By Erik Hensley
Hensley's Auto does exhaust repair in Santa Rosa. The exhaust system consists of everything from the exhaust manifold to the muffler.
Exhaust leaks result in exhaust fumes entering the vehicle so it's important to fix them. Over time your exhaust pipes, muffler ,exhaust manifold, and catalytic converter can develop leaks and cracks that need to be repaired.
How different exhaust components work
Catalytic converter - The catalytic converter is a big part of the emission control system on your vehicle.
Converters started being used on vehicles in 1975 in order to reduce exhaust emissions. A common nickname for the catalytic converter is a CAT.
The catalytic converter increases the surface area that the exhaust emissions pass over in order to continue the burning process. Through a chemical reaction with precious metals the emissions that were once harmful are converted to less harmful CO2, which is a byproduct of complete combustion.
Vehicle emissions are reduced by 50% to 70% by the catalytic converter. A defective converter is a very common smog failure. There a a few ways that a catalytic converter can be test.
Heat - When a catalytic converter is working it will be hotter in the back because the burning process is continuing. The temperature measured with an inferred heat gun should be 50 degrees hotter.
Cranking CO2 -
Step 1: Warm up the converter by holding the vehicle at 2500rpm for three minutes.
Step 2: Disable the ignition system on the vehicle. - make sure the fuel system is not disabled.
Step 3: Crank the engine and see if the CO2 is above 7.5%. Since the converter continues the burning process when it is working you will see a rise in CO2 when the converter is working.
Intrusive Test - This test is the industry standard. You measure the emission before and after the CAT. You should so a reduction in the emission after the converter of at least 50%.
Vehicle model year 1996 and up computer systems will check the catalytic converter and set the check engine light if the converter is bad. Since a Catalytic converter uses oxygen when it is working the computer will monitor the front O2 (before cat) sensor and compare it to the rear(after cat). If the converter is working there will be a decrease in oxygen sensor activity on the rear sensor.
If your looking at an emissions report there will usually be about a 13% CO2 reading and an oxygen reading above 2%. If you have high emissions and no oxygen left over the converter may be good. Since the converter needs oxygen to work replacing the cat probably wont help.
Before change a converter make sure the vehicle is in fuel control and the vehicle is running on all cylinders.
Catalytic converters can plug up resulting in loss of power. If your vehicle is low on power a simple back pressure test of the exhaust system will help verify if your problem is related to a restricted exhaust system or not.
When replace a catalytic converter in California there needs to be an executive order stamped on the converter, This number is cross referenced by the smog technician to make sure the correct converter is installed.
Exhaust Muffler - The muffler consists of sound cancelling baffles.
Exhaust Manifold - The exhaust manifold attaches to the cylinder head of the vehicle. Exhaust manifolds are prone to cracking. Also some exhaust manifolds have catalytic converts built into them.
When is the Right Time to Replace Your Catalytic Converter?
A catalytic converter plays a crucial role in slashing down dangerous emissions from your car. An efficient and superior converter works effectively in transforming car emissions into water vapor that is not harmless to the environment. A dysfunctional converter, on the other hand, will make your car an evil instrument for air pollution. In the practical level, a broken converter will cause your car to fail the smog check and a plugged converter will also cause your car to lose power.
Hence, it is important to know when is the right time for catalytic converter replacement. Apart from making certain that your car is in good working condition, you can also help in minimizing the effects of air pollution.
There are four things that you should check if your catalytic converter is candidate for replacement.
Check if the body of the converter is already busted or rusty.
Check if there are small pieces of debris on areas other than the exhaust system.
Check if there the converter is rattling. If you can't hear any rattling sign, it is a sign that the pellets may have already melted or fallen out.
Check if the monolithic converter is rattling. A rattling sound for this part is a sign of separated substrates.
If you have done all the things above, and you still fail to determine if your catalytic converter needs replacement, you can find an auto mechanic to check the converter or you can ask a local car inspection program to inspect your vehicle. This is a foolproof method as during the vehicle inspection, you will certainly fail if your converter needs to be replaced.
A car emission test will evaluate the gases that are being emitted by the car's muffler. If your car fails the test, the main problem usually lies on the faulty converter. Because its only role is to minimize the toxins emitted by your vehicle, if it is not working, you will cause harm to the environment. Hence, you need to get a catalytic converter replacement.
It is important to take note that the replacement of the car converter must be performed by professionals. More often than not, you can find a mechanic to do the replacement from local garage shops, muffler stores, or even from the service department of your local car dealer. You can do the replacement if you are an auto mechanic or you have at least basic knowledge in car repair. With this, you can save money on labor expenses.
Bear in mind that it is essential to purchase catalytic converters that meet the specifications stipulated by the car's original equipment manufacturer or OEM. Basically, all vehicles are now equipped with converters except those manufactured prior to 1975. All vehicles manufactured after 1975 must be equipped with converters as mandated by law. Driving a car that is not equipped with a converter is not allowed in the United States. In addition, getting a catalytic converter replacement will give you a piece of mind knowing that you are not causing any harm to the environment while driving your vehicle.