Which Catalytic Converters Are Worth The Most?

Last Updated on February 9, 2021 by Viva Elizeee

There are different catalytic converters with different values depending on the materials included in each one. In this sense, the catalytic converters that are worth more are those that include one of the most expensive precious metals. So it is possible to find platinum, palladium, and rhodium among the most expensive or valuable catalytic converters.

Catalytic Converter With Higher Value

Catalytic ConverterFeatures
Platinum

In this case, it is the metal with the highest performance and the highest value. This metal can offer a lot of functions and is very scarce which is why catalytic converters with this metal are very expensive.
Palladium


In particular, palladium can offer similar characteristics to platinum. However, palladium is more difficult to obtain due to its scarcity. This is why the more expensive catalytic converters contain a good amount of palladium.
RhodiumSometimes palladium can be combined with roller for more effective removal of toxins and vapors. Therefore, catalytic converters that have rhodium and palladium are the most expensive in general. 

How Does A Catalytic Converter Work? 

One of the important parts of the mechanics of a vehicle is undoubtedly the catalytic converter. In this case, the basic knowledge about this part allows making the best decision in maintenance service. For that, you need to know in a simple way how these components work inside the cars.

First of all, any internal combustion engine needs to create thermal energy. Of course, this requires some components to be mixed inside the engine. In this sense, this thermal energy is achieved by igniting a mixture of atmospheric oxygen with gasoline. Here a high voltage spark will be more than enough to get the power the vehicle needs.

Of course, the operation of an engine is efficient, although some waste is also generated. In particular, some components that are toxic and residual are generated after combustion. These residual components are nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons. The catalytic converter deals exactly with these toxic components.

Here it is necessary to include precious metals inside the catalytic converter to obtain a suitable result. This component inside the vehicle is responsible for transforming these harmful pollutants into harmless gases such as water, carbon dioxide, and oxygen. Therefore, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons are not as dangerous after this process.

In general, a catalytic converter should have a life span that accompanies the rest of the vehicle mechanics. Throughout the process, the catalytic converter is not consumed, nor should it be. Beyond that, sometimes catalytic converters can malfunction and be damaged in the process. 

It could happen that some contaminants in the coolant included in the vehicle act in a bad way. In particular, a catalytic converter is not designed to deal with pollutants in a coolant but rather with the internal combustion of the engine. Other factors that can also be harmful are engine oil additives when compatibility is not the most appropriate.

To avoid this, it is necessary to properly consult a professional mechanic about the best engine oil for a certain vehicle. Of course, last but not least is the stress to which the catalytic converter is subjected due to high temperature. As with any other component, excessive heat can also deteriorate this component. 

What Are The Types Of Catalytic Converters?

In general, there are at least three main types of catalytic converters. Each has a direct fit design and is similar in design to each other. These are simply the 2-way, 3-way, and more than 3-way oxidation converters. Even 2-way oxidation converters were used until the 1980’s vehicles. 

This component is specially designed to remove only some toxic components from the internal combustion of an engine. The main finished components are carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. Therefore, the functionality of this design is somewhat limited compared to other options available today. So, after 1980, three-way converters began to be implemented. 

Unlike the previous one, this catalytic converter not only eliminates carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. It is also important to consider that the three-way converter manages to eliminate nitrogen oxides that are produced by the operation of the car. That is why the implementation of this component brought a decrease in polluting gases.

Besides, over time the three-way catalytic converter plus began to be implemented. This component is also known as the double-bed converter. In this case, it is a component that manages to inject atmospheric air between an additional oxidation bed and the three-way catalytic converter. In this way, a cleaner engine exhaust can be obtained compared to the previous options.

This not only reduces toxic and environmentally harmful gases but also protects the life of the vehicle’s mechanics. In particular, this began to enable car exhaust systems to offer greater durability and service life. This system had to deal with fewer toxic components that decrease the lifespan.

Here, a molecular distribution of the precious metals is required to provide a high level of efficiency within the catalysts. In turn, this molecular distribution is applied exactly using a ceramic washbasin layer with a rough surface. This additional built-in layer manages to cover the alveolar metal substrate. 

In particular, the efficiency of this new 3-way plus a catalytic converter is found in the precious metals. The precious metals incorporated into the alveolar substrate are done in large part to remove toxic components and care for the exhaust system. Therefore, the value of each catalytic converter is exactly related to the number of precious metals included.

How Does The Catalyst Monitor Work?

The catalyst monitor is a component that starts working once the engine is started and the vehicle begins to drive. In this case, the engine control module needs a mathematical algorithm for its operation. This component is an essential part because the algorithm stops the electrical activity of both sensors. 

The comparison is made between the upstream oxygen sensor and the downstream oxygen sensor. A diagnostic trouble code can be stored here when the results are not as expected. Here the unusual electrical activity between these sensors may be different from the parameters programmed into the catalyst monitor.

However, this will allow the orange warning light that many vehicles have known as “check engine” to come on. In turn, the catalytic converter will be diagnosed by the catalytic converter monitor if it has a mathematical basis. Here, the inlet and outlet temperatures are simply compared to obtain the appropriate results.

A second technique can be used which is based on an exhaust gas analyzer. When this analyzer does not get valid test results then there is a problem in the component. These problems can be easily known by professional mechanics when detecting different diagnostic fault codes.

So, after checking what the precise causes of failure are, the catalytic converter is replaced. In some cases, vehicle mechanics may need to be reprogrammed by professionals. In short, the catalytic converter monitor is responsible for checking that the catalytic converter is working as it should. 

Why Does A Catalyst Fail?

Generally, some drawbacks are quite common in most vehicles. One of the most common causes of catastrophic converter failure is an ignition system failure. In this case, the catalytic converter is subjected to too high a temperature. This usually happens if combustion occurs in the converter. 

This combustion occurs in the wrong place due to misfiring. Of course, the temperature is too high, because this is combustion that should take place inside the engine. The substrate begins to melt when the catalytic converter is exposed to more than 1300 degrees Fahrenheit. Of course, this is too high a temperature for the components built into the catalytic converter.

In turn, there is also an exhaust restriction that makes the whole situation even more difficult. Coolant contamination of leaking cylinder head gaskets may also be another reason. Finally, an external impact is another likely cause for a catalyst to start failing. So, if your vehicle suffers any impact you should consider this. 

It is quite common for the automobile manufacturer to offer an 80,000 and 8-year warranty that is required by the EPA. So, this is more than enough time to avoid any kind of factory failure due to poor construction. A new replacement catalytic converter can also be installed in some situations.

Of course, most commonly this component replacement is done if there is physical damage or leakage to this component. Another reason is that the catalytic converter is clogged due to excessive build-up of components.

On occasion, the state or local emissions inspection program may fail. Therefore, authorities in each region will request a catalytic converter replacement. 

When the “check engine” warning light comes on, it is necessary to consider replacing the catalytic converter. Also if the engine has not been able to pass the exhaust emission evaluation the driver should replace this component. Of course, the authorities in each region impose severe fines on drivers who fail to make these replacements.

Each catalytic converter must meet the exact capabilities and configuration set by each manufacturer. Those vehicles operating in California must meet much more stringent emissions standards than the manufacturer.

This is why California has reduced the number of pollutant emissions into the environment. Also, choosing the best option allows your vehicle to be more careful and clean. 

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