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What Does a Catalytic Converter Do?

What are catalytic converters? What do they do? Is my catalytic converter failing? Our mechanics are here to answer all of your questions about catalytic converters. 

What Do Catalytic Converters Do?

The catalytic converter is responsible for converting toxic car emissions into compounds that are better for the environment and human health. As your emissions pass through the catalytic converter, they transform from toxins like carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides into harmless compounds like carbon dioxide and water vapor. 

Why Do People Steal Catalytic Converters?

Catalytic converters have been at the top of many drivers’ minds recently for an unfortunate reason: they are being cut out and stolen from cars across the nation. But why? There are two main reasons catalytic converters are rampantly stolen: 

  • Catalytic converters rely on expensive precious metals (including platinum) that can be sold for hundreds of dollars aftermarket. 
  • These vital vehicle components are highly accessible to thieves and easy to steal. It is essentially like having an expensive piece of jewelry hanging from your tailpipe at all times.

You can read our full guide to catalytic converter theft and what to do if yours has been stolen here. 

How Can You Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft?

The best way to prevent catalytic converter theft is to install a protective device (like the Cat Security). These metal shields are laborious to cut through, keeping them safe from theft. You can learn more about Cat Security in this video from our mechanics, or see the final installation results here

How Can I Tell If My Catalytic Converter is Failing?

While the most common issue with catalytic converters is theft, these vehicle components can fail like any other car part. They are responsible for filtering your exhaust, which can cause clogs. Additionally, car exhaust is incredibly hot, which can lead to melted, deformed, or broken catalytic converters. 

Here are the 5 main signs your catalytic converter is going bad:

  • Sulfur (or rotten egg) smell coming from your exhaust
  • Poor vehicle performance and acceleration
  • Exhaust becomes darker in color
  • You sense extra heat near your exhaust
  • Check engine light comes on

Catalytic converters are also routinely checked during your annual emissions inspection. 

Can Catalytic Converters Be Cleaned or Repaired?

In most cases, failing catalytic converters will need to be replaced. Attempting to clean or repair catalytic converters often results in an in-depth, expensive service with low success rates. This process can leave drivers bearing the cost of both replacement and a failed repair attempt. 

Chapel Hill Tire Catalytic Converter Replacement and Protection

If you suspect that your catalytic converter is failing or has been stolen, bring your car down to the mechanics at Chapel Hill Tire. Our professionals are skilled at catalytic converter replacement services. We also install protective devices to prevent future theft and keep your new car safe. 
You can find our mechanics at 9 locations across Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Apex, Carrboro, and Durham. Our mechanics also commonly serve surrounding areas, including Knightdale, Cary, Pittsboro, Wake Forest, Hillsborough, Morrisville, and beyond. We invite you to make an appointment, explore our coupons, or give us a call to get started today!

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