The internal combustion engine, while efficient, is a messy device to operate. Air and gasoline are being forced into a combustion chamber where they are incinerated and exhausted into the atmosphere. To reduce the toxicity of those nasty exhaust emissions, the catalytic converter was conceived.
How Catalytic Converters Work
The catalytic converter works by using a “catalyst” to create a chemical reaction in which the gases are “converted” to produce less harmful, or even inert matter. In road going vehicles, this can result in a 90% conversion of bad gasses into less harmful gases that flow through the mufflers and out the exhaust tips. Now, breathe easy while we flow through the converter’s list of tasks.
- Reduce nitrogen oxides to nitrogen and oxygen
- Oxidize carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide
- Oxidize unburnt hydrocarbons to carbon dioxide and water
Replacing Your Catalytic Converter
When it comes time for catalytic converter replacement, either from excessive wear or theft, consider a few things. First, not all converters are legal in all states. To make a catalytic converter California legal, the device is put through a battery of extra testing and certification. But take heart, a California legal cat is legal in all states.
Next, consider performance. A performance exhaust system will perform much better behind a high flow catalytic converter. In fact, big brand exhaust makers like Corsa exhaust highly recommend them. And since the performance models are so popular, they’re easy to find no matter what you drive. From a Toyota Tacoma catalytic converter to a Honda catalytic converter and every car in between, there’s a performance cat for it.
What's the Best Catalytic Converter for You?
The two big brands for performance cats are Easter Catalytic and Magnaflow. A quick internet search lets you compare Magnaflow direct fit catalytic converter reviews to Eastern catalytic reviews. Both are great and get high marks. But one Magnaflow fan upgrading his Toyota Tacoma exhaust said the Magnaflow cats actually cost less than the Eastern, but the price varies by vehicle.
So, next time someone asks you what a catalytic converter does, you have two answers. The smarty-pants answer about converting catalytics, and the informed answer about reducing exhaust emissions—how will you answer?