A defective or worn “cat” is a serious problem for each car owner. What is the best solution?
A cat or, in fact a catalytic converter, is the basic component of an exhaust system and it has been compulsory for many years. The main purpose of the catalytic converter is to remove noxious substances from the exhaust gas. This is achieved with the use of noble metals such as platinum, rhodium or palladium which are the components of the converter core and react with the exhaust gas coming out of the engine combustion chamber. The effect of the reaction is a considerable reduction of the content of noxious substances in the exhaust gas. As regards the structure the converter interior resembles a honeycomb and is formed of channels. If viewed from the outside the “cat” looks like
a metal can. Catalytic converters can be divided into two types according to the material they are made of: metal converters equipped with a metal block and ceramic converters with a ceramic block. In older car types the catalytic converters were located under the car floor plate while the location was changed in the latest models with the converter being located directly downstream the exhaust manifold.
Why? As the current standards are very stringent the manufacturers look for the maximisation of the catalytic converter effectiveness. With the converter located next to the exhaust manifold the temperature of the exhaust gas entering the converter is much higher and, consequently, the operation of the converter results in more effective removal of pollutants from the exhaust gas.
Symptoms of converter failure
The most usual symptom of defective or worn catalytic converter is the poor engine performance and a characteristic sound coming out of the catalytic converter. Additionally, the malfunctioning is quite often indicated with the CHECK ENGINE light on the vehicle dashboard. In such a case you have no choice but to visit a professional exhaust system repair shop.
Is reconditioning of a catalytic converter a good idea?
Unfortunately, replacement of the converter with a new one dedicated for the specific car model involves expenditures reaching several thousand zloty. An alternative solution is to have the converter reconditioned. Before you do it however, you have to realize that if the converter is damaged mechanically the repair shop may refuse to carry out the reconditioning. In such a case the only choice is to find a proper catalytic converter collection point and sell the damaged converter. If no signs of mechanical damage are visible nothing stands in the way of having the converter reconditioned. Remember that when selecting a company to recondition the converter the price should not be the only selection criterion and what should also be considered is the opinion of other customers and the workmanship warranty. The reconditioning is relatively simple and it comprises the following steps: opening of the converter, replacement of the core (ceramic or metal according to the design) and closing the converter back. Remember that the closing process involves welding of the converter housing. The price of a regeneration is approximately 50% lower of that to be paid for the purchase of a new dedicated catalytic converter.