Many times we wonder what certain elements of our car are for, we can know to a certain extent what it is, but not its exact function. The same happens with the catalyst, what is the catalytic converter in a car? What is its function? What is it for?
Although it may seem somewhat convoluted, the catalytic converter in a car is a device found in the exhaust system, specifically in the exhaust pipe. Its mission is that the polluting components that come out of our vehicle are the least possible. Its purpose is to reduce air pollution produced by cars, it is a very important piece.
How does a catalyst work?
By transforming gases through a chemical reaction transforming gases into water and carbon dioxide (CO2). With this transformation, we achieve that the gases expelled by the vehicle are partially less polluting for the planet. We cannot forget that CO2 is one of the gases that produce the greenhouse effect. All this happens due to the high temperatures with which the catalyst works, which is achieved thanks to being in the exhaust pipe and next to the engine.
Its useful life is usually around 120,000 km, although it depends a lot on the use that is given to the vehicle. We can know that it has reached its last days when we notice certain failures when accelerating or idling. The exhaust pipe may also have a peculiar odor or may emit heavy smoke. We can hear metallic noises in the underbody of the vehicle due to the breakage of some of its elements. It is not a system that usually fails or gives many problems and when it does it is due to fracturing or obstruction.
We must be careful that it does not break, otherwise, we will pollute the environment even more. In the ITV review, they do a gas test to see if the catalyst is working properly.
Maintenance and cleaning tips
We can always try to ensure that our catalytic converter lasts for as long as possible, for this we can carry out some maintenance such as avoiding potholes, because the catalytic converter is located in the lower part of the vehicle and it could suffer some damage.
We can also perform some tasks to keep our catalyst in perfect condition. Checking all the elements that make up the car’s engine and exhaust system would be a good way to ensure its good condition.
When the catalyst is already in its last days we have several options: replace it, rebuild it, or clean it. It can be rebuilt in specialized workshops or replaced with a new one.
In some workshops, they give you the option of cleaning it using machines that clean the catalyst and the filter using hot water under pressure. Also through products such as decarbonizing cleaners eliminate the accumulation of particles that allows the best circulation of gases. Once clean, up to 98% of its functionality can be recovered. The catalytic converter is an important part of our vehicle since thanks to it we manage to pollute the planet a little less. So from Auto for Trade, we remind you that you should check it from time to time.