As far as the current combustion technology is concerned, although engine technology has made great progress, the car has not reached a level that does not produce harmful gases. This is not to mention the complexity of the working conditions of the car. In some special working conditions, exhaust emissions are intense. Such conditions include idling, low-speed driving of cars, etc., will produce a lot of harmful exhaust gas. In this post, you will learn why does 3-ways catalytic converter fail even when it is designed not to consume exhaust gas during the purification and conversion process.
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What is Three-Way Catalytic Converter?
The catalytic converter or ‘Cat-Con’ is a mechanical device. It reduces the harmful emissions created in the exhaust system of an engine. The 3-way cat is an important device as it works with the harmful gases, which the engine creates during the combustion of fuel. The main purpose of a catalytic converter is to reduce exhaust emissions.
Three-way Catalytic converter: Working Principle
The emergence of the three-way cat is to reduce exhaust emissions. Its working principle is very simple. By design, there are a large number of small hole structures on the catalyst.
The diameter of each small hole is about 2-millimetres. Through such a long small hole, in contact with the precious metal material on the wall of the small hole, at normal temperature (the operating temperature of the catalytic converter is about 400 degrees), the precious metal will catalyze the exhaust gas, so that harmful gases will react again in the catalyst to make the exhaust gas harmless.
This reaction is known as the conversion of carbon monoxide to carbon dioxide. In this, the precious metal only has a catalytic role in this process and does not participate in the reaction itself.
Why does 3-ways Catalytic Converter fail?
Therefore, the catalytic converter itself is a durable material and equipment that will not be consumed. So why do some vehicles need to spend thousands of dollars to replace the three-way catalytic converter after three or five years? The answer is actually because it failed. See image above of a working cat.
How Does the Catalytic Converter Fail?
The main reason for failure is due to poisoning/contamination. For example, unleaded gasoline is now strictly required to prevent pollution and catalyst poisoning. See image below of a cat poisoned by lead from gas.
Lead cannot participate in the combustion, and part of it will be discharged with the exhaust gas. When passing through the exhaust pipe, it directly covers the parts of the exhaust pipe, such as the catalyst, oxygen sensor, which is equivalent to generating a coating.
This lead coating which makes the catalyst less efficient and all exhaust gas is discharged without purification. In this case, the car usually reports a malfunction/DTC code.
In addition, to lead, fuels or motor oils containing silicon, manganese, sulfur, phosphorus and other components will also have similar effects.
Sadly, catalyst poisoning is irreversible and can only be replaced at this time. Exhaust emissions of some vehicles are not up to standard, mainly due to carbon deposits.
This situation is reversible, and only the exhaust pipe needs to be cleaned. For thorough cleaning, disassembling must be carried out. However, you can first check whether the catalyst is normal, disassembling and cleaning can reliably help you to meet the emission standards.
Regular Maintenance of the Three-way Catalytic Converter
Of course, for the daily maintenance of the three-way catalytic converter, you can directly use the three-way catalytic cleaning agent. Seafoam motor treatment is known to be safe with the cat as well as 02 sensors. Same applies to Redline SI-1 complete fuel system cleaner
The catalytic cleaning agent is directly added to the fuel tank. During the driving of the car, the detergent components will eventually be discharged through the exhaust pipe to achieve the cleaning effect on the exhaust pipe.
However, catalytic cleaning agents can only play a role in slight carbon deposits, and serious carbon deposits have little effect. The prevention of carbon deposits must start from daily cleaning and maintenance. The one-time cleaning of “aged carbon deposits” can only be a big dismantling, and the three-way catalyst is no exception.