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Catalytic Converters for Saturns

The catalytic converter is an essential component of the exhaust system. All Saturn vehicles have one, and when you suspect that your converter is faulty, you should find a replacement part quickly. When a converter fails, it can have a significant impact on engine performance.

What is a catalytic converter?

The catalytic converter is responsible for purifying the harmful compounds found in your car exhaust. It transforms these harmful compounds - hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxide - into compounds less detrimental to the environment. These converters look like metal canisters, but they contain a potent chemical catalyst, such as platinum or palladium, which converts vehicular emissions.

In most Saturn vehicles, the catalytic converter is located near the exhaust manifold. This converter allows it to receive all the engine's toxic compounds. These compounds then travel through a series of honeycomb beads and two catalysts: reduction and oxidation. The transformed emissions then exit via the muffler.

What are common signs of a faulty converter?

If you suspect that your Saturn has a faulty converter, you should be aware of the following signs:

  • Changes in Fuel Efficiency: The converter monitors the oxygen level in exhaust gases, and the vehicle uses these measurements to adjust the air/fuel ratio. If the converter stops working, the Saturn vehicle may not be able to use fuel efficiently.
  • Acceleration Issues: Faulty converters can also hinder a vehicle's ability to accelerate. This problem is usually caused by a restriction in exhaust flow.
  • Rattling Noises: Inside every converter, there is a honeycomb-shaped catalytic component. If this honeycomb breaks apart, you may hear a rattling sound coming from the back of your car.
  • Check Engine Light: If you notice that your check engine light is on, faulty catalytic conversion might be to blame. The car monitors the air/fuel ratio, and when this part is not producing the correct ratio, the light turns on to alert you to the problem.
What's the difference between direct fit and universal fit?

When searching for replacement exhaust components for a Saturn, drivers will find both universal fit and direct fit catalytic converters. There is a slight difference between these parts:

  • Direct Fit: Direct fit catalytic converters are designed for specific Saturn models. When you choose a direct fit part, you will not have to adjust the exhaust system or mount space. These parts simply bolt on.
  • Universal Fit: Universal fit parts are compatible with many vehicles. While many Saturn drivers will find success with these parts, they may require modifications to the system.