Catalytic Converters – A Valuable Commodity

Catalytic Converters – A Valuable Commodity

As outlined in our previous blog article, catalytic converters are valuable commodities; mainly because they contain small amounts of valuable metals such as platinum and rhodium.  In fact, some states of America have seen a recent spike of thefts from certain older models of SUV’s which are easier for the thieves to access because of their wheel height. In this article, we shall be explaining in-depth the main role, lifespan and noticeable signs of when they should be changed.


Reducing or Destroying Gaseous Pollutants

The main role of the exhaust is to decrease pollution output from the vehicle by reducing or destroying gaseous pollutants through a catalyst system. For a diesel engine, the exhaust catalyst converts carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide and water (often connected to a particulate filter – DPF). On the other hand, for a petrol engine, the catalyst simply transforms carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide into a non-polluting substance. Catalytic converters are effective at high temperatures, they are installed close to the engine in order to heat quickly and reach a good operating temperature.


When to change?

A catalytic converter should be changed every 100,000 to 120,000 kilometres or it will end up with a faulty component that no longer meets industry standards. Indeed, a vehicle with an exhaust catalyst in poor condition can emit seriously high levels of pollution.  Catalytic converters have been installed on all new cars sold in the E.U. since January 1993, they reduce ultra-fine particle emission levels by 99% when maintained and in good order.  Regular engine maintenance can extend a catalyst life, but it should be routinely changed before reaching 120,000 kilometres of use.


Signs of Catalyst failure

Unusual smoke coming out of the silencer, or a metallic noise coming from the exhaust system are possible signs of a faulty catalyst. Exhaust leaks also deteriorate the catalytic converter. If the component clogs, the consequences could be serious for the vehicle since the engine could be damaged as a result. The exhaust catalyst is therefore an important part to inspect. A passage on a pollution bench at a specialist garage makes it possible to check its functionality. This examination is part of tests carried out during the technical inspection every two years, starting from the fourth year of the vehicle’s life.

While maintaining your vehicle takes a little time, planning and effort, it far outweighs putting the safety of yourself and others at risk, emptying your wallet to pay for expensive replacement parts as a result of overdue repairs or having to purchase a new vehicle sooner than you had originally planned. Therefore, order you universal catalytic converter online today from CatMan.


Catalytic Converter Thefts In Crewe & Middlewich

Drivers in Cheshire would be wise to be on their guard at the moment, as it seems there have been a spate of catalytic converter thefts in Crewe and Middlewich, with Honda Accord vehicles left on driveways specifically being targeted.

Police are now advising people to park cars in garages where possible. If the car is considered high risk, mark the metal shell of the universal catalytic converter uniquely so that it’s easier to trace if it is pinched. And if your catalytic converter is bolted on, you can weld it shut which will help to slow thieves down.

Over the last few weeks, officers have had to go out to four separate incidents in these parts of Cheshire. Detective Sergeant Daniel Loveridge was quoted by the Crewe Chronicle as saying: “While this investigation takes place I encourage motorists to remain vigilant and review any security measures they have in place.

“While only Honda Accords have been targeted so far, other vehicles that may be at risk include those with a large ground clearance. I also ask scrap metal dealers to be mindful if they are offered a catalytic converter or exhaust system and to contact police if they are in any doubt.”

You can check to see if your converter is still there by looking underneath your car. The converter should look like a round canister with some piping going into the exhaust. If there’s a gap in the middle of your exhaust, your converter has gone.

While it’s possible to drive a vehicle without a converter, it’s very bad for the car’s engine components… so get it replaced as soon as you can.

70% Of Brits Abroad Do Not Understand Road Signs

Many Brits enjoy a driving holiday when they head overseas, whether they choose to hire a car once they land or take their own vehicle across to Europe on a ferry.

However, according to a recent study, 71 per cent of those holidaymakers who have driven in another country did not understand what the road signs meant.

Co-op Insurance revealed nearly a quarter got lost as a result of this, while the insurance provider estimated a lack of knowledge about foreign road signs has resulted in 860,000 avoidable road accidents.

Nick Ansley, head of motor insurance at the Co-op, said: “Many British drivers are having crashes on holiday turning what should be a relaxing time of year into a stressful one.”

He said getting familiar with foreign highway codes is “incredibly important”, and “could stop a lot of stress and worry for you and other road users”.

It is not just getting lost that drivers should be worried about if they do not revise international road signs, as 14 per cent said they have made other drivers angry because of their lack of knowledge, while 12 per cent of British drivers have caused an argument with their own friends and family over misunderstanding foreign driving laws.

Mr Ansley suggested to get acquainted with rules of the road for the nation you are visiting; avoid driving in flip flops despite the sunny weather; check Satnavs are up to date; and keep your driving licence close by.

He also reminded UK drivers that speedometers are typically set to km/h, rather than miles per hour, while it is also a good idea to learn the national speed limits for that country.

You can test your understanding of different international road signs by checking out the Co-op’s The Hub where you can take a questionnaire for your holiday destination.

Before taking your car abroad, make sure you check it is in top condition. For new dpf filters, take a look at our website today.

Nearly 1,000 Return Trips To Mars Made By UK Drivers In 2016!

We know that cars are an important part of our lives these days. Without them, many of us would struggle to get to work and back each day, not to mention the fact that driving can be a lot of fun as well… especially as the weather gets better day by day.

So it’s no surprise to hear that new research from the Local Government Association has found that in 2016 motorists in England drove the equivalent of nearly 1,000 return trips to Mars – over a million years’ worth of time and an impressive 277 billion miles.

Off the back of this report, council leaders have called on the government to introduce a radical new strategy to help manage congestion more effectively and provide a plan to accommodate the growing number of vehicles on our roads.

Apparently, it would already take £9.3 billion and more than 14 years for local councils to clear the local road repairs backlog… so do take care when driving around and about because if you go over a pothole wrong or a bit too quickly, you could find yourself in need of a second hand catalytic converter!

LGA Transport spokesman Martin Tett said: “The amount of time that drivers in the UK are spending on our roads continues to sky-rocket, with motorists driving the equivalent of 989 trips to Mars and back, two-thirds of which were on local roads. This consistent increasing use of our roads means that it is more important than ever for the government to further invest in local roads.

“Only long-term and consistent investment in local road maintenance will allow councils to embark on the widespread improvement of our roads that is desperately needed, to the benefit of all road users up and down the country.”

By reinvesting just 2p per litre of current fuel duty into road maintenance at a local level, the government would be able to generate £1 billion a year for councils to spend on improvements and filling potholes, he went on to say.

To avoid pothole damage to your car when driving over them (as you inevitably will at the moment), try to steer clear of them safely wherever and whenever you can. Reduce your speed as driving over them quickly will increase the chances of damage. And try not to brake when going over them as this will put more stress on the front suspension.

Always look out for cyclists and motorbikes when avoiding potholes as they may creep up on the side of you without you noticing. Hold the steering wheel properly as going over a pothole could mean you lose control of the vehicle. Check the tyre pressure on all four tyres regularly as this can minimise any damage that your car might sustain.

And if you do go over a pothole badly, always take your car to your local garage to have it checked over just in case something has gone wrong with the tracking, suspension, tyres or wheel alignment.

Platinum Prices Low: But For How Long?

One of the key reasons that we’re able to bring you truly cheap catalytic converters is that we’re riding on a crest of low-price platinum. Platinum is a key element of a catalytic converter, acting as the said catalyst in the device to help reduce fumes from diesel engines.

In fact, platinum’s biggest use worldwide is in the automotive industry, with 44 per cent of global demand in 2017 coming from its use in catalytic converters. This dwarves the use of the metal in jewellery at just 32 per cent. This side of Europe, this amount is much lower however, as we’re driving far fewer diesel cars.

If it’s a surprise that something you consider as a precious metal is used in this way, let’s not get started on its use in everything from medical equipment to jet engines.

Supply and demand of platinum pretty much level pegs, meaning that price has been riding low for platinum for some time, according to Money Week. However, could it ever sky rocket again? After all, in the past, platinum cost more than gold, though this isn’t the case nowadays.

Looking at a chart of demand, created by data analysts, it appears that platinum demand could be due a rally. In the late 1990s, the price of platinum was again low, and it then increased by 700 per cent over the next ten years, until it was worth twice the value of gold.

And, while this may be in an unpredictable future that this could happen, the cost of goods, such as catalytic converters, that use this material, would undoubtedly increase too.

Do you need a catalytic converter supplier? Give us a call today.


Top Tips To Ensure Your Car Passes Its MOT

WIth the MOT rules changing next month and becoming stricter, it pays to carry out some basic car maintenance yourself to ensure you don’t fail your annual inspection on something you could have prevented.

The Plymouth Herald recently offered some advice on what to keep an eye on as a driver to ensure you don’t have any nasty surprises when your MOT rolls around.

For those with diesel cars, it’s worth noting that if your car is fitted with a diesel particulate filter (DPF) and emits any smoke of any colour, it will automatically fail. Richard Hitchman, product development manager at Holt Lloyd International, recommends using a DPF cleaner as a regular preventative measure.

Diesel drivers also need to ensure that they keep their AdBlue – or diesel exhaust fluid – topped up. This turns harmful nitrogen oxide emissions into harmless water vapour and nitrogen.

Whatever car you drive, you need to ensure that its screenwash is topped up and that your washers deliver enough liquid to properly clean your windscreen, otherwise you’re in danger of failing your MOT.

Other areas to keep an eye on – and that it’s good practice to watch out for, regardless of whether your car is due its MOT – are the brake fluid and engine coolant. Brake fluid should be replaced every two years, while you should make sure you top your engine up with coolant/antifreeze as soon as a temperature warning light in your vehicle comes on.

The changes to the MOT rules could encourage more people to get comfortable with basic car maintenance tasks – especially those of the younger generation – after a survey found that those under 35 are least likely to know how to tackle basic car maintenance tasks.

Millennials ‘Least Prepared For Basic Car Maintenance’

Those aged under 35 are least likely to be able to deal with basic car maintenance issues, a new survey has found.

A poll by TV programme Flipping Bangers found that only 27 per cent of those aged 18 to 23 are confident they could change a tyre. By contrast, nearly half of those over the age of 36 felt the same.

Over one-third of millennials also admitted that they would struggle to open a car bonnet, with a similar percentage also revealing that they don’t know what power steering does.

What’s more, the show found that 63 per cent of millennials have never tried to repair, fix or modify a car they’ve owned because of a lack of basic knowledge of how they work.

That means they’re likely to need guidance from a specialist if they have to purchase a new dpf filter, for example, or even to find a more basic part for their vehicle.

Gus Gregory, host of the show, commented: “We think it’s a good idea for everyone, no matter what age, to learn the basic and normally most vital principles of car maintenance.”

He added that having even “some of the simplest mechanical knowledge” can give someone the chance to “turn an old and rusty banger back into a beautiful car”.

While having basic mechanical knowledge can mean that you are able to fix some issues by yourself, there are others that will need attention at a garage. However, having this understanding of how cars work can at least help you determine where the problem is likely to be.

Following the cold weather we’ve had recently, the RAC warned that more diesel drivers than usual are experiencing what’s known as fuel waxing – an issue that’s caused by cold weather and clogs up diesel filters.

How To Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft

We’re always warned when leaving our cars in public places not to keep belongings on the seat if we’re not going to be with the vehicle… always stash them somewhere safe and out of sight in the boot just to be on the safe side and help deter potential thieves.

But you should be aware that there are parts on the car itself that are still attractive to thieves and one of the big ones is your catalytic converter. These are made from platinum, rhodium and palladium, which are expensive and valuable metals that thieves can sell on to scrap yards for a hefty chunk of change.

Remember that it’s actually illegal to drive your car without a catalytic converter so if yours is sadly pinched, you will need to get it replaced before hitting the road once again. You’ll also likely find that your car doesn’t run as well without the converter, so replacing it should be a top priority.

Unless you’re a mechanic or have in-depth knowledge of the inner workings of a car, you may not even know if your converter has been stolen. Listen to the engine when you turn the vehicle on – do you hear a roaring or rumbling noise? Does this get louder the harder you press the accelerator down?

If so, have a quick look under the car – your converter is a round canister with two bits of piping in the exhaust. Do you see a gap in the middle of the exhaust? Then your converter has disappeared.

Unfortunately, it’s relatively quick and easy for thieves to make off with your converter. All they need is a saw and a couple of minutes! In order to protect your vehicle properly while leaving it in a public space, always try to park under a streetlight as this will put people off targeting your car.

At home, always use a garage if you have one and make sure you keep the door closed. Park near to building entrances or access roads, as this will mean more people are likely to be walking past which will also serve as a deterrent to prospective thieves. Check out The AA website for further security hints and tips.

These days, you can also invest in security gadgets that you can attach to your converters that will make it harder for them to be stolen. You could also consider having the converter welded to the frame of your car. Engraving your address or other identifying phrase on the converter itself is also a good idea so it can be traced if stolen.

If you are unfortunate enough to have your converter pinched, call the police as soon as you become aware of it. And also get in touch with scrap yards in your local area so they know what to be on the lookout for. A good line of defence is to keep an eye on local news reports as well so you can see if there’s a spate of this kind of theft going on.

Do you need a catalytic converter supplier? Give us a call today.

New EU Car Registration Data Indicates Change In UK Outlook

The European car market continues to grow, with demand for new cars increasing by 5.8% in Q1 (January – April) of this year; which equates to 2,378,965 units in total. However, this momentum is not reflective of the United Kingdom’s car market as new registrations are down 2.8% over this period. This data, in relation to the UK having a relatively low average vehicle age of 8.5 years, is an indication that owners are more interested in keeping their current automobiles rather than buying.

According to the data, published on the 15th of March by the Association of European Automobile Manufacturers, almost all major European countries were up in February, with Spain (+ 13.0%), Germany (+ 7.4%) and France (+ 4.3%) leading car sales growth. This is a continuation of the already impressive 15 million vehicles sold in the European market at the end of 2017, a symbolic achievement that had not been crossed in 10 years.

In terms of specific car manufacturers, the Volkswagen group still dominates the European market with 24.2% of new registrations. In addition to this, Peugeot’s registrations are up 16.2% (77,928 vehicles), Citroën up 7.9%, while the high-end DS brand is down 19.8%. While the Renault brand fell very slightly (-0.4% to 79,372 cars) and its Romanian brand Dacia saw its registrations leap by an increase of 24.3% to 40,229 cars.

This is an interesting development as it indicates a trend towards owners, especially in the UK, seeking to maximise their cars lifespan via regular maintenance checks and replacing faulty parts such as the dpf filter and universal catalytic converter.

While maintaining your vehicle takes a little time, planning and effort, it far outweighs putting the safety of yourself and others at risk, emptying your wallet to pay for expensive replacement parts as a result of overdue repairs or having to purchase a new vehicle sooner than you had originally planned. Therefore, order you universal catalytic converter online today from CatMan.

Cold Weather Causes Problems For Diesel Drivers

We all know that the cold weather that blasted the UK last week caused problems on the roads, from snow blocking some routes to ice making driving conditions very hazardous in others. But diesel drivers could have found the cold conditions especially challenging.

The RAC revealed that it received 44 per cent more callouts last week than is usual for this time of year to attend diesel vehicles that had experienced what’s known as fuel waxing.

This is when diesel fuel filters become clogged with a gel-like substance, which builds up in colder weather. This has the effect of starving an engine of fuel, making it lose power or in some cases fail to start altogether.

Simon Williams, RAC fuel spokesman, explained that, even in cold weather, this shouldn’t happen because all the diesel sold in the UK is treated with additives to prevent this issue.

However, he explained that in certain vehicles the fuel line is more exposed than in others, which means that even these additives are unable to prevent waxing from occurring.

Mr Williams added that there’s not much drivers can do to guard against waxing, apart from “getting their vehicle’s fuel filter changed in line with manufacturer guidelines and keeping their car in a garage if they can”.

If you had trouble with your diesel car in the cold weather, that could be a sign that it’s time to get a new dpf filter.

The AA has estimated that damage caused to vehicles during Storm Emma and the Beast from the East could cost insurers £35 million across the UK.