The obligation to install catalytic converters in new cars has been in force for several tens of years now. So what about the cars which were produced before that date? Will they be MOTed without a cat? What about the popular Diesel cars? What exhaust emission standards does a car have to meet to be licensed? Below you will find the answers to all those questions.
Since when has the use of catalytic converter been compulsory?A catalytic converter resembles a metal can housing a monolith of a honeycomb structure. A converter is quite expensive due to the content of noble metals such as platinum, rhodium or palladium.
CARS MANUFACTURED BEFORE 1995
It is obvious that cars that left the production lines after 1995 are equipped with catalytic converters. But what about the cars made before that date? Such cars may be but do not necessarily are equipped with catalytic converters. It depends on the data provided in the vehicle registration card. If the catalytic converter field is checked the converter will be tested during the MOT. However, if the presence of the converter is not indicated in the vehicle registration card your car will be licensed even without the catalytic converter in place.
It is important to remember that, since 2007, it has been forbidden to drive your car in cities of many European countries e.g. Germany.
CATALYTIC CONVERTER IN DIESEL CARS
Initially, catalytic converters were installed in petrol engine cars only but in view of the growing environmental pollution the catalytic converters have been used in Diesel engine cars since 2005 i.e. when the new Euro 4 exhaust gas emission standard became effective. Although the design of catalytic converters used in Diesel cars is slightly different from the standard one they still serve the same purpose.
EUROPEAN EXHAUST GAS EMISSION STANDARDS
The first exhaust gas emission standard, now called Euro 1, was introduced in 1992. Euro 2 standard was implemented 4 years later with Euro 3 becoming effective in 2000. Euro 6 standard has been in force since 1 September 2014. Each of those gradually reduced the allowed content of carbon oxides, hydrocarbons and, additionally, particulate matter for compression-ignition engines. It is estimated that the regulations helped to reduce the CO2 emission 6 times as compared to Euro 1, with the reduction of particulate matter reaching 97% and that of hydrocarbons being 11 times lower. There are voices that say Euro 7 is about to be created but as of now it is still unknown whether the new, even more stringent standard will come into force. There is no doubt however that a catalytic converter is a mandatory equipment. Should it be illegally removed your car will not be licensed and, additionally, it may result in fines in case of a routine road check.