Gov calls on workshops and general public to report non-compliant catalytic converters

Motorists reminded of potential penalties for using a vehicle that fails to comply with air pollutant emissions standards

Gov calls on workshops and general public to report non-compliant catalytic converters
Catalytic converters are the most important parts of a car’s emission control system, according to the DfT. Image: Bigstock.

Outlining the strict emissions testing procedures which catalytic converters are required to pass and the legal requirements manufacturers and suppliers have to comply with to gain approval, The Department for Transport (DfT) has published a new document which calls on the industry and public to report “potential non-compliance”.

Manufacturers and suppliers of replacement catalytic converters have a legal duty to ensure the products they sell comply with the applicable laws, including approval requirements governing the fitting to certain vehicles.

Both the DfT and the Department for Transport’s Market Surveillance Unit (MSU) has said it welcomes “any information or concerns from within the relevant industries or from members of the public” regarding potential non-compliance.

Details of possible non-compliance can be sent to [email protected].

In an official document published earlier this month, the department said: “We are committed to enforcing vehicle safety and environmental standards.

“The Department for Transport’s Market Surveillance Unit will continue to check that vehicles and components available on the UK market comply with the legislative requirements to which they were approved.

“Manufactures, suppliers and distributors who are found to have breached these requirements should expect to be the subject of enforcement action.”

Driver penalties

The DfT has also warned drivers that it is an offence under the Road vehicles (Construction and Use) Regulations (Regulation 61a(3)) to use a vehicle which has been modified in such a way that it no longer complies with the air pollutant emissions standards it was designed to meet.

Potential penalties for failing to comply with Regulation 61a are fines of up to £1,000 for a car or £2,500 for a light goods vehicle.

What catalytic converters do

Fitted to diesel and petrol vehicles to reduce the level of harmful pollutants, catalytic converters initiate chemical reactions within the exhaust that convert harmful pollutants, such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, into less harmful products such as carbon dioxide and water.

The devices enable vehicles to meet European emission standards, improving air quality and reducing impacts on health.

Type approval

Pollution control devices such as catalytic converters are required to pass strict emissions testing procedures as part of the type approval process before they can be sold in Europe.

Testing typically involves the measurement of emissions at the vehicle tailpipe during a laboratory driving cycle, but also includes real-world emissions testing for new vehicles.

Aftermarket cats

Aftermarket catalytic converters are tested on a vehicle type that it is intended to be installed on.

The tailpipe emissions are measured and are compared to that of an original catalytic converter.

The replacement must also meet any relevant durability, noise and vehicle performance requirements in order to gain approval.

If successful, an international approval mark will be added to the replacement catalytic converter to enable it to be sold.

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