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Do All Cars Have Catalytic Converters?

By TheCarzingTeam March 29, 2022 | Car News

Car News

Traditional fuel-injected engines emit gasses like carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen dioxide. These pollutants are then released into the air via the tailpipe. However, in 1975, to lower these emissions, vehicles began incorporating catalytic converters, which convert the gasses into water vapor, carbon dioxide and nitrogen.

Catalytic converters are subject to the regulations of the Clean Air Act, and the Environmental Protection Agency strictly enforces the purchase and installation of these converters in the aftermarket. Those found installing noncompliant converters face hefty fines. Catalytic converters are now a standard feature to reduce emissions, but do all cars have catalytic converters?  

The Necessity of the Catalytic Converter

As catalytic converters are designed to convert harmful emissions into gasses that are less harmful to the environment, all vehicles with standard fuel-injected engines incorporate a catalytic converter. While diesel engines operate a little bit differently than the standard engine, they still require a catalytic converter as diesel fuel also breaks down into environmentally-damaging gasses.

The catalytic converter is necessary for vehicles to comply with federal regulations. As these parts are so essential, they have been designed to last the lifetime of the vehicle. Some drivers may find it necessary to replace their converter, because, unfortunately, theft of catalytic converters is high in some parts of the U.S.

Do All Cars Have Catalytic Converters

Why are Catalytic Converters Valuable?

Motorweek interviewed Tom Taylor, who serves as a parts expert for Motorweek. Taylor explained how the problem of catalytic converter theft is now becoming more prolific and affecting more vehicles than were targeted in the past.

Removing a catalytic converter isn’t simple. Since this isn’t a part that is designed to be replaced, it is a bit of a fixture on the underpinnings of the vehicle. Taylore explained that, to remove the converter, thieves have to saw it off. Some use a pipe saw.

In the past, minivans, trucks and other vehicles that sat high from the ground were usually targets for catalytic converter theft. However, Taylor explained that now thieves are stealing converters off smaller vehicles like hybrids.

If converters are now so prolific, and as all vehicles have these necessary components, why is theft such a big deal?

On hybrids, Taylor explained that catalytic converters are often made from metals like platinum, palladium and rhodium. The metals command a high price, and they bump the amount of money thieves can garner from the converter.

Taylor noted that car owners can protect their converter and their vehicle by installing a converter shield; this makes it a bit harder for the thieves. One of the simpler solutions that Taylor recommended, though, was for car owners to park over a mud puddle to deter thieves! They will be less inclined to crawl under the car.

When converters are stolen from older vehicles, the financial damage from the thieves may be more than the vehicle is worth. Taylor noted that insurance companies often elect to just total the vehicle in that case.

Do All Cars Have Catalytic Converters?

Catalytic converters are necessary for vehicles to comply with federal regulations, but do all cars have a catalytic converter?

Vehicles that have diesel engines and standard fuel injected engines have converters. Hybrids also have a catalytic converter, as the hybrid combines a traditional engine with the power of electricity. However, electric vehicles do not have and do not need catalytic converters.

Electric vehicles use a battery to power the engine. They don’t require fuel or fuel by-products, therefore these vehicles don’t require a catalytic converter to clean up their emissions.

Car buyers may be drawn to electric vehicles for their energy efficiency. They often cost far less to operate than their gas-guzzling counterparts. Each electric model has a maximum driving range that denotes how far it can drive on a fully charged battery.

While a traditional fuel-injected vehicle might be able to drive further on one tank of gas than an electric car can drive on a full charge, the cost of fuel is often quite higher than the cost of electricity. This is why electric vehicles are cheaper to own and operate.

Energy efficiency and the cost savings of these vehicles is a huge benefit to car buyers, but there’s an environmental edge to these vehicles, too. Since electric vehicles don’t use fuel, they don’t emit the gasses associated with the fuel-injected engine. Electric vehicles don’t even have a tailpipe!

Do All Cars Have Catalytic Converters

Do Catalytic Converts Make All Cars Eco-Friendly?

The addition of the catalytic converter means that the harmful emissions from fuel-injected engines are greatly reduced, but they are not zeroed out completely. Do catalytic converters make all cars eco-friendly? Not necessarily.

These parts were needed to reduce the tremendous impact that vehicles had on air pollution. Catalytic converters can successfully convert up to 90 percent of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide into water vapor, nitrogen and carbon dioxide.

However, some harmful chemicals can still be emitted into the air. In addition, carbon dioxide also contributes to other ecological problems like global warming.

While catalytic converters have enabled traditional vehicles to have a less harmful impact on the environment, their impact has only been reduced, not completely negated.

Do All Cars Have Catalytic Converters

The Future is Electrifying

Car companies are looking at a more electric future. General Motors, for example, is committed to producing an all-electric lineup.

As more manufacturers make the pivot to electric engines, catalytic converters could become a vehicle component that’s rooted in the past. Electric power also is improving, and many newer models may boast longer ranges that provide even more savings for drivers.

The decreased impact on the environment, though, may be the drive for manufacturers to transition to electric power. For consumers, investing in an energy-efficient electric automobile may provide tax credits or other benefits. Businesses may enjoy these incentives, too.

Use Carzing to Find Electric Vehicles

Finding a vehicle without a catalytic converter requires buyers to shop for electric models. Use Carzing to find the best electric vehicle for the budget and that boasts the range that is best for driving needs.

Car buyers can search for cars by make/model, price or body type. Those who want all electric models also could simply type EV or ‘electric’ as search terms for their query. Carzing will pull up all the options. Buyers also could specifically search for a particular electric model or select the body type they want and narrow down their choices to only electric models.

Buyers also can further narrow down their list of choices by selecting other criteria. Opt to view only new models, or see used options in the area. Buyers also can specify their preferred price range, vehicle equipment, drivetrain and more. They also can sort options by price, mileage, age or location to view the most relevant vehicles at the top of the page.

Carzing also lets buyers get prequalified for financing for the car they want. Look through all the options to find financing that offers the best loan terms or the monthly payment that fits the budget. Carzing also helps buyers understand their down payment responsibility.

Print out the details for the best financing option and take it to the dealership. With Carzing, buyers can focus on finding their car and securing their financing so they can focus their dealership visit on taking a test drive, completing the credit application and finalizing the deal.

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