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What is a catalyst and why it can pose a threat for the car engine.

What is a catalyst and why it can pose a threat for the car engine. on USautoportal (img 1)

A catalyst converter is included in the exhaust system and is positioned in close proximity to the exhaust manifold of the vehicle. The heated exhaust comes to the exhaust manifold from the ICE collector, and after that, it becomes significantly slowed down, cooled and cleaned of harmful substances and enteres the resonator and in the muffler.

A principle of operation of the device is based on chemical reactions that neutralize harmful emissions of nitric, carbon oxides and all kinds of hydrocarbon groups. The main component of the catalyst is made in the form of a massive ceramic or metal unit with small honeycombs, on the walls of which precious metals (an alloy of iridium and platinum, as well as rhodium and palladium) are put. At the time of contact with chemically active surfaces, harmful compounds are burned and removed from the exhaust pipe in the form of harmless N2 and CO2. Platinum and palladium are used in the device as oxidants and greatly accelerate the combustion of hydrocarbons. The active component is placed in a metal enclosure and is provided with a thermal insulation blanket.

Signs of a malfunction
What is a catalyst and why it can pose a threat for the car engine. on USautoportal (img 2)

The life of an expensive catalyst is usually approximately equal to the life of a car, but it often breaks and can bring the engine along. It is important to remember that the catalyst converter does not fail for no reason. Its failure is a sign of incorrect operation of the ignition system, incomplete combustion of the mixture in the cylinders, severe wear of the engine, or prolonged use of poor-quality fuel.


There are several specific symptoms which will help you to understand that your catalyst cries out for the scrap heap:
What is a catalyst and why it can pose a threat for the car engine. on USautoportal (img 3)

- the decline in the engine output  The great engine power reduction is the most common symptom of a catalyst failure. The car begins to lose dynamics and badly accelerates. The running of the engine is uneven, it overheats and misfires.  

- underbody noise  A loud noise under the car's bottom indicates that an active component of the catalyst converter has begun to break up and fall to pieces. Ceramic shatters under the influence of the exhaust gas flow, chaotically crash against the walls of the enclosure and create an unpleasant noise. As a rule, this is most clearly shown at increased engine speed and during the start.

- activation of the Check Engine icon on the dashboard

The most global symptom of the catalyst failure is a system error that activates the "engine malfunction" icon on the dashboard. If this symptom appears, you must immediately read the diagnostic error code with the help of a diagnostic scanner and fix the problem.

Untimely repair of the catalyst is dangerous because small particles of ceramics can get through the exhaust gas tract right into the cylinders of the engine. Once there, they instantly scratch the cylinder walls and completely damage the engine. Additional heating of the exhaust tract leads to deformation of the cylinder head and greatly reduces the life of the power unit.

To avoid critical damage, do not bring your car into the bad state and eliminate the catalyst malfunction in time.


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