think again. There are plenty of other pollutants that are produced, making the air less safe to breathe in each day. The question comes to mind then: what to do about these pollutants and how to be rid of them?
One way would be to reduce the number of personal vehicles and shift people towards the many public transportation options or the car-sharing services that are available today. The Worlds is also understanding that the safer way out would be to reduce the number of petrol and diesel engines and have introduced hybrid and electric cars aimed at substituting the vehicles that are responsible for all the pollution. A third option that is very popular and has been adopted by many countries as their law, is to make the combustion process cleaner so that less of the harmful pollutants are produced and expelled into the air. This is done by using a car catalytic converter, fitted in the vehicle's exhaust that helps remove the pollutants that are produced by the engine and making the whole process much safer. Let’s find out how a Catalytic Converter works!
What is a Catalytic Converter?
The catalytic converter is a small device that follows the basic principles of chemistry and helps reduce the harmful emissions that are produced by the vehicle’s engine. Today, most modern vehicles and cars are by default fitted with a catalytic converter and some countries like the USA have made it mandatory for the cars to have one fixed to their exhausts. To understand how it works, let’s dive into a short chemistry 101 lesson.
What you need to understand is that toxic products are produced in the exhaust where there is incomplete combustion and not enough oxygen is present in the engine to completely combust everything. The result is that toxic harmful byproducts are emitted into the environment. The converter helps provide a place for the right oxidation to take place giving a site where that happens.
The metals that make up a catalytic converter are very expensive namely platinum, rhodium, and palladium. The converter works by first removing nitrogen oxides from the exhaust and outputs nitrogen and oxygen atoms in the air. The second stage is the oxidation one in which the process of catalyzation of pollutants including hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide, and produces carbon dioxide as a by-product, which is at least less harmful than the other pollutants.
Nowadays, high flow catalytic converters are available in the market which may not be as cheap as your traditional catalytic converters, but they have their perks. High flow catalytic converter benefits include an increase in an overall power in your car due to the fact that they allow a more efficient flow of the gases in the exhaust, as per requirement.
Why is a Catalytic Converter important?
The reduction and oxidation process that takes place in a catalytic converter helps to remove and convert the harmful pollutants that are found inside an engine’s exhaust. That engine may belong to a car or any other industrial machine which produces those pollutants that are harmful to the environment and to human beings. You will also find diesel catalytic converters for diesel engines, more commonly known as Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC). Below we describe briefly the different pollutants that a catalytic converter removes and what effects they have:
Nitrogen Oxides: This family of oxides is the reason you see smog in big cities which has such adverse effects on lungs and breathing, especially in children. Nitrogen oxides also react with sulfur dioxide which results in acid rain which is harmful to humans and destructive for properties and buildings as well corroding the surface wherever it falls. Nitrogen oxides also play a part in the depletion of the ozone layer, creating more problems.
Carbon Monoxide: A variant of the carbon dioxide gas, this pollutant is fatal if inhaled for a prolonged period and what makes it more dangerous is that it is a colorless and odorless gas, which makes it impossible to detect and avoid.
Hydrocarbons: Extremely fatal for children and some adverse effects on the central nervous system is what makes the hydrocarbons dangerous.
Catalytic Converter Price and repair
Most modern cars today come equipped with a catalytic converter by default, but you can still find yourself in need of a new one to replace or get the old one repaired. A catalytic converter can cost you around $1,400 and the catalytic converter price in Australia can range from as low as $250 to as much as $3,000, depending on the vehicle and the quality of catalytic converter that you require.
Once your cat is clogged, that might prove to be a problem for you, and you might find yourself asking as to how to clean the catalytic converter. The answer is that in these cases, mostly what happens is that the exhaust superheats that inside, resulting in a blocked catalytic converter and you will start hearing a particular rattle sound in your engine and exhaust which would mean that it is time to replace your converter.
There are many organizations in Australia that offer to replace and recycle your catalytic converter and even provide with door to door service, which you can make use of when you need.