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What Does A Catalytic Converter Do?
Due to a rise in pollution over the last several decades, efforts have been made to cut down on excessive emissions from automobiles. A catalytic converter is the key feature that helps control toxic fumes by breaking down carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide into carbon dioxide, oxygen or water. In other words, it takes harmful gases and makes them harmless, and the car becomes environmentally friendly to drive. There are two types of catalytic converters, and the type you use will depend on the type of vehicle you drive.
At one point in time, the two-way converter was the only type that existed. As the name suggests, it had two primary functions. It would turn carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide and convert unburned fuel to carbon dioxide and water. Because it would do nothing for nitrogen oxides, a new type of catalytic converter was invented that would break down those oxides into nitrogen and oxygen. It was called the three-way converter.
Two-way converters are not completely obsolete, however. Automobiles that run on diesel fuel still use the two-way catalytic converter. To compensate for the lack of nitrogen oxide control, diesel car manufacturers introduced a design feature known as selective catalytic reduction (SCR). This system uses ammonia to break down the nitrogen oxides into nitrogen. Because this problem is taken care of within the car’s design, a two-way converter is sufficient to reduce emissions and toxic gases.
Whichever type of converter you have, you should always be on the alert if it begins to malfunction. A catalytic converter can become clogged, and overtime this will result in excess pressure in the exhaust. That pressure can cause your engine to fail entirely. To prevent this, keep an eye on your fuel economy. If your gas mileage suddenly decreases dramatically, it could be a malfunctioning catalytic converter. More alarming symptoms include frequent engine stalling, or a lack of acceleration when pressing the gas pedal.
Currently just over half of the states in the U.S. require some form of emissions testing on a routine basis. Failing your emissions test is another sign that your catalytic converter is malfunctioning.
Sometimes the problem isn’t the converter itself, but rather a deeper problem in the way the car is operating. In this case, a new converter would simply succumb to the same fate. Because the catalytic converter works as part of your exhaust system, it’s important to keep it in top condition, not only for your own safety, but for the health of the environment as well.
For more information on catalytic converters in Pacific Beach visit this website.
Justin is a certified car nut and writes about all car topics. He has a special interest in performance parts, wheels and rims. Share his enthusiasm at auto care blog.
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