What is the Catalytic Converter?

How the Catalytic Converter Keeps Us Safe

Air pollution is a serious problem in many cities throughout the U.S., and vehicle emissions are the number one culprit. Many of us are forced to breathe in this pollution without even realizing it. Engineers and car manufacturers continue to develop new ways to mitigate the pollutants that vehicles are releasing into the air. The catalytic converter is an essential component in keeping the emissions from your exhaust system lower.

Catalytic converters are designed to keep us all safe. They’re an essential part of your car, so you’ll need to bring your vehicle to the service experts at Coopers Auto Repair Specialists in Tacoma, WA, if you suspect that your catalytic converter is malfunctioning. Catalytic converter issues will often cause the check engine light to illuminate, so this may be the cause if your light comes on.

Your vehicle’s catalytic converter is a vital part of its exhaust system. Protecting you, your fellow passengers, and the rest of your community is the job of a properly functioning exhaust system. The catalytic converter is located in the middle of the exhaust system, where it filters out pollutants from the exhaust before it’s sent to the muffler and out the tailpipe. All of the toxic fumes coming from the engine need to go somewhere, other than the front seats and the cabin. Your vehicle’s exhaust system will direct harmful gasses like carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, and hydrocarbons out the rear exhaust and away from the vehicle.

Emissions control is the goal for every vehicle’s exhaust system. In order to control these harmful emissions, the catalytic converter has been built with two types of catalysts. These catalysts are made from metals that cause chemical reactions that break down nitrogen oxides and make the gas emissions cleaner for the environment. There are two types of catalysts in the catalytic converter, a reduction catalyst and an oxidation catalyst. The catalysts use metals like platinum, rhodium, and palladium to burn carbon monoxide poisonous gas and the hydrocarbons in the fuel. This cuts down on the amount of smog being created by unburnt petroleum.

A very important component in maintaining proper emissions control is the oxygen sensor. It’s the critical final piece of emissions control process, because it sends information back to the ECU (Engine Control Unit) about how much oxygen is found in the exhaust gases. Your vehicle’s internal computer takes this information and adjusts the ratio of air to fuel.

If your check engine light is on, it may be an issue with your catalytic converter. Come see us at Coopers Auto Repair Specialists in Tacoma, WA, so our engine experts can assess the problem and make any necessary repairs.

Written by Coopers Auto Repair Specialists

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