What is a Catalytic Converter, and Why is it Important?

If you don’t know what a catalytic converter is, no worries, it’s not something that many auto owners are aware of, nor is there a particular justification as to why catalytic converters should be at the forefront of every motorist’s mind. However, in the event yours breaks down or starts performing abnormally and causes your check engine light to illuminate, it is good to have a basic understanding of how this component works.

In this article, we will break down everything you need to know about your vehicle’s catalytic converters and why it’s vital to your vehicle’s everyday use.

If your check engine light has suddenly turned on and you aren’t sure why, schedule an appointment to come see us at Total Performance Inc. in Tacoma, Washington, today to have our team of certified mechanics take a look.

How Does a Catalytic Converter Work? 

Catalytic converters are used to transform hazardous substances in a vehicle’s exhaust fumes such as carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, and hydrocarbons into less harmful substances such as carbon dioxide and water vapor through a set of chemical reactions.

As the exhaust fumes pass through the catalytic converter, there are two events that take place.

The first of the two events to occur is a form of reduction. This process uses metal catalysts to eliminate toxic nitrogen oxides by separating molecules from nitrogen to oxygen. The nitrogen is then trapped inside the catalytic converter while the oxygen is passing through. Next, the second event that takes place is a form of oxidation. This process reduces unburned hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide by oxidizing them through a metal catalyst.

Essentially, the catalytic converter filters and burns toxic by-products in the exhaust system. While the primary purpose of a catalytic converter is to minimize harmful emissions, it also increases the performance of your vehicle, and a well-maintained car can prolong the life of your catalytic converter, thus reducing the chance of your check engine light turning on and reducing the risk of a costly catalytic converter repair or replacement.

Check Engine Light Diagnostic Services in Tacoma, Washington

If your check engine light has suddenly turned on and you aren’t sure why having an auto repair shop that you trust can make the auto repair process a much easier experience. At Total Performance Inc., we aim to provide quality engine diagnostics to all of our customers in Tacoma, Washington, and the neighboring communities to ensure that their vehicles work as they should. If your car is in need of maintenance or repair, come and see us today.

Written by Total Performance

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