The muffler and catalytic converter are two different parts of your car’s exhaust system.
The muffler is designed to reduce the sound coming from the engine, while the catalytic converter helps control emissions. There are a few differences between these two components that you should know about.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the differences between muffler and catalytic converter so that when you see them next time, you know how they differ from each other.
Catalytic Converter is For Removing Harmful Substances from Exhaust
The catalytic converter is designed to reduce harmful substances in the exhaust gas. This component contains a catalyst that helps convert toxic gases into harmless ones, such as carbon dioxide and water vapor.
The process of converting these toxins takes place under high temperatures inside the converter’s ceramic honeycomb cells. Once this conversion has taken place, it can be passed back out through your car’s tailpipe without any worries about harming anyone with its emissions.
Muffler Suppresses the Sound Coming from the Engine
The muffler is a device that reduces the noise from an engine. Mufflers are often found at the end of exhaust pipes, and they can also be called “silencers.”
A muffler’s main purpose is to prevent unwanted sound waves from leaving the vehicle through its tailpipe. It does this by trapping them inside a chamber with walls made out of metal tubes and baffles, which absorb their energy and prevents it from being released into the environment in order to promote peace within society.
Differences in the Build of Muffler and Catalytic Converter
Mufflers come in all shapes and sizes depending on your vehicle’s make and model. They are fixed under the car in between the exhaust and tailpipe.
Mufflers are typically made from stainless steel, but they come in other metals such as aluminum, titanium, and copper for those looking for something cheaper and lighter weight.
The muffler has been around since the late 1800s when Hiram Percy Maxim patented his own invention of the silencer to reduce not only engine noise levels but also smoke coming out of train engines which was causing nuisance pollution problems on city streets during this time period. He is the pioneer in making both automotive muffler and firearms silencer.
A catalytic converter, on the other hand, is a device that removes pollutants from the exhaust of an internal combustion engine by reacting them with oxygen in the presence of a catalyst such as rhodium, platinum, or palladium, leading to their conversion into harmless gases.
Unlike Muffler, it uses ceramic honeycomb cells covered with precious metal (usually platinum) for this purpose. The basic reaction takes place at around 600° Celsius wherein unburned hydrocarbons in gasoline react with oxygen molecules to form carbon dioxide and water.
Difference in Versatility of Usage
A muffler is a device generally found on automobiles and other internal combustion engines which reduces the noise of an engine’s working by reflecting spent gases or diverting them to absorb their energy in a perforated metal container.
The catalytic converter is a device that treats exhaust gases after leaving an automobile’s internal combustion engine, reducing harmful substances and smog-causing pollutants by changing their chemical composition with nitrogen oxides (NOx) into less hazardous substances such as nitric oxide or water vapor. A catalytic converter will reduce the level of most negative emissions from an automotive engine. You’ll find catalytic converters in many other diesel and gasoline-powered engines as well.
Difference in Durability
A catalytic converter’s lifespan varies based on driving conditions. The more miles a driver puts on their car, the less time its catalyst will last. As well as how hot it is outside and whether or not you drive in stop-and-go traffic all day long.
The average lifespan of catalytic converters ranges from between five to ten years depending on these factors. Your exhaust pipe can tell if your catalytic converter has reached the end of its ability to work properly by smelling like rotten eggs or other unpleasant odors coming out of your tailpipe when you’re idling at a red light for example. When this happens, it’s probably time to replace that part with an OEM replacement unit.
Generally, you should check the catalytic converter’s health when you reach around 50,000 miles so that you can act before it goes bad.
Now about muffler-
In normal circumstances, a muffler will last around 4 to 8 years. The lifespan depends mostly on how much do you ride and where do you live.
You should expect a muffler to give you uninterrupted service for 50,000 to 80,000 miles of the car ride.
Difference in Price
The price of a catalytic converter is generally more expensive than the price of a muffler. The cost difference is largely due to the presence of valuable metals like rhodium, palladium, and platinum in the catalytic converter, which would make it expensive overall.
On the other hand, the muffler is made out of stainless steel or other types of metal that are not so expensive.
Will removing the catalytic converter make the exhaust louder?
Yes, removing the catalytic converter will make an exhaust system louder.
Although the muffler controls the noise and this control does not change even if you remove the catalytic converter. But the catalytic converter does suppress some sound coming out of the exhaust that adds up with the muffler. However, the suppression is so negligible that it will be hard for you to find the difference in most cases.
Will removing catalytic converter hurt the engine?
The catalytic converter is an important component of the car’s exhaust system. It converts toxic gases from gas and oil to less harmful emissions that are not safe to be emitted into the atmosphere.
The catalytic converter also reduces heavy metals in fuel like nickel, lead, mercury, etc., which can cause health hazards if discharged unattended.
However, removing the catalytic converter won’t hurt your engine as the exhaust is already out of the engine setup, and the emission is treated before they are discharged through the tailpipe.
Is it Legal to Remove Catalytic Converter or Muffler?
You’re not allowed to remove or modify a catalytic converter because it operates vital pollution control equipment on the vehicle at all times – even when idling! The only time this component might need to be removed would be for repairs or replacement.
On the other hand, removing one’s muffler without follow-up inspection could result in fines if caught because it’s against noise ordinances and laws.