Some Common Problems That Can Develop With Your Car's Catalytic Converter


If you care about the environment, you should care about the catalytic converter in your car. The catalytic converter's job is to clean the car fumes generated from the engine's combustion process. By the time the fumes exit out the tailgate of your car, they have been cleansed of some of the more harmful noxious chemicals. Following are some common problems that can develop with the converter:

How The Catalytic Converter Works

The exhaust system draws gasses from the engine and directs them through the exhaust pipes underneath the car and out the tailgate. On the way, the fumes travel through the catalytic converter. The converter is an expanded tube or container which is filled with a ceramic honeycomb structure coated with compounds that react chemically with the fumes.

By the time the fumes exit the catalytic converter, the more harmful chemicals have been converted into less toxic compounds such as nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor.

Some Common Catalytic Converter Problems

Overheating is one problem that the converter might face, and you will soon be aware that something is wrong as the check engine light comes on. Often this is caused by a failing oxygen sensor. Oxygen sensors are usually located adjacent to the catalytic converter. These sensors measure the quantity of oxygen in the exhaust system, and this information is used to achieve the correct air to fuel mix in the cylinder heads of the engine for peak performance.

If the oxygen sensors fail, too much fuel can enter the cylinder heads during the combustion process, and this can cause the catalytic converter to overheat. An incorrect fuel mix can also, over time, clog the catalytic converter.

Another common problem is that the catalytic converter becomes contaminated so that the honeycomb structure no longer traps harmful chemicals. This can happen if coolant or oil leaks into the engine and gets burned during the combustion process. Excessive particles then enter the exhaust system and contaminate the catalytic converter.

Also, the ceramic honeycomb structure is relatively brittle, and impact from foreign objects on the road or an accident can cause it to fracture.

The catalytic converter is the first line of defense against dangerous emissions that contribute to global warming. Problems with the catalytic converter can also affect your car's performance and increase fuel usage. Routine maintenance inspections by your mechanic can help prevent major issues developing and keep your car running at its optimum.


18 August 2015

Car servicing for women

It's easy to get overlooked when you head into get your car serviced if you are a woman. I have found the trick to getting the auto repairers to take me seriously is to do some research beforehand and look at what the log book says they need to replace this service. I wish I had started doing it earlier because it's also helping me trouble shoot repair issues and I'm saving myself a lot of time and stress this way. I'm keeping track of everything I have learned on this blog so I can share it with other new drivers and help them understand their auto service requirements as well.