A catalytic converter (AKA cat converter) is an emissions device fitted to the the exhaust system of a vehicle that converts toxic pollutants in exhaust gases to less toxins pollutants by catalysing a redox reaction.
The device contains a "honeycomb" like, usually ceramic substrate, containing a mix of precious metals which cause the reaction.
With the introduction of Manifold Catalytic Converters (AKA Mani-Cats) on some vehicles, unsuspecting customers have been bombarded by the high cost of replacing the whole unit (manifold and cat) in the event of a cat substrate breakdown. Not a cheap exercise and usually unnecessary when you consider that a standard catalytic converter can mostly be replaced by a generic universal model.
Unfortunately, when a catalytic converter fails, it can lead to a whole raft of issues.
- Sluggish performance: The honeycomb substrate can breakdown in such a way that it cracks and lodges awkwardly, therefore restricting exhaust flow inevitably leading to complete vehicle breakdown.
- Rattling: The substrate breaksdown into small pieces causing a rattling sound and moving into other areas like your main muffler.
- Engine Fault Codes: Most commonly in later models where a cat lies between dual 'oxygen sensors'. The computer management of the vehicle detects that there is flow rate issue, therefore throwing a fault code usually resulting in the car going into 'limp' mode. This particular issue can be costly to diagnose at its usually detected as a generic engine management issue.
Catalytic converter issues are best managed by the specialists at a local exhaust centre. They can be difficult to diagnose and therefore lead to needless works before coming to the final conclusion that the part needs to be changed.
A quick visit to your local exhaust can potentially save you thousands on replacement. In most cases, an experienced team can separate this converter manually and replace it with a generic 'aftermarket' option.
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