The catalytic converter runs at extremely hot temperatures and is designed to trap and incinerate some of the
worst elements of exhaust emissions. A failing catalytic converter will restrict exhaust flow to a point where
it kills performance, fuel economy and may even cause a no-start condition. Shop Advance for catalytic
converters from MagnaFlow, Walker, Bosal and others.
The catalytic converter was one of the first measures toward emission control on vehicles back in the
1970s. Converters have an internal temperature of around 800 ºF, with a honeycomb structure of iridium, rhodium,
palladium and other semi-precious metals. The extreme temperatures and the reaction with the metals in the
honeycomb will break down and oxidize the nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, and other unburnt pollutants in the
exhaust stream and render them into harmless carbon dioxide and water vapor. Prior to the mid-70s, gasoline was
available with tetraethyl lead as an anti-knock agent, until it was discovered to be a major pollutant. Leaded
gasoline can quickly destroy the internal surfaces of a catalytic converter, so unleaded fuel became the norm.
Generally, a catalytic converter will last the entire life cycle of a vehicle - but not always. A
rich-running condition where raw fuel or partly-burned fuel is dumped through the exhaust system can melt
the internal parts of a catalytic converter. A converter can also quickly be ruined by oil or coolant in the
exhaust stream, which of course means major engine problems that should be repaired before addressing the
A vehicle with a clogged catalytic converter will show poor fuel economy, poor performance and drivability,
and may refuse to start. A failed converter will also register a trouble code and illuminate the dashboard
Check Engine light. If you suspect this is your vehicle’s problem, Advance Auto Parts offers a full line of
OEM-quality catalytic converters that can get you back on the road again.