How do Catalytic Converters Work?
A catalytic converter reduces the amount of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides that your car emits. These chemicals are created as part of the engine’s combustion process and can be very dangerous to humans and the environment.
Catalytic converters use a catalyst to initiate a chemical reaction that turn these harmful chemicals into harmless ones. The catalyst is a ceramic structure that is coated with platinum, rhodium, or palladium. As the exhaust gases flow into this structure, the metal reacts with the chemicals, creating the less toxic wastes of carbon dioxide, water, and nitrogen, which are expelled out of the car.
Reasons Your Catalytic Converter Can Go Bad
There are a few things that could cause your cat to go bad before it has reached the end of its life span.
- Bad Sparkplugs: When spark plugs go bad they can cause unburned fuel to enter your vehicle’s exhaust system. If that fuel were to ignite it could cause the cat to suffer a partial or complete meltdown.
- Physical Damage Caused by Road Debris or Rocks: There is a lot of debris on our roadways that can be kicked up into your exhaust system. Physical damage is rare but it can happen.
- Engine Coolant or Oil Contamination: Contaminants like silicone or oil can get into the cat and form phosphorous deposit buildup which can shorten the cat’s lifespan.
- Engine Misfire: Engine misfires are caused when air and raw fuel are pumped into your vehicle’s exhaust through the catalytic converter. This makes the cat overheat.
- Frequently Taking Short Trips: Frequently driving your vehicle for short trips around town can be bad for your catalytic converter. The cat needs to get hot enough to burn away the hydrocarbons your vehicle produces or clogging occurs, cutting down its lifespan.
If the catalytic converter in your vehicle goes bad, it will trigger the check engine light to turn on. You may notice a smell of sulfur rotten eggs as well. Pay attention to your vehicle’s temperature gauge and if it struggles to maintain acceleration as you are driving around. If your vehicle experiences any of these symptoms, it is crucial that you head to your mechanic as soon as possible to diagnose the issue. They will be able to let you know if there is a clog in the cat or if it needs to be completely replaced.
Trust the Experts at South Orem Master Muffler
The best way to protect your catalytic converter is by seeing the experienced team at South Orem Master Muffler at the first signs of trouble. We can help diagnose any issues you may have with your vehicle. Call us today to schedule an appointment and learn more about all of our services to keep your vehicle running.