What is a Catalytic Converter, and What Does it Do?

A Quick Overview of the Catalytic Converter

Your car’s exhaust system contains several components that work together to reduce emissions, muffle engine noise, and a variety of other things. The catalytic converter is one of the most important components of the entire process. Still, few understand what a catalytic converter does and how it pertains to the check engine light coming on. Learn more about what a catalytic converter is, what it does, and how to tell if yours needs to be serviced or replaced below.

If your car's check engine light has come on and you're not sure what to do, stop by Austin's Pro Max in Puyallup, Washington, today to have it looked at to prevent major auto repairs in the future.

A Part With a Purpose

Every vehicle must have a catalytic converter in the emissions system to protect the environment and prevent you and your passengers from being exposed to poisonous gases. So, what is the purpose of a catalytic converter?

Carbon monoxide is converted to carbon dioxide, hydrocarbons to carbon dioxide, and water and nitrogen oxides to nitrogen and oxygen by your catalytic converter. Your catalytic converter converts about 90% of emissions on average, but several factors can alter the catalytic converter’s efficiency. Because catalytic converters are less efficient at converting cooler temperature emissions, using diesel fuel or driving short distances may reduce your converter's efficiency. As your car's internal combustion engine accelerates, it produces three main gases as a byproduct:

  1. Nitrogen Oxide
  2. Carbon Monoxide
  3. Hydrocarbons

Every one of these gases is hazardous to your health and the environment. If there is an issue with the catalytic converter not doing what it was designed to, the check engine light will illuminate to inform you of such.

Have Your Check Engine Light Inspected Today

At Austin's Pro Max, we strive to provide our customers with professionally certified auto repair services in Puyallup, Washington. If your car, truck, or SUV's check engine light has turned on, and you're concerned about what the issue may be, schedule an appointment with us today to have one of our mechanics inspect it and get you back on the road in no time.

Written by Austin's Pro Max

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