Will A Catalytic Converter Quiet Exhaust?
One common problem that any car owner could encounter is a noisy exhaust. In some cases, the sound may not be that loud. However, there are instances where the sound is loud enough to distract your driving. Whatever the degree of noise it produces, you should not ignore a noisy exhaust. But will a catalytic converter quiet exhaust?
Before we answer that, you should know that there are many reasons why your car’s exhaust could be noisy. It could be because there’s a leakage. Or, maybe your exhaust is just starting to get worn out. Perhaps, it’s your car’s catalytic converter starting that’s the problem.
This article shares some common reasons for noisy exhausts. Also, it examines if catalytic converters are effective in reducing exhaust noise.
Common Causes of Car Exhaust Noises
Here are some of the most common reasons why your car exhaust could be noisy.
- If the sound is coming from the engine – this could indicate that there’s a leakage in your engine. It could be a loose pipe connection or a bad gasket. Make sure to bring you car in for inspection.
- If the sound is near the center of the vehicle – this could simply be a hole in the exhaust pipe. This can easily be repaired. Furthermore, it could also mean a bad seal at the center resonator or catalytic converter.
- If the sound is coming from the rear – you could have leaky mufflers, or even a loose muffler connection. Close inspection is recommended.
- If there’s sputtering or backfiring sounds – this does not indicate an exhaust system problem. These sounds mean your car just needs a good tune up.
Most of the repairs won’t break the bank. However, one of the most expensive would probably be replacing the catalytic converter.
What Is A Catalytic Converter?
In 1975, the first catalytic converters were put into use. Catalytic converters (sometimes called “cat-cons” or “cats) are devices fitted in the exhaust system of a car. They’re those large, metal boxes attached on the underside of your car. It mainly helps to convert harmful pollutants such as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides, into harmless compounds. Because of this, catalytic converters are considered an essential part of a vehicle.
How Does A Catalytic Converter Work?
To better explain how catalytic converters work, let’s take a look at cars first.
Cars run on petroleum, which can be either diesel or gasoline. Petroleum is composed of hydrocarbons—molecules that are composed of hydrogen and carbon atoms. Petroleum doesn’t burn cleanly, given that gasoline alone contains 150 difference chemicals. This would naturally produce air pollutants, including the poisonous gas carbon monoxide.
Although these are pollutant gases, the atoms from its molecules are relatively harmless. The catalytic converter works by splitting these molecules up before it gets pumped out into the air we breathe. As the gases travel from the engine to the catalyst, a chemical reaction happens where the pollutant gases are broken up and gets converted into harmless gases.
What Happens Inside A Catalytic Converter?
Inside a catalytic converter is a network of honeycombs where the gas conversion takes place. Aside from the dense honeycombs, there are two different catalysts inside a catalytic converter.
The first part is where the process called reduction takes place. Here, nitrogen oxide becomes nitrogen and oxygen.
The second catalyst is where the process called oxidation occurs. This is where carbon monoxide becomes carbon dioxide. This is also where un-burned hydrocarbons inside the exhaust become water and carbon dioxide.
So Will A Catalytic Converter Quiet Exhaust?
According to a chart found in the book entitled “Air Pollution from Motor Vehicles: Standards and Technologies for Controlling Emissions,” a vehicle with no catalyst produces a lot of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxides, and nitrogen oxides. However, the amount goes significantly lower from vehicles that use catalytic converters.
Nonetheless, although catalytic converters reduce emissions, they do not eliminate these completely. Also, catalytic converters work better at high temperatures, around 300°C. Because of this, it’s a good idea to warm up your engine for 2-3 minutes first.
When it comes to reducing exhaust noise, the harmful pollutants become harmless gases by splitting their atoms, making them smaller. Hence, there is less chance of getting blockages inside the car’s exhaust, therefore reducing noise.
Will A Catalytic Converter Quiet Exhaust For Diesel Engines?
You will find catalytic converters mostly with gasoline engines, but this doesn’t mean that it won’t work for diesel engines. Instead of three-way catalysts, diesel engines use two-way oxidation catalysts and other catalysts specifically for diesel engines. In addition, the catalytic converters in diesel engines slightly reduce the amount of soot coming out of the emission.