What Is The Purpose Of A Catalytic Converter?


What Is The Purpose Of A Catalytic Converter

What is the main purpose of a catalytic converter?

Blog Home The average car has a lot of parts—around 30,000—and each has a specific function. From the simple nuts and bolts holding everything together to the engine itself, every car is a complex combination of these parts. So, when it comes to the catalytic converter, you probably know that it’s a part on a car, but that’s likely it.

  1. It may surprise you to learn that a catalytic converter’s job is to convert harmful pollutants into less harmful emissions before they even leave a car’s exhaust system.
  2. Do you know what to do when your check engine light comes on? Learn more here,
  3. If your car was manufactured after 1975, then the answer is most likely yes.

Each car on the road is a source of harmful carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides. With millions of cars being driven each day, this pollution and smog can create big problems. Exhaust emissions contribute to breathing illnesses, poor air quality, and environmental pollution.

  • To combat these harmful effects, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) strengthened emissions control regulations in the mid-1970s, and the catalytic converter has been a required component on all cars since 1975 (the year it was created).
  • Your catalytic converter is located on the underside of your car, in the exhaust system between the exhaust manifold and muffler.

The part itself is either beaded or honeycomb shaped and coated in a metal catalyst, usually a combination of platinum, rhodium, and palladium. When exhaust gases pass through a heated catalytic converter, two catalytic events (chemical reactions) take place:

  1. The reduction catalyst is the first of the two catalytic events to occur. It uses the metal catalysts to reduce harmful nitrogen oxides by separating the molecules into nitrogen and oxygen. The nitrogen is trapped within the converter, while the oxygen passes through
  2. The oxidation catalyst is the second catalytic event. It reduces unburned hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide by burning (oxidizing) them over the metal catalyst.

Essentially, a catalytic converter filters out harmful byproducts in the exhaust gases and burns them up. And while the main function of a catalytic converter is to reduce harmful emissions, it also improves your car’s efficiency. A well-maintained car will extend the life of your catalytic converter, minimizing the possibility of a costly catalytic converter repair or replacement.

  • There are many possible indications that your catalytic converter is failing.
  • A sluggish car engine or reduced acceleration are subtle symptoms you shouldn’t ignore—get a mechanic to diagnose the problem as soon as you can.
  • Dark exhaust smoke and the smell of sulfur or rotten eggs from your exhaust are more noticeable signs of a bad catalytic converter,

Other car problems can also lead to a damaged catalytic converter:

  • Misfiring spark plugs or a failed oxygen sensor can cause a catalytic converter to overheat.
  • It can also be damaged by contaminants in the fuel; leaded fuel will destroy the catalyst metals, though it is rarely found in the United States.
  • Engine coolant can leak into the combustion system due to a faulty cylinder head gasket, eventually clogging the catalytic converter. Fluid leaks of any kind should be fixed quickly; this will help prevent potential damage to the catalytic converter or other parts of your car.

While catalytic converter cleaner is an option for clearing minor clogs, chances are it won’t have an effect on larger issues. The best way to avoid having to repair or replace your catalytic converter is to follow your car’s recommended maintenance schedule and keep your exhaust, emissions, and combustions systems in good shape.

  1. A well-maintained car will help extend the life of your catalytic converter by ten years or more,
  2. But in rare cases, catalytic converter repair or replacement is necessary.
  3. Learn about other basic car maintenance tips here,
  4. Catalytic converter repair is sometimes an option, though it can be nearly as expensive as replacing a catalytic converter.

The average cost of repairing a catalytic converter can range from $300 to $2,500. This is due to the catalytic converter requiring precious metals like platinum, rhodium, and palladium. These materials are expensive for mechanics to purchase, resulting in a higher repair cost.

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Beyond replacing these metals, a deep cleaning is one of the only other repair options. If a catalytic converter has excessive wear, replacement may be the only option. Similarly, catalytic converter replacement is quite expensive. A catalytic converter replacement costs around $2,000 —and that’s just for the part itself.

On top of that, installation and labor cost will further increase the price of replacing a catalytic converter. However expensive, when a catalytic converter replacement or repair is required, it’s a necessity for your car. Removing your catalytic converter is not a safe or legal option, as the EPA designated it a required component in 1975.

A car will not function well without a catalytic converter, and small problems could eventually lead to engine failure. Not to mention the harmful emissions being released into the atmosphere. Keep your aging car feeling young with our car care checklist here, Of all the parts that make up a car, the catalytic converter is undoubtably one of the most important—and for a few reasons.

The catalytic converter helps to reduce airborne pollutants that could harm people as well as the environment, turning 90% of harmful emissions into less harmful gasses. A well-maintained catalytic converter improves the efficiency of your car, directly affecting its overall health and performance.

  • Your mechanic can help you decide if—and when— you might need to consider replacing your catalytic converter.
  • Repairs to your vehicle can be pricey but don’t have to slow you down.
  • The Synchrony Car Care™ credit card is there to help you finance all the big automotive expenses – planned and unplanned – for your car, truck or RV.

Find out more here,

What happens to your car without the catalytic converter?

Yes, you could temporarily drive without a catalytic converter, and it won’t damage a modern car or engine. But in the long run, it’ll emit harmful gas, sacrifice your car’s engine performance and fuel economy, and possibly get you in trouble with the law.

Are catalytic converters necessary?

Why Are Catalytic Converters Being Stolen? – Your catalytic converter is an essential part of your vehicle, designed to reduce the pollutants and toxic gas your emissions system produces. It uses precious metals like platinum, rhodium, and palladium to complete this process.

  • People have been stealing catalytic converters off of cars to sell these metals for scraps.
  • While this has been happening for years, a recent uptick in catalytic converter theft may be motivated by economic turbulence from the pandemic.
  • Additionally, the reduced foot traffic during this time may make it easier for thieves who feel less likely to be caught.

It takes just a few minutes for a thief to saw the catalytic converter out of your car and leave you with thousands of dollars in damage.

Why do thieves steal catalytic converters?

When Josy turned the ignition on her 2010 Prius one morning this February, she heard an unsettling rattle coming from underneath her car. Her girlfriend, Glory, unfortunately knew the sound all too well. Once again, thieves had targeted the cars parked at Glory’s Indianapolis apartment complex, searching for catalytic converters — the valuable, canister-like part of the car responsible for transforming harmful emissions into less-polluting gas.

Glory, a 23-year-old librarian, already had her “cat” stolen from her 2016 Kia Sportage twice, once in April 2021 and another time in March 2022. Now it was Josy’s turn. Glory and Josy — whose last names are being withheld to protect their privacy — are not alone. From San Diego to Boston, nationwide catalytic converter thefts appear to be at a historic high.

Insurance claims for these thefts increased from 16,660 claims in 2020 to 64,701 in 2022, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau’s latest report released last week. What Is The Purpose Of A Catalytic Converter At first glance, catalytic converters seem like a weirdly specific part to steal. But there’s a reason for that — they’re rich in precious metals, such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium. A thief can earn a couple hundred bucks from a typical catalytic converter.

In the US, secondhand converters aren’t reused in cars, Rather, these parts eventually end up at refineries that process the metal.) The thefts are brazen and can occur in under 90 seconds, and have even taken place in broad daylight. Police historically have had a hard time tracking thefts because it’s near impossible to identify catalytic converters once they’re stolen.

In some rare cases, when someone has caught a thief red-handed, it has ended in bloodshed, It can cost up to thousands of dollars and weeks of waiting to get a converter replaced. Like any other car part, catalytic converters are specific to the make and model of the car.

  • While most cars have one catalytic converter, some have two and others can have up to four.) If you have an electric vehicle, you’re in luck — only combustion cars and hybrid vehicles have catalytic converters.
  • It’s easy to write off these thefts as random acts that occasionally get featured on the 11 o’clock news.

But the scale is much, much bigger than that. Last November, the Department of Justice cracked down on a $545 million nationwide theft ring, Law enforcement arrested 21 people and seized “millions of dollars in assets, including homes, bank accounts, cash, and luxury vehicles.” If neighborhood listservs, local news segments, and frustrated tweets are to be believed, it’s likely that 2023 will continue to see higher than normal numbers.

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Why are catalytic converters worth so much?

What makes catalytic converters so valuable? – What Is The Purpose Of A Catalytic Converter Why are these little pieces of metal so valuable and coveted in the scrap world? It all comes down to one acronym; PGM’s (Platinum Group Metals). Platinum is expensive, and if you have ever bought a piece of jewelry, you would know that by now- but it is also expensive when you have platinum inside of catalytic converters.

The PGM’s also include Rhodium and Palladium, and these two metals, couples with platinum, make catalytic converters have their value. These precious metals mixed help trap the fumes from internal gas engines or diesel engines, which has helped stop more emissions (harmful to the environment) from escaping into the air.

But the increased value since the beginning of 2019 of the PGM group of metals has led to the catalytic converter prices really increasing over that same time.

Are catalytic converters expensive?

The average catalytic converter ranges between $800 and $1,200, depending on the vehicle’s make and model.

How long does a catalytic converter last?

A new catalytic converter should last for around 10 years but, as with most other vehicle components, the exact lifespan can differ. Mileage and engine tune can impact on the durability of the item, so it’s worth checking the condition after 50,000 miles. Generally, a vehicle will need to have its catalytic converter replaced at least once during its lifetime, and it’s worthwhile to check if this part has been changed when you’re buying a used model. What does a catalytic converter do? The part works to reduce the amount of harmful emissions released from a petrol engine by converting gases into water vapour. It links up with a car’s Electronic Control Unit (ECU) which monitors the amount of oxygen present in exhaust gases and adjusts the air/fuel mix for optimum clean output. Will I know when a catalytic converter needs changing? Not always. Sometimes, what seems like a failed catalytic converter is in fact an issue with the engine management system, so replacing the part may not solve the issue. In this instance it’s wise to take your vehicle to an aftersales centre to have the component and related parts checked by an expert technician. Talk to the experts If you believe your vehicle may need a new catalytic converter, or for any general maintenance guidance, please get in touch with the professionals at Beadles. Click through to our marque contact pages and get in touch with an adviser for more details or to book a visit.

    Is it illegal to drive without a catalytic converter UK?

    What should i do if my catalytic converter is stolen? Driving without a catalytic converter is illegal, as your vehicle will produce emissions above the permitted standard, which means police can issue drivers with a fine of up to £1,000 if a catalytic converter is missing.

    Will removing catalytic converter hurt engine?

    While removing the catalytic converter will not harm the engine, you can expect a reduction in engine power as well as a reduction in fuel economy.

    How does car sound without catalytic converter?

    Symptoms of Converter Theft – You’ll notice a loud rumbling or roaring sound when you turn on the engine if your catalytic converter is missing. This sound gets louder when you hit the gas. The exhaust is not working correctly, so the vehicle also drives rougher than usual, often with a sense of sputtering as you change speed.

    What does a catalytic converter cost?

    How Much Does a Catalytic Converter Cost ? – For most modern cars, you can expect to pay around $300 – $1,650 (not including labor) for a new catalytic converter. However, these prices usually depend on the cost of the parts and local labor charges, For example, replacing a standard catalytic converter (CAT) in newer cars can cost between $500 and $2,200,

    Meanwhile, some low emission vehicles, like the Toyota Prius, may cost around $2,120 and $2,150, The CAT, found between your exhaust manifold and muffler, filters out the harmful exhaust gases and particles of unburned fuel your vehicle produces. So it’s best to have your catalytic converter checked by an expert mechanic as soon as you spot an issue.

    Now let’s find out why catalytic converters are so expensive.

    What are the benefits of removing the catalytic converters from cars?

    Less Engine Heat – With less pressure throughout the engine and exhaust system, your vehicle’s engine is freed up. A large benefit of this is that there’s less engine heat. The engine works half as hard without a catalytic converter. Your engine will run more smoothly and be particularly lighter on hot days.

    Should I replace my catalytic converter or get a new car?

    Should I Repair My Car Or Buy A New One? – Whether or not it’s worthwhile replacing the catalytic converter or buying a new car depends on the value of your vehicle. For example, your vehicle may not be worth much if your Nissan is old or has many miles clocked up.

    Because of this, your car may also encounter other mechanical problems, which could add to the overall cost of repairs. These are important factors you will need to weigh, and you can always ask for a quote before proceeding with any repairs. If you are looking at new catalytic converters online, keep in mind that it’s not just the part that costs money.

    You will also need to pay someone for their time and labor when it’s installed. Another point to consider is that you must buy a new catalytic converter. Unfortunately, due to safety reasons, you cannot get a second-hand one installed. Because of this, you are purchasing a genuine Nissan part is recommended.

    How do I know if my catalytic converter has been stolen?

    In summary, here are the key symptoms that your catalytic converter has been removed: Loud roar when you start the car, louder as you accelerate. Increase in exhaust fumes, or unusual exhaust smells. Missing parts under vehicle leading to muffler.

    What is the easiest car to steal?

    Which Models Are Vulnerable? – According to multiple class-action lawsuits filed last year, 2011-2021 model year Kias and Hyundais without immobilizers—identifiable by their keyed ignitions—are prime targets. Owners with push-button start needn’t worry so much, as their vehicles came standard with this theft-prevention measure.

    What is the most stolen catalytic converter?

    1. Ford F Series Trucks – The Ford F-150 truck has been the best selling vehicle in the country for 41 years, according to the automaker. That means they’re everywhere and there is always a need for parts. The same goes for other F-Series trucks like the F-250 and F-350.

    How much gold is in a catalytic converter?

    Content will vary significantly depending on the vehicle model, but on average the ceramic weight is approximately just less than 1 kg, and the precious metal content is between 0,2% and 1%. For example the amount of platinum in a catalytic converter is around 5 grams, for a standard one.

    Do all cars have a catalytic converter?

    It’s a vital element of your car’s exhaust system because they reduce emissions of harmful compounds found in car exhaust. All cars made after 1974 are required to have catalytic converters to convert these pollutants into less harmful compounds before leaving your car’s exhaust system.

    How much platinum is in a catalytic converter?

    How Much Platinum Is In A Catalytic Converter ? – A standard catalytic converter contains about 3 – 7 grams (0.106 – 0.247 ounces) of platinum, The amount usually depends on your vehicle’s make, model, and year, which is why some cars have a relatively low amount of platinum while others may have double the usual amount.

    1. For example, the Toyota Prius (2016) contains a higher amount of platinum, and has extremely low emissions.
    2. Aside from the Toyota Prius, other cars also have a significant amount of platinum, resulting in an expensive catalytic converter.
    3. Namely, the Ford F250, Ferrari F430, Lamborghini Aventador, and Ford Mustang.

    Now that we know the amount of platinum in your catalytic converter or ‘cat,’ let’s find out how much it’s worth.

    How much is a catalytic converter worth?

    What Affects Catalytic Converter Scrap Value? – Catalytic converter worth can range from $800 to $1200. Let’s take a look at some factors that drive scrap catalytic converter pricing:

      The precious metal composition of the car part influences catalytic converter scrap prices. The market value of platinum, palladium, and rhodium fluctuates constantly but remains relatively high.

    The condition of the scrap catalytic converter is also crucial. The more well-kept it is, the higher the catalytic converter price.

    The type of catalytic converter also affects catalytic converter worth. A gasoline cat converter fetches a higher price than a diesel catalytic converter. The difference is that a gasoline cat converter has more precious metals than a diesel catalytic converter.

    An OEM converter (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and an aftermarket catalytic converter also differ in value. An OEM converter is more valuable than an aftermarket catalytic converter, as manufacturers must include high doses of precious metals.

    As the catalytic converter scrap value depends on its condition, it’s essential to keep an eye on its overall integrity.

    How much platinum is in a catalytic converter?

    How Much Platinum Is In A Catalytic Converter ? – A standard catalytic converter contains about 3 – 7 grams (0.106 – 0.247 ounces) of platinum, The amount usually depends on your vehicle’s make, model, and year, which is why some cars have a relatively low amount of platinum while others may have double the usual amount.

    For example, the Toyota Prius (2016) contains a higher amount of platinum, and has extremely low emissions. Aside from the Toyota Prius, other cars also have a significant amount of platinum, resulting in an expensive catalytic converter. Namely, the Ford F250, Ferrari F430, Lamborghini Aventador, and Ford Mustang.

    Now that we know the amount of platinum in your catalytic converter or ‘cat,’ let’s find out how much it’s worth.