What you should know about your catalytic converter

January 13th, 2021 by

Have you ever had an issue with your catalytic converter? If you’re not familiar with the part, it honestly sounds like something you’d find on a spaceship. However, it does play a critical part in your vehicle’s performance AND the world around it. Toyota of Orlando is here to explain what a catalytic converter is, why it’s important, and how to troubleshoot it.

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What is a catalytic converter and why does it matter?

A catalytic converter is – in essence – the part of your car that turns harmful emissions into less harmful emissions. In an internal combustion engine, the exhaust gas contains toxic gases and pollution. Your catalytic converter reduces these harmful substances into less dangerous emissions through a chemical reaction – a redox reaction, to be specific, which basically means it changes the states of the atoms. (Science.)  Obviously, this part plays a crucial role in performance to both keep you safe and also reduce harmful emissions into the air.

Here’s a little bit of history for you – catalytic converters were first introduced designed in France in the late 19th century but didn’t become commonplace on vehicles until the 1970s. In 1975 the US E.P.A. stepped up its emissions regulations and catalytic converters became a requirement on all gasoline-powered cars, as well as on vehicles like motorcycles, buses, forklifts, generators, trains, ships, and mining equipment. Why? To keep the air cleaner and freer of pollutants and toxic gases.

So what happens if this critical part stops working or gets stolen? (Yup, believe it or not, it’s a popular car part to steal because it often contains precious metals and is located on the exterior of the car, so it’s easy to grab.) Basically, your car can’t do its job of reducing harmful emissions anymore, putting you and everyone around you at risk. Not only that, it can affect your engine and over time, lead to an engine shutdown. While they usually last 10+ years, they can experience issues due to becoming clogged (like if there’s a coolant or oil leak in the engine), if they overheat because of excess unburned gas, or if they’re damaged because you ran over road debris or a curb.

How to troubleshoot this car part

How do you know if your catalytic converter is in need of repairs? Here are some surefire signs you need to visit Toyota of Orlando:

  • Your car isn’t accelerating as quickly as it usually does
  • Your exhaust smoke is darker or black
  • There’s a lot of heat coming from under your car
  • The engine seems sluggish
  • You smell sulfur or rotten eggs coming from the vehicle

If you notice any of these signs or have concerns in general about this important car part, call Toyota of Orlando! Our Toyota service techs can inspect your car from bumper to bumper and help you troubleshoot any issues or developing issues. You can reach us seven days a week at (407) 298-4500, or stop by and see us in person at 3575 Vineland Road, just off I-4 across from the Millenia Mall.


Posted in Toyota Service