There are around 276 million registered cars driving around in the U.S. That is an unimaginable amount of gas burned per day, and therefore an unimaginable amount of hazardous emissions produced per day. Luckily, catalytic converters help make sure people don’t suffer from those emissions.

They take chemicals like hydrocarbons, known for causing cancer and other health issues, and transform them into carbon dioxide and steam. Without catalytic converters, the environment and the world could be in far worse shape. Yet, they are a common target for thieves.

Keep reading below to learn more about catalytic converters and the role they play in automobiles.

Catalytic Converters Help Cars Reduce Their Impact

Catalytic converters aren’t as vital to the performance of the car as a gasket or an axle. However, they are still one of the most important parts of a car when it comes to keeping it safe. They are also responsible for helping reduce the impact cars have on the environment.

As a car drives down the road, it burns gasoline to keep the engine moving. As it burns gas, the car produces several harmful kinds of chemicals including carbon dioxide. It can generate around 4.6 tons of carbon dioxide per year.

If nothing is done to reduce car emissions, then the world would essentially burn up. With so many cars on the road and so many emissions coming from each one, the environment would fall apart.

Catalytic Converters Are High-Tech

To prevent this, catalytic converters are installed along the pipes that lead emissions out from an engine and into the air. The chamber is filled by a honeycomb design of precious metals. These metals help separate molecules like carbon monoxide or hydrocarbons and convert them into harmless steam or CO2.

Catalytic converters use reduction catalysts and oxidation catalysts to accomplish this. These kinds of catalysts, arranged in an iconic honeycomb design, are typically made up of gold or platinum. They need to use such precious metals because they manage heat well and react well with harmful emissions from cars.

Car Ownership Means Taking Care of the Car

Many first-time car owners may not think about their catalytic converters all that much. It may seem like just another component in the car — a mysterious mechanism that seems too difficult to understand. However, if it is damaged, other components may stop working.

Catalytic converters are usually accompanied by sensors for different kinds of chemicals. These sensors feed information to safety systems, which can help drivers avoid getting hurt on the road. If the sensors are damaged by a mistreated catalytic converter, the car as a whole can face serious malfunctions.

Every First Time Car Buyer Needs to Be Wary of Thieves

Catalytic converters are also a common target for thieves. They usually know the component is filled with precious metals that can be sold for high prices. Experiences thieves can also quickly crawl under tall cars like SUVs or trucks, saw off a catalytic converter, and be gone in minutes.

Part of good car ownership is preventing catalytic converter theft. Basically, if drivers park in well-lit areas and stay wary of suspicious people, they should be fine.

All Types of Cars Have Catalytic Converters

In many states, catalytic converters are actually something investigators look at when certifying that a car is safe for the road. They check to make sure that chemicals are being processed correctly, and the sensors are operating well. Most of all, they also make sure the converter was not stolen.

If cars did not have one, then they would be pumping carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons into the atmosphere. Both of those chemicals are far more harmful than carbon dioxide — they can cause cancer or other illness.

To learn more about how important catalytic converters work and why they’re so important, just keep reading our website.