What Does a Catalytic Converter Do?

What Does a Catalytic Converter Do?

catalytic converter shown under vehicle

The modern automobile is a complex yet elegant machine that operates by many different systems working together: the steering column moves the drivetrain which moves the wheels; the fuel system feeds the engine in order to move its pistons; the electric system is powered by the battery which is regenerated by the alternator, on and so on.

But what exactly does a catalytic converter do?

You may already know they are very valuable, as the rise in catalytic converter thefts has been regular news the last few years. Clearly, they’re worth going through a lot of trouble and risk to get, so then, what are they for?

Catalytic Converters Convert Toxic Gases

Simply put, a catalytic converter reduces pollution exhausted into the air by all vehicles. A special chemical coating on the inside of the converter housing transforms harmful air pollutants into less harmful pollutants as they pass over the surface.

It’s not a perfect process, but it reduces smog enough to make living in a city possible. Truly, the reason we now require catalytic converters is rather because life in cities was becoming less and less reasonable thanks to the mass adoption of vehicles. So if you live in a large city, you can see for yourself that they work. Or, if you live in a city with an atrocious smog problem that blackens the noon sky, you can see what happens when they don’t.

It may not be the most exciting part of your car, but if you’ve ever been forced to get a catalytic converter replacement, you know that it’s essential. In fact, it’s a requirement by federal law that all vehicles have a catalytic converter installed, and when they are ruined or expired (or god forbid just entirely stolen) they must be replaced with a new converter, not a used one.

catalytic converter shown below car with highlight

What’s Inside

Most catalytic converters contain platinum, a valuable rare metal that is fairly expensive. Palladium and rhodium are other precious metals used in the construction of catalytic converters. Together they function as reduction and oxidation catalysts. Cerium, iron, manganese and nickel are also used in production, although they offer limited utility on their own.

The inside of the converter is “painted” with these chemicals in a rough, unsmooth layer to increase surface area for the chemical reaction process to occur. Additionally, in order for the reaction process to work, the temperature of the converter must reach at least 400 degrees C (752 degrees F). For this reason, most converters are placed near enough to the engine to absorb heat enough to their job.

Need Catalytic Converter Service?

best auto repair in Chico CA by Tedious Repairs

And that’s what a catalytic converter does, friends. It may not be the most thrilling subject of discussion, but it’s important to know the role it plays in the proper safe and healthy operation of your vehicle. Whether it’s a car, truck, plane, boat, or other automobile (they all use one), a catalytic converter is an essential part of the whole.

Need catalytic converter repair in Chico? You’ve come to the right place. Give Tedious Repairs a call today and we’ll gladly perform vehicle diagnostics to determine the health and status of your car or truck. We do catalytic converter installation, catalytic converter cleaning, catalytic converter replacement, and all other auto repairs you may need.

Don’t put off what can be job-complete by tomorrow! Use the contact information below to schedule an appointment, today!

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