Today, we are going to look at what a catalytic converter is, the functions, how to clean it when it’s clogged and many more things you didn’t know about Catalytic converter.
What Is A Catalytic Converter?
A catalytic converter is an exhaust emission control device that catalyzes a redox reaction to transform hazardous gases and pollutants in exhaust gas from an internal combustion engine into less dangerous pollutants. Catalytic converters are most commonly found in internal combustion engines that run on gasoline or diesel, including lean-burn engines, as well as kerosene heaters and stoves.
Catalytic converters were originally widely used in the vehicle market in the United States. Most gasoline-powered automobiles, beginning with the 1975 model year, are equipped with catalytic converters to comply with the US Environmental Protection Agency’s tougher control of exhaust emissions. These “two-way” converters produce carbon dioxide (CO2) and water by combining oxygen with carbon monoxide (CO) and unburned hydrocarbons (CnHn) (H2O). Two-way catalytic converters were phased out in 1981 in favor of “three-way” converters that also reduce nitrogen oxides (NO x); nonetheless, two-way converters are still used in lean-burn engines. Because three-way converters must use either rich or stoichiometric combustion to effectively reduce NO x.
Catalytic converters are most typically used in automotive exhaust systems, although they can also be found in electrical generators, forklifts, mining equipment, trucks, buses, locomotives, motorbikes, and ships. They’re even used to reduce pollutants on some wood burners. This is frequently in response to government regulation, either directly related to the environment or through health and safety restrictions.
Read also: How To Drive With A Bad Catalytic Converter
What Does A Catalytic Converter Do?
By using chemical reactions, catalytic converters turn toxic substances in a car’s exhaust gasses including carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, and hydrocarbons into less dangerous molecules like carbon dioxide and water vapour. The interior of the ‘cat’ is normally lined with a honeycomb structure, which is then coated with a catalyst – a substance that reacts with the exhaust gases and changes their chemical structure.
Precious metals such as palladium, rhodium, and platinum are widely utilized as catalysts, and these metals have intrinsic value, making them worthwhile to salvage and recycle when the car is scrapped.
Why Do People Steal Catalytic Converter?
Catalytic converters, however, are a target for thieves because of the rich metals contained in it.
To achieve maximum efficiency, catalytic converters must operate at temperatures of up to 400 degrees. The original units were placed close to the car’s engine to obtain this ideal operating temperature, but this produced problems, therefore the cat was subsequently moved further down the exhaust system, away from the engine’s heat source.
The catalytic converter is now located underneath the automobile, near the exhaust outlet, making it accessible to thieves who can cut the entire unit out from underneath the car.
How Much Is A Catalytic Converter?
The cost of a catalytic converter is determined by the vehicle you drive. In the UK, the typical repair costs between £150 and £800, although certain high-end automobiles might cost over £1,000.
Catalytic Converter Theft And Ways To Prevent It
Because of the precious elements contained in Catalytic converter, it’s a target for thieves, so you’ll have to keep your car in a way that your ‘Cat’ will not be removed. Let’s look at some of the precaution you can take which will prevent it from theft:
Park To Avoid Access Underneath
Thieves must slide under the car and use cutting tools to separate the box from the pipes surrounding it in order to steal the parts. This means that where you park your car is important. Parking near walls or fences can help, but keep in mind that you don’t want to block pedestrian access, particularly for wheelchair users.
Mark Your Catalytic Converter Serial Number?
Some garages will carve a unique serial number into your catalytic converter so that it may be easily identified in the event that it is stolen. You’ll also receive a window sticker indicating that your catalytic converter has been marked, which will deter criminals from targeting your vehicle.
Weld The Bolts
If your catalytic converter is fastened or bolted, you can request that the bolts be welded to make removal more difficult.
Devices that lock in around the converter can be purchased to make it more difficult to remove. Toyota has developed its own device, known as a Catloc. The Catloc has over 45 unique fitments, so it should work with a wide range of models. The Catloc is priced between £200 and £250 (depending on model), and includes VAT and installation by a Toyota dealer. While this isn’t a cheap solution, replacing a catalytic converter, including installation, can cost well over £1000. Hybrid vehicles (such as the Toyota Prius), which contain a larger amount of precious metals, are especially vulnerable. The Catloc does not ensure theft avoidance, but it does make it more difficult to remove the cat converter.
Installing surveillance cameras (CCTV, Ring Doorbell, etc.) appears to be a no-brainer, and it is. Unfortunately, if you do not park in your driveway, this will be far more difficult to accomplish. There are other choices for keeping an eye on your car while it’s parked, such as wildlife trail cameras, but if you can’t park off-street, it’s preferable to park in areas where CCTV filming is likely anyhow, such as well-lit, well-traveled streets. It’s never been easier to keep a watch on your car, with the cost of CCTV systems decreasing and installation becoming a simple job (requiring no specialized services). It’s worth thinking about for overall peace of mind, not only for catalytic converter theft.
Park In Bright Well Lit Areas
This is another one that has more to do with common sense and reducing the possibilities of committing a crime in general, rather than catalytic converter theft specifically. Thieves are generally opportunistic, and the equipment required to cut out a cat converter is very heavy-duty, but once a car has been targeted, thieves typically wait for an opportunity to strike because the theft only takes a few minutes. If you park in a well-lit place where people walk frequently, you’re less likely to return to find your catalytic converter has been pinched.
Set Up An Alarm
If you don’t have a car alarm and live in a location where cat converter thefts are on the rise (such as huge cities like London), it’s time to get one. The sound of the alarm should deter any would-be burglars.
How To Clean A Catalytic Converter
If you detect a noticeable drop in fuel economy or a rotten egg odor coming from your engine, you should clean the catalytic converter straight soon. On the market, there are numerous trustworthy catalytic converter cleaners. The top cleaners that are frequently suggested are listed below:
The Cataclean’s 16 oz. is one of the best products for cleaning your catalytic converter and oxygen sensors. The cleaner has a strong reputation for clearing numerous catalytic converter codes from your ECU, despite the fact that it is not cheap.
This is definitely your best bet if you need to take an emissions test and clean your catalytic converter and fuel system immediately.
CRC “Guaranteed to Pass” formula
CRC’s “Guaranteed to Pass” formula comes with a double money-back guarantee, demonstrating that the firm stands by their product. Carbon will be removed from your engine, catalytic converter, and fuel injectors with this solution. It’s been used to successfully treat a P0420 problem code on numerous occasions. It’s a good way to improve your chances of passing a smog test. Every 3,000 miles, it is suggested that you apply this product.
Because of its deodorizing characteristics, Solder-It is meant to reduce the terrible rotten egg smell from poisonous vapors in addition to being a cleaning. Add it to your gas tank when it’s roughly a quarter full and drive for around 50 miles before replenishing for best benefits. This product not only removes rotten egg odors, but it also cleans your kitty converter.
Oxicat is a German product that cleans the complete exhaust system by eliminating carbon deposits and soot. It cleans, restores performance, and even clears check engine codes such as “catalyst system efficiency below threshold” when used properly (follow the directions!). A cleaner, like any other, relies on the catalytic converter to maintain operating temperature while driving, thus if your cat is broken or cracked, it won’t help.
Clean the catalytic converter, exhaust system, fuel system, valves, and pistons with Hi-Gear. After using, you should notice an improvement in fuel economy and engine performance. It’s worth a go if you’re about to fail your emissions test, and many customers have stated that it cleared their emissions-related fault code without having to spend hundreds on new parts.
Sledgehammer Run-Rite Kit
Both a bottle of Fuel System Ultra Cleaner and a bottle of Rapid Induction Deposit (RID) cleaner are included in the Sledgehammer Run-Rite package to help clean your fuel and exhaust systems.
This is designed to remove any soot or carbon from the fuel system, particularly the catalytic converter. It is not recommended for beginners because the contents of RID must be placed directly into a vacuum line in order to release into the intake.
Sea Foam Motor Treatment
While the popular Sea Foam treatment does not clean your catalytic converter, it does address the issues that lead to the converter becoming blocked in the first place. Many people have reported that after employing the catalytic converter, trouble codes associated to it vanish. At the very least, your fuel injectors and combustion chamber will be thoroughly cleaned.
Lucas Fuel Treatment
Lucas Fuel Treatment, like Sea Foam, addresses the issues of a polluted fuel system, which is frequently the cause of a dirty catalytic converter. The engine will run cleaner and the converter will burn clean if those issues are addressed. You’ll need more than one treatment, but you’ll be getting to the source of the problem so it doesn’t happen again.