The process that drives an internal combustion engine starts when gas from the vehicle’s tank enters the combustion chamber inside the cylinder head. Next, this fuel is mixed with exterior air that was vented through an air filter. A sparkplug then generates a spark as directed by an electrical system of a distributor cap and wires, igniting the air/fuel mixture and creating a controlled explosion.
Repeated explosions drive a piston up and down within a cylinder, moving a crankshaft that converts the power into a circular motion that drives the transmission and ultimately the wheels. In the meantime, exhaust from the air/fuel mixture’s explosions exits the engine’s combustion chambers.
The exhaust leaves the engine through exhaust manifolds or headers. Every car engine feature several cylinders, and each produces its own exhaust that the exhaust manifold collects. These gases then progress through an exhaust system and enter the tailpipe.
The Catalytic Converter
Prior to leaving the exhaust system, gases undergo an environmentally important process within the catalytic converter, which decreases the volume of pollutants entering the atmosphere. Vehicles generate the most air pollution in the USA, and the Environmental Protection Agency began implementing standards for vehicle emissions and fuel under the Clean Air Act of 1970. As a result, manufacturers began installing catalytic converters in their cars.
Using chemical reactions, a catalytic converter nearly eliminates all toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxide, from exhaust. This is accomplished through a composition of catalytic metals. Rhodium, platinum, and palladium chemically transform exhaust gases into carbon dioxide, nitrogen, and water, drastically reducing pollutants.
Importance of Exhaust System
Insisting on driving a vehicle with a faulty or damaged exhaust system will result in expensive repairs. It is wiser to address an issue as soon as you notice it. Bear in mind that the role of the muffler and exhaust system is much greater than reducing the running noise of a vehicle. Aside from decreasing pollutants and making sure a car is running efficiently, these two components provide an important safety measure by keeping poisonous carbon monoxide from accumulating within a passenger cabin.
Part 2 will cover the indicators of a faulty exhaust system.
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