Catalytic Converter

How Does A Catalytic Converter Help The Environment?

It’s no secret that catalytic converters play an important role in the overall efficiency of a car’s engine. But how do catalytic converters help the environment? Let’s take a closer look.

Catalytic converters are devices that help to convert exhaust emissions from internal combustion engines into less harmful substances. In particular, they help reduce carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides in exhaust gases. By doing so, catalytic converters make a significant contribution to air pollution prevention.

By having a catalytic converter in your car, you are not only helping to protect the environment, but you are also helping to improve your car’s fuel efficiency. In this article, we will dive into why this is the case. In addition, we will answer other frequently asked questions about catalytic converters, so read on!

How Does A Catalytic Converter Help The Environment?

A catalytic converter (also referred to as cats or cat-cons) is an exhaust emission control device.

It is the stainless steel box you might see in the exhaust system. The base consists of a ceramic or metallic mat. This protects it from shock and vibration.

Catalytic converters convert pollutants from the exhaust gas into less toxic substances. It does this by catalyzing a redox reaction.

A catalytic converter reduces the harmful emissions from the car’s exhaust. Furthermore, the catalyst (a substance that accelerates chemical reaction) turns the toxic gasses into safer ones like steam.

To understand how catalytic converters help the environment, you should understand the three most harmful emissions:


  • Hydrocarbons are a class of compounds. They are mainly composed of hydrogen and carbon. They are also the main oil, pesticide, and natural gas components.
  • Hydrocarbons emitted from cars can damage the environment. The following are some harmful effects of hydrocarbons:
  • Contribute to the greenhouse effect
  • Affect climate change
  • Deplete the ozone layer
  • Reduce the photosynthetic process in plants
  • Increase occurrences of cancer and respiratory problems in humans


  • Carbon monoxide is a colorless and harmful gas. It is produced by burning gasoline, wood, charcoal, natural gas, and other fuels. It’s also present in a vehicle’s exhaust.
  • The harmful effects of carbon monoxide are:
  • It affects the ozone’s troposphere
  • Poisonous to animals and humans.
  • Leads to heart attack and brain damage


  • Nitrogen dioxide is a gas that can cause inflammation of the airways. The negative effects of nitrogen on the environment include:
  • Damages vegetation, including leaf damage and reduced growth.
  • Leads to acid rain. Acid rain is any kind of precipitation with elevated levels of hydrogen ions (pH level).
  • Damages properties and plants. Also dangerous for humans and animals.
  • It is a component of smog. Smog is haze along with air pollutants such as smoke. Smog can cause heart and lung problems.
  • High concentrations of nitrogen dioxide could kill fish in the ocean.
  • If you breathe in nitrogen oxide from the car’s exhaust, it can cause lung problems.

What Process Takes Place In A Catalytic Converter That Helps The Environment?

The catalytic converter uses two types of catalysts. The reduction catalyst uses platinum (Pt) and rhodium (Rh) elements. This separates the molecules from each other. The reduction catalyst rips off the nitrogen molecules from the nitrogen oxides.

Finally, the result will be a safe gas. The oxidation catalyst uses platinum (Pt) and palladium (Pd) elements. This oxidizes the hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide.

Then, the hydrocarbons become water and oxygen. In addition, the carbon monoxide becomes carbon dioxide. The last stage of emission control comes from the oxygen sensor.

This piece is upstream from the catalytic converter. The sensor relays the amount of oxygen in the exhaust gasses. The last stage helps the overall engine efficiency.

This also allows the engine to provide enough oxygen to complete the oxidization process effectively.

Places with high vehicle density, such as urban areas, also have high air pollutants. Of course, pollution, especially in the air, is a serious problem.

This is because it comes from different sources, like smog. Furthermore, one of the most common causes is vehicle exhaust. You can address this by adding catalytic converters to your car’s exhaust.

Catalytic converters were invented to decrease harmful pollution. However, catalytic converters only reduce harmful gasses. Moreover, they do not remove it altogether. Also, catalytic converters work best in high temperatures.

This is ideal for gasoline engine vehicles. Diesel engine vehicles can use the two-way oxidization converter. This tackles both hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. In addition, nitrogen oxide could be managed by adding a filter inside the exhaust pipe.

The Benefits Of Buying A Catalytic Converter

As you can see, having a catalytic converter is a wise decision. It will help the car’s exhaust. Also, it helps decrease toxic gasses emitted into the environment. In some studies, catalytic converters decrease hydrocarbons by almost 87%. Carbon monoxide is also reduced by 85%. Finally, nitrous oxide emissions are decreased by 62%. These statistics apply to the life of the vehicle.

Things To Keep In Mind About Catalytic Converters

  • Catalytic converters help the environment by reducing pollutants that cause global and climate change.
  • You should check the converters regularly to ensure that it is working correctly.
  • Watch the changes in the car’s exhaust. Look for the exhaust pipe releasing smoke.
  • Don’t strip or remove the car’s catalytic converter. This could damage the exhaust. In addition, this can also damage the car itself.

What Are They Stealing From Catalytic Converters?

It’s not uncommon for thieves to steal catalytic converters. They can get a good price for them from scrap metal dealers. But what’s in them that makes them so valuable?

The main reason is that they contain platinum, palladium, and rhodium. These metals are rare and expensive. Therefore, they can be found in the converter’s honeycomb structure.

The thief will cut off the catalytic converter and sell it to a scrap metal dealer. The most common way to steal them is by jacking up the car and cutting it from the underside.

This is why many people weld the converter to the exhaust pipe. This makes it more difficult to remove. You can also buy security devices that wrap around the converter. These devices make it harder to cut through.

How Do You Keep Your Catalytic Converter From Being Stolen?

You can take measures to protect your catalytic converter. But the best way to avoid theft is to park in a well-lit, secure area. You should also have comprehensive insurance.

This will help you if your catalytic converter is stolen. The bottom line is that catalytic converters are important for your car and the environment. They help reduce harmful pollutants.

But they are also valuable to thieves. So, you should take measures to protect your converter. If you can’t, then make sure you have comprehensive insurance.

Does Removing the Catalytic Converter Increase Horsepower?

The reason car enthusiasts remove the catalytic converter is for two reasons. The first reason is that it’s a way to increase horsepower. The second reason is that it’s a way to decrease back pressure.

The main reason people think removing the catalytic converter will increase horsepower is that it decreases the weight of the car. But this only applies to racers. The weight difference is only about 15 pounds.

So, the weight difference is negligible if you’re not a racer. The other reason people think removing the converter will increase horsepower is that it decreases back pressure.

What Are The Signs of a Bad Catalytic Converter?

It is important to have a healthy catalytic converter. Otherwise, it can cause all sorts of problems. The most common sign of a bad catalytic converter is the Check Engine light.

Other signs include a decrease in fuel efficiency, engine misfires, and a rotten egg smell coming from the exhaust. If you notice any of these signs, then you should take your car to a mechanic.

In addition, black exhaust smoke is another sign of a problem. This is because the converter isn’t able to properly convert the pollutants in the exhaust.

Lastly, a rattling noise can also indicate a problem. This is because the converter’s honeycomb structure can break over time.

What Happens If You Don’t Have a Catalytic Converter?

If you don’t have a catalytic converter, then your car will produce more pollutants. This is because the converter helps to reduce harmful emissions.

Without it, your car will produce more carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and hydrocarbons. These pollutants can cause all sorts of health problems. In addition, they can also contribute to climate change.

So, it’s important to have a catalytic converter. If yours is stolen or damaged, you should replace it as soon as possible.

How Much is a Catalytic Converter?

The price of a new catalytic converter can range from $800-$1,200. However, the cost of a catalytic depends on a few factors. The first is the make and model of your car. The second is whether you buy a new or used converter.

The third is the quality of the converter. You can find cheap converters made with lower-quality metals. Or, you can invest in a more expensive converter made with platinum, palladium, and rhodium.

The fourth factor is the type of converter. Again, there are two main types: OEM and aftermarket. OEM converters are made by the same company that made your car.

Third-party companies make aftermarket converters. In general, aftermarket converters are less expensive than OEM converters. But they may not be as high quality.

The fifth factor is the warranty. Some companies offer warranties of up to 10 years. Others only offer a few months. If you can, get a converter with a long warranty.

This will ensure that you’re covered if something goes wrong.

Conclusion – How Does A Catalytic Converter Help The Environment

Catalytic converters play such a crucial role in minimizing the impact of emissions on the environment that it is illegal to drive a car without a catalytic converter in some countries.

Made it to the end? Here are other articles you might enjoy:

Does A Catalytic Converter Improve Performance?

Will A Catalytic Converter Quiet Exhaust?

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