Why are catalytic converters important?

Bradley Jando | Wednesday 15th July 2020 10:05am

Car Exhaust Showing Emissions Leaving

The catalytic converter is an important part of your car, as it prevents the air from being flooded with the pollutants and toxic gases produced by your exhaust. You might not have heard of a catalytic converter before, but if you’ve got a petrol car that’s been manufactured after 1993, your car likely has one.

Your exhaust creates emissions like hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide, which are harmful and damaging to the atmosphere. The catalytic converter reduces the total amount of these pollutants. It does this by converting them into water vapour and gases which are less harmful, by catalysing a redox reaction (an oxidation and a reduction reaction).

Looking to learn a bit more about catalytic converters? Our catalytic converters page is full of information about how they work and what they do, or keep reading below to find out more about how important they are - and how to tell when you may need a new one.

What happens if I don’t get a catalytic converter replacement?

Rather than looking at the technical side of how catalytic converters work, we should consider the impact a damaged converter can have on your car - so we can recognise the value it has when it’s working smoothly.

In the event that your catalytic converter is damaged and you don’t replace or repair it, it can have a negative effect on how your car performs.

In the early stages of breakdown, the converter does not immediately affect the engine of your car. However, the longer it is left without being repaired, the more damage occurs to the engine - to the point that it will deteriorate significantly in performance.

This in turn also affects the exhaust, as it becomes blocked. This impairs your car’s functionality. Catalytic converter issues also mean that while your car is running, there is an increase in harmful exhaust emissions, which are dangerous to the atmosphere. A damaged converter can lead to your engine shutting down entirely if left without repair or replacement.

Signs that you need a catalytic converter replacement

While having to replace parts of your car can be bothersome, replacing your catalytic converter is certainly cheaper than having to pay for a new car. One of the best ways to prevent any lasting damage is to identify any issues with your catalytic converter as soon as they happen. Some of the main symptoms of an ineffective converter are:

  • Slow engine performance
  • Reduced acceleration range
  • Additional heat from under your car
  • The smell of rotten eggs or sulfur coming from your exhaust
  • Dark smoke coming from your exhaust

These symptoms can be the result of other issues, however, you should take your car to be checked as soon as possible so that the cause can be diagnosed. By ensuring that your car undergoes regular maintenance checks, you can reduce the chance of any issues falling under the radar.

Kwik Fit Services

At Kwik Fit, we offer a variety of services to ensure that your car is running smoothly and getting you where you need to be. If you have spotted any of the previously mentioned symptoms of catalytic converter damage, or if you are concerned about the performance of your catalytic converter, please visit your local Kwik Fit centre for a free exhaust check. Find your nearest Kwik Fit Centre here.

Any facts, figures and prices shown in our blog articles are correct at time of publication.

registration plate

Please enter your postcode to see availability information from your local Kwik Fit centre.

Exclusive Online Pricing

We are committed to offering customers our most competitive prices on tyres and more. Read about our exclusive online pricing.

Locate A Centre

Kwik Fit has over 600 centres across the UK including Northern Ireland, many of which are open 7 days a week for your convenience.


We offer a series of FAQs to help you learn more about our services or your vehicle.

Customer Care

0800 75 76 77
You can reach our customer care team 6 days a week from 9:00am to 6:00pm on Monday and Thursday, 8:30am to 6:00pm Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, 8:30am to 5:00pm Saturday, and 10:00am to 4:00pm on Bank Holidays.