Do Diesels Have Catalytic Converters?

Catalytic converters have become a household name for their price and importance to the environment, but do diesel vehicles still utilize this technology despite their differences to traditional gasoline engines?

What Are Catalytic Converters?

Catalytic converters are exhaust devices that use a honeycomb-patterned metal component plated in catalyst material (rhodium, platinum, palladium), and are responsible for removing harmful pollutants from exhaust gasses. 

These catalyst materials engage in a chemical reaction with the emissions that removed harmful gasses before they reach the outside air. 


Are Catalytic Converters Used on Trucks?

Since 1975, the United States has required the use of catalytic converters in gasoline engines to reduce the number of harmful emissions. 

Diesel engines on the other hand burn a different type of fuel and operate in a different way, so most diesel vehicles did not use to utilize catalytic converters and avoided regulation from the government following 1975. 

Come the 1990s, however, and manufacturers and government entities alike started to realize that catalytic converters were also important in diesel vehicles. Since then, the vast majority of diesel vehicles have utilized catalytic converters in their exhaust systems.

Gasoline vs. Diesel Catalytic Converters

While they serve the same purpose, catalytic converters used in diesels are different than their gasoline counterparts. Since gas and diesel are different fuel sources and are ignited in different ways, they let off a different mix of gasses.

Emissions from diesel engines are higher in levels of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter, while also exiting the engine at a higher temperature. 

So not only do diesel catalytic converters use a variation of the part found in most cars called a diesel oxidation catalyst, but their exhaust systems also use diesel particulate filters (DPFs) to catch particulate matter (better known as soot).

The vast majority of modern diesel engines also use Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) and require the use of diesel exhaust fluid (DEF). DEF is a solution of urea and water used to neutralize nitrogen oxides. 

The Wrap Up

So, the answer to the question of if diesels have catalytic converters, the answer is yes in most cases. As we become more vigilant of our carbon footprints, it would be hard to find a modern diesel vehicle that doesn’t utilize some version of emissions reduction.

Diesel catalytic converters still use the precious metals that make their gasoline counterparts so prone to being stolen, so you should keep an eye on yours. 

If you’re worried about your diesel vehicle’s emissions system, bring it to the experts at Matson Point S in Riverton. Our team will inspect and repair your vehicle with the highest level of service!

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