Volkswagen Catalytic Converters

Written by Charles Peacock
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Most people don't know much about the catalytic converter in their Volkswagens, other than the fact that it has something to do with pollution and it is required by law to have one. Learning about your Volkswagen catalytic converter isn't a bad idea, however, especially if you have to replace one. Knowing how and why this mysterious part does what it does will help you understand why you need to buy a new one.

How Catalytic Converters Work

A catalytic converter is basically a kind of filter that removes a lot of the harmful pollution from your car's exhaust. Most catalytic converters today are known as "three-way" catalytic converters. This means that they remove three different types of pollution from your exhaust.

The three types of pollution that catalytic converters attempt to remove are carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons (also known as VOCs, or "volatile organic compounds") and nitrogen oxides. Each of these pollutants has a different harmful effect on humans and/or our environment. For this reason, it's important to have a good catalytic converter to make sure you're not releasing a lot of them into the air.

Modern catalytic converters have two different catalysts: a reduction catalyst and an oxidation catalyst. The exhaust first passes through the reduction catalyst (which removes nitrogen oxides) and then the oxidation catalyst (which takes care of the carbon monoxide and the hydrocarbons). One interesting thing about catalytic converters is that they need to be hot to be able to perform the necessary cleaning functions.

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