Car Part Spotlight: What Is A Catalytic Converter?

It’s no secret that our country is heading in a “greener” direction, aiming to reduce carbon emissions and be more environmentally friendly. In an effort to do so in 2010, it became mandatory for all vehicles to be equipped with a catalytic converter. Under Federal Law, it is considered a crime to remove one. If your car does not have one you will most likely not be able to pass a emissions inspection. Now you may ask yourself, “what is a catalytic converter?”. There are lots of benefits behind having a catalytic converter but basically, they help to reduce the number of emissions that are released and increase the quality of the emissions that are released into the air.

What Is A Catalytic Converter?

A catalytic converter is meant to regulate the exhaust of your vehicle. It uses a catalyst to transform harmful compounds in your exhaust into harmless compounds. The three harmful compounds that get released into the air from your exhaust are:

  • Hydrocarbons: this compound is emitted in the form of unburnt gasoline.
  • Carbon monoxide: this compound is formed by the combustion of gasoline.
  • Nitrogen oxide: this compound is formed is created when the heat in your engine forces nitrogen in the air to combine with oxygen.

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The catalytic converter helps to turn hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide and water, carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide, and nitrogen oxide into nitrogen and oxygen. With a catalytic converter, your car’s fuel emissions are much less harmful to the environment.

Benefits for Larger Vehicles

Larger vehicles, especially ones that operate on diesel fuel, receive the greatest benefit from using a catalytic converter. When a vehicle has a larger engine, the converter enables it to properly process its exhaust in a more efficient way. It is important that you have a catalytic converter that is specifically designed for your engine and the type of fuel that you use. This is the only way to make sure your engine is operating at an optimal level.

Benefits for Other Vehicles

For smaller vehicles that use regular fuel, a catalytic converter can alleviate some of the common issues with newer fuel systems. For some vehicles, it is possible for the catalytic converter to become clogged after long periods of use, especially if other parts of the fuel system are not working properly. However, by using more recent designs of catalytic converters, gas vehicles can drastically reduce the chances of clogging and therefore, improve the overall performance of your fuel system.

An added benefit of catalytic converters is that manufacturers are starting to produce them with tighter emissions controls for states with strict regulations. Some states, like California, do mandatory periodic carbon emissions inspections. A catalytic converter helps car owners comply with their state’s regulations, which can save them money.

Catalytic Converters for All Vehicles

Hopefully, now you know the answer to what is a catalytic converter. It is now mandatory for all vehicles in the United States to have one. It will help you to be more environmentally friendly, while at the same time complying with your state’s requirements. If you have an older car, you may need to have one installed. If you already have one installed, be sure that it is the right one for your car.

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At Holiday Service Center, we have over 30 years of industry experience. Offering a variety of auto services, we can answer any questions you may have about catalytic converters. We’ll tell you if you have the right kind of converter for your vehicle and fuel type so your engine runs as efficiently as possible. Check out all of the engine maintenance services we have to offer or get in touch with us today.

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