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Catalytic converters explained

18th March 2022

Catalytic converters are essential for removing harmful gasses from your car’s exhausts and are on every car. The precious metals in a catalytic converter have made them a target for theft in recent years, so if this happens, it can be quite costly to replace. This guide will tell you everything you need to know about catalytic converters!

What does a catalytic converter do?

Catalytic converters take the damaging gasses, such as carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, and other hydrocarbons and turn them into less harmful elements like water vapour and carbon dioxide. The interior of a converter is designed to mimic the honeycomb structure and contains precious metals such as platinum, rhodium, and palladium. These metals are of high value which unfortunately makes the converter a target for thieves.

The catalytic converter is usually placed underneath the car near the exhaust outlet – this is because it needs to work at high temperatures of up to 400 degrees to reach maximum efficiency.

Types of catalytic converters

  • Two-way converters – this type of converter turns carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide and water.
  • Three-way converters – this works as a regular two-way converter and removes emissions of nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide.
  • Diesel catalytic converters – these are converters that have been adapted specifically for diesel cars. This converter contains extra components such as Diesel Particulate Filters to trap soot and promote gas recirculation.

Catalytic converter theft

Catalytic converters contain a fair number of precious metals such as platinum, rhodium, and palladium. Often, thieves will steal the convertors and recycle these precious metals and the cost of replacing them can cost motorists around £2000. However, there are steps you can take to protect your vehicle:

  • Park your car in a secure garage or driveway at night. If this isn’t an option – seek a busy, well-lit public area to park.
  •  Ask your garage to install anti-theft devices for your catalytic converter
  • Get your cars VIN number etched into the converter

Here at Merityre, we offer free exhaust checks our team are always on hand to make any repairs or replacements you may need. Feel free to visit your local garage or contact us today!