How To Break-In Your Catalytic Converter
How to break-in your Catalytic Converter
To maintain your catalytic converter in proper working condition, it’s important to break it in properly. By maintaining your catalytic converter for many years with a minimum effort, you’ll avoiding unnecessary costs. When you properly break-in your catalytic converter, it continues to work as it should and delivers the emissions reliability required by law through a long service life.
If the converter is not warmed-up, or broken-in, properly the substrate which pads its inside could be adversely affected and eventually cause the catalytic converter to fail prematurely.
The best way to avoid this issue, and any warranty issue that may arise, is to include the warm-up period as a key part of your overall catalytic converter installation procedure.
The maintenance of a catalytic converter starts with the few steps for a proper break-in or warm-up:
- Start the engine but do not touch the gas pedal
- Idle the engine and allow it to warm-up slowly
- After five minutes, increase the engine speed to 2,500 rpm
- Hold the engine speed at 2,500 rpm for two minutes
- Allow the engine to cool down
- Road-test the vehicle to confirm correct installation
This inside pad of a catalytic converter is made from vermiculite, a mineral held together by a fiber mat and an organic binder. This matting is wrapped around the catalytic converter’s ceramic brick and installed in an unexpanded state. During the first heat up, the fiber mat and binder burn off, and the matting gets looser before it expands to fill the converter cavity and hold the ceramic brick in place. If that warm-up is not done properly, the brick can come loose and get damaged.
This problem typically occurs when someone installs the catalytic converter and immediately returns the vehicle to its owner without breaking it in. The owner drives away and runs the car for a long distance or lets the vehicle idle for an extended period. Under these conditions, the matting, which is intended to secure the substrate, will not expand properly and hold it in place.
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