Why Does a Car Need Two Catalytic Converters?

by Robert Morello

Catalytic converters were first put into use in the 1970s in response to the growing pollution problem in cities throughout the U.S. Today, all road-legal cars must, by law, be equipped with a catalytic converter and some even have two.

Function

Catalytic converters remove harmful elements from automotive exhaust by forcing the fumes to pass over metallic catalysts, including platinum, rhodium and palladium, which neutralize the toxins and transform them into relatively safe components. The entire casing of the converter is constructed of stainless steel. All of these expensive metals make a catalytic converter a costly piece of equipment.

Cars with Dual Exhaust

While most production cars have only one catalytic converter, some do come with two. Cars with dual exhaust often have two catalytic converters --- one for each set of pipes running from the headers to the rear of the vehicle.

Cars with Two In-Line Catalytic Coverters

Newer high-end vehicles are now coming equipped with two catalytic converters as part of an even more stringent emissions program. The first converter breaks down the exhaust as normal, while the second acts both as a filter for tiny particles and a pump which releases a chemical mixture that further reduces any harmful gases which may have escaped the first converter.

About the Author

Robert Morello has an extensive travel, marketing and business background. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Columbia University in 2002 and has worked in travel as a guide, corporate senior marketing and product manager and travel consultant/expert. Morello is a professional writer and adjunct professor of travel and tourism.

Photo Credits

  • photo_camera Power station in the rural image by Kavita from Fotolia.com