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What Is The Purpose Of A Catalytic Converter?

What Is The Purpose Of A Catalytic Converter?

A catalytic converter serves an important role in your vehicle. The catalytic converter is responsible for limiting exhaust emissions. Federal and state vehicle emissions and fuel economy standards are set by three agencies: the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the California Air Resources Board (CARB). In this blog, we will discuss how the catalytic converter, along with other vehicle components, works towards controlling the toxic emission output from your vehicle.

Emissions Control

catalytic converter

There are a few components within the average vehicle that works to control emission output. The O2/AF sensor sends feedback to the computer within the engine letting the vehicle know if any adjustments need to be made with the air-fuel ratio. In addition, the sensor could signal an alert if the emission output is too excessive. Another component that helps control the emission output is the exhaust gas recirculation. This EGR valve helps maintain the temperature of the combustion chamber reducing nitrogen oxide from being formed. This valve dilutes the air-fuel ratio allowing the nitrogen oxide to continue towards the catalytic converter at an acceptable limit. 

Catalytic Converter Defense

The catalytic converter acts as the final defense between your engine exhaust and the air we breathe. It does this by activating chemical reactions using rare earth elements such as platinum, palladium and rhodium to convert roughly 90% of the toxic emissions into less harmful gases.  Since these essential precious metals are located inside the converter and are considered “rare,” there is a high demand for recycling catalytic converters. Recycling these precious metals from components which already contain them is much more cost-effective than mining them from the earth.  

It is important that we understand the purpose of the catalytic converter as well as the other components working to make the air breathable. A well-maintained catalytic converter not only combats toxic emission output but also improves the efficiency of your car, directly affecting its overall health and performance.



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