What is a Catalytic Converter or Cat?
The Catalytic Converter (commonly known as a Cat) is a device that helps to reduce the harmful emissions from your vehicle's engine.
How does it work?
The Cat works by filtering the exhaust gases through an internal honeycomb section known as a Monolith. The Monolith is either ceramic or metal and is coated with precious metals such as Platinum, Palladium and Rhodium. Using a combination of heat and precious metals the Catalytic Converter promotes a chemical reaction that reduces the harmful emissions of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides and converts them into water vapour and less harmful gases.
Do I Need a Type Approved Cat?
If your car is X registration or older and therefore first registered before 1st March 2001 you DO NOT need to buy a Type Approved catalytic converter.
In the words of the Vehicle Standards Agency (VCA), Type Approval offers “confirmation that production and samples of a design will meet specified performance standards” in other words, the product will match the performance of the original unit. For Catalytic Converters and Diesel Particulate Filters this relates to emissions, noise, fuel efficiency and levels of back pressure. The approval basically stipulates that an aftermarket component must reach, or exceed the quality standard of the corresponding OE part in design and performance.
Type Approval in the UK is influenced by EU legislative standards, with similar regulations employed around the world. The certification is governed by a third party approval authority, for example in the UK it’s the VCA and in Germany it’s the TÜV. These institutions act as a non-bias technical service for each region, ensuring that testing is fair and that approved product certifications are transmitted to other institutions in case compliant components are sold overseas.
Therefore, Type Approval serves as a minimum quality standard for components. Selecting a Type Approved replacement aftermarket Cat or DPF can help to ensure that the vehicle will pass the MOT emissions test and that the original performance and efficiency levels of the vehicle are preserved.
The Motor Vehicles (Replacement of Catalytic Converters and Pollution Control Devices) Regulations 2009 are enforceable by law and non compliance can lead to a £5000 fine.