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The Role Catalytic Converters Play In Automotive Emissions: A Serious Concern

Catalytic converters have come a long way since the power-sapping pellet catalysts of the 1970s. The modern honeycomb styled catalytic converters allow comparatively free flow of exhaust through your car's exhaust system, while at the same time cleaning up harmful pollutants emitted from your engine. Catalytic converters do not last forever, but you are not going to pass an emissions test without a working catalytic converter. Therefore, you do not have a choice but to install or replace one.

Why do we need catalytic converters?

While an engine burns fuel, it produces harmful gases that damage the environment. These gases are hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and oxides of nitrogen. Catalytic converters are installed between the exhaust line and the muffler to prevent the irreversible damage to the earth's environment. A catalytic converter uses chemicals that act as a catalyst to convert the poisonous gases to harmless inert gases. A catalyst is a chemical that causes and speeds up a reaction between two chemicals without changing its own chemical properties.

OEM catalytic converters, which come with the vehicle from the manufacturer, sometimes stop functioning efficiently. All converters have to be replaced at some time or the other, but because original catalytic converters are expensive, people prefer to go for replacement converters manufactured by OEMs.

Function of the Catalytic Converter

The side of the converter towards the engine contains a stainless steel container, which receives unsafe toxin gases from the engine. The honeycomb mesh present inside the chamber is coated with catalysts like platinum, aluminum oxide and palladium. These catalysts convert hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide and water vapor. There is a third lining of platinum and rhodium, which condenses the nitrogen oxide.

Do not use leaded fuel with a converter

Whether it is an OEM or any other catalytic converter, it is suggested to use unleaded fuel with it since the lead oxide produced in the fuel renders ineffective the lining of the catalyst chemicals. The only reason for using lead in the fuel is for lubrication. These days the law has made it compulsory to have Catalytic converters. Manufacturers have researched and designed special engine parts in order to withstand chemicals and the corrosive temperatures in the parts of the engine.


The best part about installing catalytic converters in vehicles is that emission of pollutants is reduced by about 96 percent from pre-control vehicles.

About the Author: This Jeep catalytic converter information submitted by Chad McDonald for those trying to remove a jeep catalytic converter.

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