Four things you should know about your catalytic converter

January 13th, 2021 by

The catalytic converter – if you’re not overly familiar with what goes on under the hood of your car – can sound like a made-up part straight from Star Trek. However, this car part actually plays a critical role in your car’s performance and keeps you, your vehicle, and everyone around you safe. Toyota of Clermont is here to explain the catalytic converter and also give you tips on how to troubleshoot it in case you run into any problems.

catalytic converter

What is the catalytic converter and why is it critical to performance?

First, let’s discuss what a catalytic converter is. This important car part actually takes the toxic gases and pollutants in your car exhaust and converts them into less harmful emissions. It does so via a redox reaction – basically a chemical reaction that alters the atoms – and ensures that you’re not releasing said toxic pollutants into the air. Obviously, it’s a very important part of your car’s performance. But did you know it’s actually illegal to drive a car without one?

Here’s a little backstory. Catalytic converters were first designed in France way back at the end of the 19th century, but they weren’t introduced to the mainstream automotive market until the 1970s. In the 70s, the U.S. E.P.A. became more cognizant about emissions and decided that from 1975 on, catalytic converters would be required on all gasoline-powered vehicles in the United States. And not only that, but they would also become mandatory on buses, ships, trains, forklifts, motorcycles, mining equipment, and generators.

Not-so-fun fact – catalytic converters are actually stolen off of cars pretty frequently. They’re on the exterior of the vehicle, which makes them easy to snag, and they contain precious metals that thieves can sell for profit. Also, they do face issues from time to time. They can overheat if you’re having issues with excess unburned gas (which could happen due to a bad oxygen sensor, etc.) or clog if you have a coolant or oil leak inside your engine. And whether your catalytic converter gets stolen or dies, you’ve got a problem on your hands. Without this part, your vehicle not only releases toxic emissions into the air but can also negatively affect your engine to the point of it dying altogether. That’s why it’s important to be able to troubleshoot it and recognize when something is wrong.

Learn how to troubleshoot your catalytic converter for problems

Here are some giveaway signs that your catalytic converter is in need of some attention from our Clermont auto service specialists:

  • Your exhaust smoke is dark
  • Your engine seems like it’s lagging or sluggish
  • Your car won’t accelerate properly
  • You smell rotten eggs or sulfur when you operate the car
  • There’s excess heat coming from under the car

If you notice these signs, you should absolutely schedule an appointment at Toyota of Clermont to let our techs take a look at it. You can reach us seven days a week at (352) 404-7001, or stop by! Our Clermont Toyota service center is conveniently located at 16851 State Road 50, just west of the Florida Turnpike.


Posted in Toyota Service