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Catalytic Converters

Visit the technician specialists at the San Luis Obispo Wayne's Tire and Auto Repair for muffler, exhaust and catalytic converter expertise.


What is a Catalytic Converter?

Closely resembling a muffler in appearance, the catalytic converter is located in the exhaust system and has an outer shell made of stainless steel. The similarity with a muffler ends there as catalytic converters contain a catalyst made from a noble metal such as platinum, palladium or rhodium. A catalyst is defined as anything that induces or accelerates a change. At least one catalytic converter has been used on cars since 1975; today, cars may have two or more depending on the engine configuration and manufacturer.

​Purpose of Catalytic Converter

Using its internal catalyst, a catalytic converter's job is to greatly reduce the level of harmful emissions in a car's exhaust. Namely, these are carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and oxides of nitrogen. All of these emissions are serious health and environmental hazards, plus they contribute to the formation of photochemical smog. A catalytic converter changes these poisonous gases to harmless carbon dioxide, nitrogen, oxygen, and water.

Maintenance Tips/Suggestions

Catalytic converters do not require maintenance of their own, but their long-term livelihood depends on proper care and maintenance of your vehicle. As an example, if your vehicle begins to run rough, produces smoke from the tailpipe, or the SERVICE ENGINE SOON or CHECK ENGINE light appears, have it checked out immediately by a professional technician. This is especially true if the SERVICE ENGINE SOON or CHECK ENGINE flashes rather than being steadily lit. Neglecting these warning signs can cause expensive damage to the converter, requiring replacement.