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What does a catalytic converter do? I need a new one but they won't have it in until the weekend. Am I safe driving with the one I have? The car is very sluggish going up hills.

Answers from the Automotive Experts

Brandy Schaffels, Editor at AskPatty.com, Inc. The catalytic converter works by using a â€"catalyst” to create a chemical reaction in which your car's exhaust gases are â€"converted” to produce less harmful, or even inert matter. In road going vehicles, this can result in a 90% conversion of bad gases into less harmful gases that flow through the mufflers and out the exhaust tips. You can find important information about your catalytic converter here: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/question482.htm Your car's sluggish performance is probably being caused by the failure of your catalytic converter, and you'll probably also see a drop in fuel economy. You should be safe to drive cautiously (don't go street racing or towing!) until the new unit is installed this weekend, but you may want to confirm this with the technician who will be performing your replacement. You might also want to look into what caused the catalytic converter to fail. You don't mention your mileage, but your car seems very young to have experienced this failure. Learn more about the life expectancy of your catalytic converter here: http://auto.howstuffworks.com/under-the-hood/car-part-longevity/catalytic-converter-last.htm

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