With all new cars now fitted with catalytic converters - cats - the AA has produced some guidance for owners of such cars, many of whom, as with any new technology, don't clearly understand what the cat does and what you shouldn't do with it.
Most people will be aware that only unleaded petrol can be used but fewer will know that you should never push or tow start a cat equipped car, as this can flood the cat with petrol which could ignite.
Similarly, one should never press the accelerator pedal before switching off the ignition. While this was commonly done with older cars fitted with mechanical fuel pumps, if you do this with a cat it loads the cat with fuel which can ignite.
Also, it is important to keep the car properly serviced and in good tune. If the engine is running too rich or burning oil, this can clog the cat's filter and reduce its effectiveness in reducing pollution.
One last thought, with visions of next summer. Avoid parking a cat equipped car on long grass or leaves. The cat can reach very high operating temperatures and could ignite the grass!
Article © Graham Benge 2007