Q:

How much platinum is in a catalytic converter?

A:

Quick Answer

Platinum content in catalytic converters can differ significantly depending on the year the catalytic converter was fabricated and the type of vehicle. Small cars usually average 1 to 2 grams per car, while larger trucks can have as much as 12 to 15 grams.

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Full Answer

Catalytic converters are a nonhomogeneous product; there are broad spectrum variances in metallurgic makeup and consistency. Composition is dependent on engine displacement and type of fuel used. Varying market prices for platinum and supply and demand fluctuations have impacted the amount of platinum used in catalytic converters over the years, as it is really a ratio or mixture of platinum, palladium and rhodium. This platinum metal mixture is commonly referred to as PGMs, or platinum group metals.

Catalytic converters are part of the vehicle emissions control system and are used in internal combustion engines, whether fueled by gasoline or diesel. Platinum functions as a catalyst to accelerate chemical reactions used to convert harmful vehicle emissions into less harmful substances. The catalytic converter was first invented by French mechanical engineer Eugene Houdry in the 1950s, who was prompted into his research by early studies of smog in Los Angeles. However, the first official catalytic converter in production for automobiles was not developed until 1973.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    Where is the catalytic converter on a car located?

    A:

    In a typical car, the catalytic converter is part of the exhaust system and under the car, between the engine and the muffler. Often manufacturers locate the catalytic converter under the passenger seat. On long trips, passengers sometimes feel the heat it produces at their feet.

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  • Q:

    What are the symptoms of a clogged catalytic converter?

    A:

    When a catalytic converter is clogged, you are likely to notice several symptoms, including a drop in your car's fuel efficiency, failure to accelerate properly and even your car not starting correctly. Many cars have dashboard lights that indicate when a catalytic converter isn't working properly. In addition, if you are required to have smog checks done on your car, a clogged catalytic converter is likely to cause you to fail the test.

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  • Q:

    What is the operating temperature of a catalytic converter?

    A:

    The normal operating temperature of a catalytic converter is between 550 and 1,600 degrees Fahrenheit with the optimum temperature being about 806 degrees. High operating temperature can be a sign of extra pollutants in the exhaust system. It can also result from excess fuel going through the exhaust system.

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  • Q:

    How do you remove a catalytic converter?

    A:

    Take off the oxygen sensor, unbolt the catalytic converter and slide it along the exhaust pipe until it falls off. In some vehicles, the converter is welded to the underside. In this case, put the car up on a lift before using a rotary saw to take the converter off.

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