Catalytic Converters - Universal

Frequently Asked Questions:

What is a Catalytic Converter?

A muffler shaped component of a vehicles exhaust system that is designed to reduce the amount of emissions a vehicle produces.


Where do I find the Catalytic Converter ?

The Catalytic converter is located in the exhaust pipe between the exhaust manifold on the engine and the rear muffler. Some Vehicles have more than one Catalytic Converter, and also oxygen sensors.

Why has my Catalytic Converter failed?

There could be several reasons for this, other than being damaged in an accident or some kind of ‘driving incident’ the Catalytic Converter can fail due to a vehicles engine not running correctly. In this type of situation the failed Catalytic Converter is often a symptom of another problem that also needs to be addressed. Examples of these causes include (but are not limited to)
• Poor engine tuning
• Excessive fuel entering the Catalytic Converter
• Overloading the vehicle or Trailer
• Oil, Coolant or fuel additives entering the Catalytic Converter
• A malfunctioning Oxygen sensor

My car seems ok, why should I spend money replacing it?

A malfunctioning Catalytic Converter means your car is polluting more than it needs to, this may mean you are in breach on NZ emission legislation.

Ok so my catalytic converter needs replacing, what are my options?

You have 3 options, the first is to have a genuine part fitted that is made by the manufacturer of the vehicle, this is the most expensive and could be delayed by the part having to be sourced from overseas due to New Zealands small market.

The second option is to fit a ‘direct fit’ aftermarket unit this will bolt straight into your existing exhaust system.

The third option is to fit a universal unit; this will require some modification to your system and may need to be welded in.

Options 2 and 3 will usually be much cheaper than the first but it is a matter of consumer preference and specific application as to which is the choice for you.

How can I avoid having a failed Catalytic Converter?

To prevent your catalytic converter from failing you can do the following :

  • You should always service the vehicle regularly to the manufacturer’s specifications.
  • Have the vehicles tuning and ignition system checked regularly by a qualified mechanic.
  • Avoid using fuel additives and fuel with a high sulphur content.
  • Avoid driving through deep water or on damaged roads and drive carefully over speed bumps or off road.
  • Avoid overloading the vehicle or trailer.

What are Euro Standards ?

Euro Standards are emission standards that have been set by the European Union, to reduce the levels of emissions in vehicles, via increasing emissions standards.

The current car exhaust emission requirements regulate five groups of compounds: nitrogen oxides (NOx), hydrocarbons (HC), carbon monoxide (CO), particulate matter (PM) and lately the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (C02). Of these, carbon monoxide is less significant from the point of view of health and the environment. For light vehicles (under 3.5 tonnes) the exhaust emission standards differ depending on the engine type (petrol or diesel). CO2 is the most important of the greenhouse gases which are contributing to Climate Change.

As soon as the Euro 5 and Euro 6 standards enter into force, Member States must refuse the approval, registration, sale and introduction of vehicles that do not comply with these car exhaust emission limits. An additional delay of one year is allowed for goods transport vehicles and vehicles designed to fulfil specific social needs (category N1, classes II and III, and category N2). Time frame:

  • the Euro 5 standard will come into force on 1 September 2009 for the approval of vehicles, and from 1 January 2011 for the registration and sale of new types of cars;
  • the Euro 6 standard will come into force on 1 September 2014 for the approval of vehicles, and from 1 January 2015 for the registration and sale of new types of cars;

Tax incentives granted by Member States and intended to encourage earlier use of the new limits will be authorised if:

  • they apply for all new vehicles available for sale on the market of a Member State, which meet the requirements of this Regulation before their entry into force;
  • they end on the date the new limits come into force;
  • are worth less than the cost, including fitting, of the devices used on any type of motor vehicle in order to guarantee that the values laid down are not exceeded.

In addition to complying with the emission limits mentioned above, vehicle manufacturers must also ensure that devices fitted to control pollution are able to last for a distance of 160 000 km. In addition, conformity must be checked for a period of 5 years or over a distance of 100 000 km. Given the need for uniform standards, the Commission will establish committees to devise, before 2 July 2008, procedures, tests and specific requirements for the following:

  • tailpipe emissions, including test cycles, low ambient temperature emissions, emissions at idling speed, exhaust gas opacity, and the proper functioning and regeneration of after- treatment systems.
  • evaporative emissions and crankcase emissions;
  • on-board diagnostic systems and the performance of anti-pollution devices while the vehicle is running;
  • durability of anti-pollution devices, replacement parts for emissions control systems, in-service conformity, conformity of production and technical control;
  • carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption;
  • hybrid vehicles;
  • extension of approvals and requirements for small manufacturers;
  • requirements for testing equipment;
  • reference fuels, such as petrol, diesel fuel, gas and biofuels.

Easy and clear access to information on vehicle repair and maintenance is key to guaranteeing free competition on the internal market for information and repair services. To this end, manufacturers must ensure that independent operators have easy, restriction-free and standardised (particularly in terms of compliance with the OASIS standard) access via the internet to information on the repair and upkeep of vehicles, without discrimination in favour of dealerships and official repair workshops. This obligation covers on-board diagnostic systems and their components, diagnostic tools and testing equipment. Charges for accessing such information are permitted if they are reasonable and proportionate.

Although the standards for pollutant emissions have been updated since 1 January 2005 (Euro 4 standard), the EU believes that it is necessary to improve them further, while also considering the implications for the markets and the competitiveness of manufacturers, and the direct and indirect costs for businesses.

This Regulation was drawn up after a wide-ranging consultation with stakeholders. It places the emphasis on reducing emissions of particulates and nitrogen oxides (NOx), particularly for diesel vehicles. It should as a result be possible to achieve marked improvements in health. It should be noted that nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons are ozone precursors.

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