A catalytic converter is a device that uses a catalyst to convert three harmful compounds in car exhaust into harmless compounds.
The three harmful compounds are:
Carbon monoxide is a poison for any air-breathing animal. Nitrogen oxides lead to smog and acid rain, and hydrocarbons produce smog.
In a catalytic converter, the catalyst (in the form of platinum and palladium) is coated onto a ceramic honeycomb or ceramic beads that are housed in a muffler-like package attached to the exhaust pipe. The catalyst helps to convert carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide. It converts the hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide and water. It also converts the nitrogen oxides back into nitrogen and oxygen.
An aftermarket performance exhaust can free some of the power in your engine. These systems allow for a quicker, more efficient path for exhaust gases to escape. This means your engine "breathes" better, so spent fuel and air exit the combustion chambers faster. That means more fuel and air can be burned to create more power.
There are several other good reasons to add an aftermarket exhaust system. One of the most noticeable is the subtle, but distinctly aggressive, change in exhaust note. Many of the better systems are only slightly louder than your stock exhaust at idle, but they deepen to a low "growl" during acceleration.
The diameter of the pipes is another thing to keep in mind, especially if you're adding more aftermarket performance parts. Most cars and trucks benefit from slightly larger piping, but if you go too big, you can actually hurt your vehicle's performance. On the other hand, if you are adding a turbocharger or supercharger, you'll want to go much larger than your stock exhaust
No matter what direction you choose, an aftermarket exhaust is sure to add to your car or truck's performance, appearance, and sound. Whether you're looking for more power, show-quality looks, or both, the right exhaust system can change your car or truck for the better.