The catalyst converter forms a very important part of the emission control system of your car. It substantially reduces a number of harmful pollutants a car emits. It converts these harmful gases into vapor which is less harmful to the environment. All cars manufactured since 1993 have a catalyst converter.
What does a catalyst converter do?
The catalyst converter prevents increased exhaust emissions and boosts engine performance. It was invented to reduce the number of harmful gases that are released into the environment. The gases flowing to the catalyst converter contain harmful chemical compositions that have lethal consequences to the environment long-term.
The catalyst converter is extremely designed with amazing features that are essential to driving environmental friendly. The catalyst converter is designed ceramics riddled with pores coated with the powdered catalyst containing platinum, palladium, and rhodium. When the engine of a car is switched on, the pores heat up since they are close to the engine. The chemical structure of the exhaust gasses that pass through changes forming nitrogen and oxygen or water vapor.
Carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons are the gases produced by a running engine. The converter breaks down the two gases into carbon dioxide and water which affects the emission readings of a car. The catalyst converter is so efficient because it has a long life expectancy but still requires regular maintenance.
For more information on how the catalyst converter works, visit the link below.
What does it mean to have a faulty catalyst converter?
When you have a problematic catalyst converter, your car will have increased exhaust emissions and your car’s engine will decrease in performance. A faulty catalyst converter is as a result of sudden temperature changes in the exhaust system which produces excessively fuels. These unused fuels cause the catalyst to gain temperature quick which causes the fine catalysts materials to burn up and end up damaged.
How to tell if your catalyst converter if faulty?
It is uncommon for a catalyst converter to fail since they are subject to all the debris from the engine. It is important to keep an eye out for signs of trouble and get regular service done on your car. If available, insist on an electronic diagnostics for the most efficient analysis of your car.
The following are some of the ways you can use to tell whether your catalyst converter is failing:
1. Engine misfiring.
The engine is the body of the entire vehicle. A misfiring in the engine can cause an increase in temperature and cause the catalyst convert to overheat. When the engine increases its temperature, unburnt fuels are sent to the catalyst converter. When this happens the materials in the catalyst converter are ignited and end up melting under such conditions. When this happens, the catalyst converter then does not convert the fuels coming from the engine into water vapor.
2. Reduced performance
One of the most common symptoms associated with a faulty catalyst converter. When the catalyst convert does not perform, it accumulates exhaust which will reduce the overall performance of the car. This is created when the back pressure which affects the running of the engine, is trapped and prevents the engine from breathing.
This will make the car to act as if there is no fuel reaching the engine or make the car jerk because catalyst converter then acts as an air lock system. This sudden increase in back pressure accumulates and causes the engine to stall.
One time you will not start your engine in the morning because engine with back pressure accumption needs more battery power. So, if you have problems with engine start, first test your battery.
3. Check engine light comes on.
A faulty catalyst converter is one of the causes of an illuminated check engine light. Modern day cars are designed to measure the ratio between oxygen and air fuel ratio, which can be used to monitor the efficiency of the catalyst converter. The computer will alert the driver when the converter is not catalyzing the exhaust fuels properly.
Although the inefficiency of the catalyst converter is not the only reason why the check engine light goes on, most vehicles come with scanned trouble codes that can help to pinpoint where the problem is.
4. Lower fuel economy.
When the car is low on the miles to gallons department, the catalyst converter is one of the least things you might suspect. When it starts failing, the impact will be extended to the use of the fuel. This will affect you significantly as time goes by.
5. Colder outlet readings.
This is hard to detect since it requires some effort to inspect your car. Using an infrared thermometer, you will have to check the temperatures of both the inlet and outlet of the catalyst converter. If the inlet is cooler than the outlet then there might be some foul play from the converter.
Another method is to remove the oxygen sensors from the exhaust system for inspection. Monitor the car for any lag in performance. If there is some lag, then the catalyst converter could be going bad.
6. Failed emission test.
Not all cars require emission testing. A failed emission test is the most accurate method to determine whether the catalyst converter is performing. The most common reason for no pass is the catalyst converter.
Unfortunately, it’s also the most expensive. Its accuracy is due to the fact that the test is designed to determine the gases being emitted by the exhaust of your vehicle. Earlier I mentioned that the catalyst converter converts carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons into Nitrogen and oxygen. So if you car releases anything other than the two then the catalyst converter is faulty.
7. Power loss.
When you notice that your car is taking longer than usual to get to a certain speed, you should among other things check the catalyst converter. This can be because the exhaust gases are not being processed properly. The muffler is not always the reason for weak acceleration; the catalyst converter too can be a reason. You should regularly get your converter checked, cleaned or replaced if you want a jump in your acceleration
8. Increased emissions.
When the catalyst converter is faulty, it means the materials in the converter have been contaminated. Contamination of the chemical properties of the converter prevents it from performing perfectly. If this is the case, then you will notice your exhaust emitting more fumes than usual.
The catalyst converter should convert the exhaust fumes into vapor which is environmentally friendly. When your exhaust fumes are directly emitted to the environment, legal action can be taken against you. To fix the source of this problem before it affects the entire exhaust system of your car, you should replace the failing converter.
For the ultimate driving experience, ensure your mechanic inspects your catalyst convert regularly.