Longview Auto Repair

How Does the Catalytic Converter Work?

Have you ever wondered how we don't drive in a cloud of car exhaust? Well the answer is simple but the component itself isn’t - it's all because of the catalytic converter! Continue reading to find out more about this marvel of engineering. 

Purpose and Function

The primary purpose of a catalytic converter is to convert harmful pollutants present in exhaust gasses into less harmful substances. This is done by a variety of chemical reactions and processes that we won’t go into too deep because it can get quite complex. The amazon part is that it brings the harmful emissions down by almost 100%!

Structure and Composition

The catalytic converter is typically a metal canister that contains a honeycomb-like structure made of ceramic or metal. This structure is coated with a combination of catalysts, usually platinum, palladium, and rhodium. These catalysts facilitate the chemical reactions that convert harmful gasses into less harmful ones.

Chemical Reactions

When exhaust gasses pass through the catalytic converter, they encounter the catalysts on the surface of the honeycomb structure. The catalysts act as facilitators, promoting specific chemical reactions that break down and transform harmful pollutants into less toxic substances.

  • Oxidation: The catalysts help facilitate the oxidation reaction, converting carbon monoxide (CO) and unburned hydrocarbons (HC) into carbon dioxide (CO2) and water (H2O).
  • Reduction: In the reduction reaction, nitrogen oxides (NOx) are converted into nitrogen (N2) and oxygen (O2).
  • Location: The catalytic converter is positioned in the exhaust system, usually between the engine and the muffler. Its location may vary depending on the vehicle's make and model, but it is typically found underneath the vehicle, along the exhaust pipe.

Please note: The location of the catalytic converter may vary depending on the specific vehicle's make, model, and engine configuration. Consult your vehicle's owner's manual or a professional mechanic for precise information on the location of the catalytic converter in your vehicle.

Efficiency and Maintenance

Over time, the catalytic converter may become less efficient due to factors such as contamination or deterioration of the catalysts. This can result in decreased performance and increased emissions. Regular maintenance and proper engine tuning can help ensure the catalytic converter functions optimally and lasts longer.

If your exhaust smoke is different from clear, make sure to visit Longview Auto & Tire! We inspect and if needed, repair your exhaust system so you don't have to worry anymore!

Longview Auto & Tire is committed to ensuring effective communication and digital accessibility to all users. We are continually improving the user experience for everyone, and apply the relevant accessibility standards to achieve these goals. We welcome your feedback. Please call Longview Auto & Tire (360) 425-3933 if you have any issues in accessing any area of our website.