What is a Catalytic Converter?

If you have ever found yourself wondering about your cataltyic converter, you aren’t alone. While most people know that their vehicle comes equipped with a catalytic converter that must remain functional for the car to pass government inspections, you may not know exactly what your catalytic converter does.

Simply, catalytic converters help reduce pollution produced by driving cars. Cars operate using combustion engines, meaning that the fuel they use is combusted or burned. When combustable fuel is burned, it gives off byproducts that can be harmful to the environment. Catalytic converters convert these harmful emissions into less harmful substances.

Catalytic Converter Basics

A catalytic converter is nothing more than a small metal box attached the bottom of your vehicle. This box has two pipes attached to it, one that brings fumes from the engine into the box and one that transports exhaust out of the box. What happens in this box?

The pipe running from the engine to your catalytic converter delivers the emissions and byproducts to your convertor where chemical catalysts are added. The pollutant, nitrogen oxide, is broken down through the process of reduction where oxygen and nitrogen are seperated – rendering them harmless.

The second process is the exact opposite – oxidation or the addition of oxygen. This turns carbon monoxide, a harmful pollutant, into carbon dioxide. Another reaction transforms unburned hydrocarbons into water and carbon dioxide.

Finally, these byproducts are pushed through the other pipe as exhaust and expelled from the tail pipe of your vehicle. If you want to learn more about your catalytic converter, don’t hestitate to contact us.