Experts Spoke About the Role of the Catalyst in the Car

The catalytic converter is a crucial component of any automobile, helping to preserve the environment by neutralizing toxic emissions. However, defects in the emission control device can lead to a range of problems for vehicle owners.

The representative from AutoCatalystMarket, Andrey Levashenk, provided more insight into this topic. Their website offers the opportunity to recycle catalytic converters by finding buyers for used devices. The catalog showcases the selling prices for interested individuals.

Key features

This element is located near the vehicle’s exhaust manifold. When exhaust gases enter the converter, they cool down and get purified from harmful substances before being released into the muffler. The device’s operation involves chemical reactions that neutralize harmful carbon emissions.

The main element of the catalytic consists of a large ceramic or metallic block with honeycomb-like cells on its walls. They are sheathed. This cocoon consists of the following materials:

  • Platinum;
  • Palladium;
  • Iridium and rhodium.

The contact of harmful chemical compounds with this surface aids in the rapid neutralization of toxic elements. Palladium and platinum act as oxidizers, speeding up the combustion of hydrocarbons. The main active element also has an additional layer of thermal insulation.

The engine’s power is impacted by harmful compounds, which the emission control device is responsible for neutralizing. The programs in the vehicle use data from sensors at the device’s input and output to optimize the mixtures that were obtained.

Detecting malfunction

The average lifespan of a emission control device is typically equal to the vehicle’s service life. However, external factors often cause it to fail much sooner. It does not break down without a specific reason. Often, malfunctioning ignition systems or engine wear render the converter ineffective.

Signs of a Malfunctioning emission control device:

  • Decreased engine power. The most obvious sign that the converter is not working correctly is a slow acceleration of the vehicle. The engine operates unstably and frequently overheats. This occurs because the emission control device’s throughput capacity diminishes. As the honeycomb-like cells deteriorate, the openings for exhaust gases gradually become blocked. If the problem is not addressed promptly, the vehicle may stall, and fuel consumption will increase.
  • Rattling noise from under the car. This indicates that the active part of the catalytic converter is starting to disintegrate, breaking into several pieces. This is a concerning sign, as the ceramic fragments will impact the main element’s housing, producing a loud noise under the vehicle. The noise becomes even louder at higher RPMs.
  • Low exhaust gas pressure. When exhaust valves are working, you can hear pulsations. However, if there is a smooth flow of exhaust gases at idle, it suggests the emission control device is clogged.
  • Dashboard error warning. This is the most evident sign of a catalytic converter malfunction. In such cases, diagnostics are required. Specialists will check the error code and help resolve the issues. If the main vehicle system detects a problem through the sensors, it will alert the driver and switch the engine control system to emergency mode.

Catalytic breakdown does not occur instantly; it happens gradually. If it operates without any defects, it can last a long time. If the device becomes unusable, immediate ignition system repair and a complete vehicle diagnostics are necessary. 

If the ignition system malfunctions, the fuel will not burn completely and will enter the exhaust system. The overheated emission control device will burn an excessive amount of hydrocarbons and soon become inoperable.