What’s Exactly in Car Exhaust?

January 18th, 2013 by

Car ExhaustIn an earlier blog entry, we talked about exactly how gasoline makes your car go vroom, and some of the things that gasoline suppliers add. If you haven’t read it, be sure to check it out.

We left off at the fuel burning and didn’t talk about the exhaust that’s left over. With global warming being a hot-button topic and car exhaust being claimed as a large culprit, it’s important to understanding exactly what’s leftover when your vehicle burns gasoline and how modern technology is helping to reduce these harmful gases.

A Closer Look at Exhaust

Car exhaust contains the byproducts of the combustion of gasoline in your engine. In an ideal situation, pure gasoline would react with pure oxygen, giving off only two byproducts: carbon dioxide and water. Neither reactants are ever pure in a real world situation, though. Impurities in the gasoline like sulfur react to create toxic sulfurous oxides, and small amounts of nitrous oxides build up over time to make smog. Large amounts of carbon monoxide, a poisonous gas, are also released.

If you’ve ever looked at your exhaust system on the underside of your vehicle, you might have noticed a shoe-box sized unit in the middle of the tubing. This is your catalytic converter. Using precious metals, the unit acts as a catalyst in a chemical reaction that works to convert harmful chemicals into less harmful ones. For example, carbon monoxide goes through an oxidation process to turn into carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxides are turned into water and nitrogen molecules.

Fuel that is unburned in your cylinders also becomes broken down. If too much fuel goes unburned, though, like if you’re experiencing a lot of engine misfires, this can create a lot of heat in your catalytic converter and create a potential meltdown. Many modern vehicles are equipped with systems that warn if this is about to happen.

Reduce Your Ecological Imprint

The benefits of owning a fuel efficient vehicle like a Honda are immediately apparent with money you save by not visiting the pump as often. Because Honda designs their vehicles to be fuel efficient, they generally burn less fuel to go farther. This means that you’re putting fewer noxious gases into the atmosphere as you drive, too.

To learn more about Honda’s different fuel efficient vehicles, and what types of features they have to offer, don’t hesitate to stop by Middletown Honda.