3 Things You May Not Know About Catalytic Converters

Unless it starts causing problems, you likely do not give the catalytic converter under your car much thought. But this essential part of your vehicle's emission system actually acts as an interesting talking point due to the legal and functional issues surrounding this component. Here are three things you never thought you wanted to know about catalytic converters.  

You Cannot Buy And Install Used Converters

In many locations, you cannot legally buy and install a used catalytic converter on your vehicle once your stock one goes bad. Therefore, you can abandon hope of saving money on your repairs by finding a catalytic converter at the junkyard. When cars arrive at the junkyard, the techs tend to slice right through the downpipe and remove the back exhaust to comply with this law. If you have a used converter, you cannot sell it to another party for use on their vehicle either. You can, however, sell it to a recycling facility as scrap.  

Thieves Frequently Target These Parts

The high scrap price of catalytic converters has captured the attention of thieves looking to make a quick buck. Thieves often target these converters since they are easily removed with a battery powered, electric handsaw in a short span of time. Since trucks, sports utility vehicles and crossovers provide the easiest access to this pricey part, they are targeted most often. Although thieves will usually go around neighborhoods nabbing converters in the cloak of night, it is not unheard of to have this part stolen while parked at the mall, movie theater or even your workplace.

Fluid Contamination Renders Them Useless

The material inside catalytic converters are susceptible to damage from fluid contamination. If your engine is running poorly, or your internal seals are shot, coolant, oil or gas may leak into the exhaust system through the downpipe. When these fluids touch the internal components of the converter, they start to break down those materials and impede their ability to adequately reduce the release of harmful gases into the atmosphere.

Replacing Your Catalytic Converter

If your catalytic converter starts to cause problems, head into the shop to have the issue diagnosed and repaired. Your mechanic will check your emissions readings to determine if the converter is properly altering the exhaust gases to mitigate their damaging effect on the environment. If your mechanic notices a decrease in efficiency, or any damage to the internal structure of the catalytic converter, you will likely need to have this vital component replaced outright with a brand new part. 

For more information or if you need help with repairs, contact an auto shop that specializes in catalytic converters, such as Country Club Tire & Muffler.