Catalytic Converters and Your Vehicle's Emission System

Matthew Keegan

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Before 1975 no U. S. vehicle came equipped with a catalytic converter. Changes in environmental policy - started with the formation of the Environmental Protection Agency [EPA] by the Nixon Administration – soon changed all of that. Now, with very few exceptions, all vehicles must come outfitted with a catalytic converter. So, what does a catalytic converter do exactly? Good question…we will answer that query in this article.

When your engine burns fuel it produces gases that are harmful to the environment. If not handled properly, these same gases will exit through your vehicle’s exhaust and work to do harm on the environment. The EPA, which was established in 1970, mandated that starting in 1975 vehicles were to come equipped with an apparatus to reduce dangerous emissions. The particular piece of equipment created to accomplish this task was the catalytic converter.

The catalytic converter in your vehicle is installed in the exhaust line between the exhaust manifold and the muffler. Pellets inside the converter work to transform detrimental gases into harmless gases before they exit the tailpipe and go out into the open air. As you might guess, a properly functioning catalytic converter is essential toward preserving air quality standards.

There are four telltale signs that indicate a catalytic converter will soon fail:

  • Rusted or broken converter body or end tubes.

  • Bits of substrate in other sections of the exhaust system.

  • No rattle detected in a pellitized converter (If the converter doesn't rattle, the pellets may have melted together or fallen out).

  • A rattle detected in a monolithic converter (A rattle in this kind of converter indicates the substrate has separated. )

    If you see evidence of any of these signs, then you must replace your catalytic converter right away. If you don’t, you risk receiving a ticket from a police officer and you may automatically fail your next motor vehicle inspection.

    You can install a new catalytic converter yourself and save money on parts and labor. Shop online for the best deals going.

    Matt Keegan is a contributing writer for the Auto Parts Warehouse, a supplier of high quality replacement parts and accessories for most vehicles on North American roads. Shop for a catalytic converter including Ford converter or a VW Beetle converter today.

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