A Catalytic Converter (sometimes referred to as Muffler) is an exhaust emissions cleaning device that, through chemical reaction, converts toxic gasses from the car engine like carbon monoxide, nitrogen, nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide and hydrocarbons into less harmful gases by catalyzing a redox reaction. The result is less harmful substances like carbon dioxide and water vapor.
The inside of a Catalytic Converter is filled with honeycomb structure composed of a catalyst made up of precious metals such as palladium, rhodium and platinum that create the chemical reaction that changes the chemical structure of the exhaust fumes when it comes into contact with the exhaust gasses.
This technology isn’t new and practically all fuel vehicles have a Catalytic Converter. Diesel cars have special Catalytic Converters that can handle their emissions. Technology has greatly evolved and newer vehicles have special features that control exhaust emissions and reduce pollution.
Originally, the Catalytic Converters were positioned close to the engine because they need high temperatures to maximize their efficiency. However, this came with some problems and the Catalytic Converter had to be moved further down the exhaust system away from the engine. That is the reason why majority of Catalytic Converters are found underneath vehicles.
The Catalytic Converter is meant to last a lifetime of a vehicle ( not eternity) but due to poor maintenance and wrong driving, it is affected by many intermittent faults which when not properly diagnosed will lead to replacement of the entire engine. Sometimes they are also stolen by unprofessional mechanics because they know you rarely inspect underneath your car so it will take a lifetime before you notice you are running on a car without a Catalytic Converter.
There are a number of fuel induced catalytic issues that arise out of Catalytic Converter’s malfunction and some of these include blockage, pitting and cracking.
Common symptoms of Catalyst Converter’s malfunction:
• Sluggish engine performance
• Reduced acceleration
• Louder Engine sound
• Dark exhaust smoke
• The smell of sulphur or rotten eggs from the exhaust
• Excessive heat under the vehicle
• Rough Idling
• Rattling Sound
Symptoms and diagnosis are dependent on the vehicle’s make and model due to the difference in control system application.
When the catalyst is removed from the chamber, the result is the chamber turns out to be larger in diameter pipe and this reduces the flow rate causing the following common symptoms associated with missing Catalytic Converter:
• Loud engine noise and rattling
• Increased fuel consumption
• Sluggish acceleration
• Reduced power especially when going uphill
• Longer idling time during cold start up
In some countries, the Muffler is hot cake for thieves for it is expensive and that means selling one fetches them some good cash. To avoid theft of your precious Catalytic Converter, always seek services of professionals for all your exhaust diagnosis, repair, replacement and maintenance. And most importantly, get below your vehicle at least once in a year and inspect the situation underneath your car.
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