Catalytic Converter Hazards!

The government’s automatic emission control legislation mandates that almost all cars manufactured or sold in the United States be equipped with a catalytic converter. A smart device, catalytic converters help convert hazardous and polluting exhaust gases into less harmful carbon dioxide and water. As helpful to a device as it is, there are some dangers that come with the use of a catalytic converter. Read on to find out what you need to know about your car’s catalytic converter.

Many consider the catalytic converter a boon. With pollution levels steadily rising, the US government has taken action to reduce harmful pollutants in one step to clean up the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency was created by the Nixon Administration, and the agency was instrumental in passing the Clean Air Act to help America control pollution. Since 1975 almost every passenger car has been equipped with a catalytic converter.

As helpful as catalytic converters may be, they can be problematic. It is the intense heat of the unit that can cause problems, as well as the malfunction that is often not noticed until your vehicle passes the next inspection.

If you are working on your own vehicle, you should allow your vehicle to cool completely before working near the exhaust system. Catalytic converters get very hot, up to 1800 degrees, and any burn from touching a hot converter can be very dangerous, even fatal.

Drivers have also learned that a catalytic converter can be a fire hazard. Over the past three decades, police and fire reports have indicated that many car fires have occurred because a driver parked his car on dry leaves. Even with the engine off, the hot converter can produce a spark that can ignite the leaves underneath. If this happens, your car could be swallowed up and destroyed by fire in just a few minutes.

There are also hazards that occur in the catalytic converter itself. Because the unit burns at such high temperatures, catalytic converters can undergo rapid thermal deactivation. Some experts recommend switching to synthetic engine oil to help reduce phosphorus pollutants known to cause malfunction.

No, you cannot legally remove your catalytic converter as you may incur hefty fines and penalties. Yep, none of these concerns matter to you if your car was made before 1975, so enjoy your classic and let it rip off before the pollution controls get in your way!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *