Keeping your car in good condition, having it checked regularly, and maintaining it to the best of your ability at home will extend the life of your vehicle and save you costs on repairs and fuel in the long run. Your exhaust is an integral part of your car, and while it can often be overlooked as a priority area to maintain, 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 work properly when there is a specific ratio of air and fuel. If there are faults in the engine management system or fuel supply, the catalytic converter may not work properly or may be damaged.
The CAT sits under the car and is therefore susceptible to bumps and knocks which can also affect its efficiency. Try to avoid braking the car or going too fast over speed bumps: Approach obstacles and potholes at a slight angle so you don’t 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 at an authorized and trusted workshop.
- Always use unleaded fuel with a catalytic converter – just a fuel tank with LEDs can completely disable a CAT!
- Avoid running out of fuel.
- Grounding your vehicle can hit the catalytic converter and even crack the ceramic monolith (a crucial part of the conversion process).
- Never start a car that has a CAT installed. Instead, use auxiliary cables.
You can also get a ‘Green ITV’, which looks at CAT performance as part of your ITV emissions test. If there is a problem with your catalytic converter, your local garage 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 sturdier than the ceramic version).
Problems with your exhaust system can end up being costly, but with careful driving, regular car maintenance, and an experienced exhaust technician, you can extend the life of your exhaust and catalytic converter and save money.