Keeping your car in good condition, having it serviced regularly, and maintaining it to the best of your ability at home will extend the life of your vehicle and save you fuel and repair costs in the long run. Your exhaust is an integral part of your car, and while it can often be overlooked as a priority area for maintaining service, taking care of your exhaust system and catalytic converter can be a real money saver.
The catalytic converter (CAT) is one of the most important parts of your vehicle’s exhaust system and helps minimize your car’s impact on the environment. A catalytic converter reduced the pollutants released into the atmosphere when your car’s engine is running. But the CAT can only function properly when there is a specific air-to-fuel ratio. If there are failures in the engine management system or the fuel supply, the catalytic converter may not function properly or may be damaged.
The CAT sits under the car and is therefore susceptible to bumps and knocks that can affect its efficiency as well. Try to avoid braking the car or going too fast over the speed bumps: approach obstacles and potholes at a slight angle so that you do not straddle them and therefore put the underside of your car at risk.
A catalytic converter can be expensive to replace or repair, so it’s worth taking care of! There are several things you can do to keep your CAT running efficiently and avoid costly repairs:
- Have your car serviced regularly, in an authorized and reliable workshop.
- Always use unleaded fuel with a catalytic converter – a single tank of leaded fuel can completely disable a CAT!
- Avoid running out of fuel.
- Grounding your vehicle can hit the catalytic converter and even break the ceramic monolith (a crucial part of the conversion process).
- Never start a car that has a CAT installed. Instead, use jump cables.
You can also get a ‘Green MOT’, which analyzes the performance of the CAT as part of its MOT emissions test. If there is a problem with your catalytic converter, your local shop will be able to repair or replace a faulty unit. A standard ceramic model will generally have a one-year warranty, while an unbreakable metal monolith will give you a three-year warranty (and is more robust than the ceramic version).
Problems with your exhaust system can end up being costly, but with careful driving, regular car service, and an experienced exhaust technician, you can extend the life of your exhaust and catalytic converter and save money.