Here are some of the answers to the commonly asked questions within the aftermarket regarding catalyst type approval:
Q. WHAT IS TYPE APPROVAL?
A. Type approval is the process which ensures that vehicles, their systems and components, meet the appropriate environmental and safety standards. Currently the scheme covers new road vehicles, agricultural tractors, motor cycles and off road vehicles.
The latest part to have new legislation that is impacting the aftermarket is 103R for catalytic converters.
Q. WHAT IS TYPE APPROVAL FOR CATALYTIC CONVERTERS 103R?
A. This new legislation means that catalysts produced to type approval 103R must meet set levels of emission reduction, noise and vehicle performance.
Q. HOW DOES THIS IMPACT THE AFTERMARKET?
A. It means that if a vehicle comes into your workshop requiring a replacement catalysts and it was registered on or after 1 March 2001, then you must fit a type approved catalyst.
Q. WHICH VEHICLES DOES THIS IMPACT?
A. All vehicles registered on or after 1 March 2001. The easy way to remember is that a vehicle with a ”Y” plate or after needs a type approved catalyst while a vehicle with an ”X” plate or earlier does not.
Q. WHEN DOES 103R COME INTO EFFECT?
A. On 13 August 2009 the legislation comes into being. From this date it is illegal to supply a non type approved replacement catalytic converter for a vehicle first registered after 1 March 2001.
Q. WHY DOES A TYPE APPROVED CATALYST COST MORE?
A. The catalysts are produced to a much higher and exacting standard to make sure they pass the TA tests. This process is time consuming and has a cost.
Q. WHAT”S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A NON TYPE APPROVED CATALYST AND A TYPE APPROVED?
A. Visually they look the same, the difference is internal. To meet the standards the type approved catalysts are produced to a higher quality and have greater quantity of precious metals and larger brick volume.
Q. CAN I STILL BUY NON TYPE APPROVED CATALYST UNTIL 13 NOVEMBER?
A. Probably not. Most distributors and factors should be along way down the path of changing stock over from non type approved to type approved. Elite Auto Centres has been working on type approval systems for the last 18 months to make sure we have the largest range available.
Q. WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF I FIT A NON TYPE APPROVED CAT TO A VEHICLE THAT REQUIRES A TYPE APPROVED CAT?
A. This legislation is being policed and anyone caught not fitting a type approved unit when one is required faces a £5000 fine. You also run the risk that the MIL/OBD light will remain on and you will be required to fit a new part under warranty.
Q. WHO WILL BE POLICING THE SCHEME?
A. The scheme will be policed by the Vehicle Certificate Agency (VCA). They have stated that they will begin to apply an enforcement policy in equal force on investigating compliance by manufacturers, importers, distributors and retailers in their respective roles.
Q. HOW CAN THE CATALYST BE CHECKED?
A. The catalyst will be marked and the VCA will be running random checks to make sure all products fitted after 13 November 2009 comply. The vehicles onboard diagnostics will eventually be able to detect if a non type approved catalyst has been fitted when a type approved unit is required. This will trigger the MIL light.
Q. WILL A DEALER SUPPLIED OE PART BE TYPE APPROVED?
A. Yes it will.
Q. WILL A TYPE APPROVED CATALYST KEEP THE MIL LIGHT OFF?
A. It will, as long as the vehicle is set up, and running correctly. Any faults that caused the original catalyst to fail will need to be resolved and the error codes removed from the vehicles OBD.
Q. WHAT OTHER BENEFITS ARE THERE FOR FITTING A TYPE APPROVED CATALYST?
A. Not only does it mean you are meeting current legislation, a type approved catalyst brings complete reassurance that the catalyst will fit the vehicle it is intended for and it is compatible with the OBD. The benefit to the vehicle”s owner is there is no loss of performance or fuel consumption after the approved part is fitted.
Q. WHAT DO I DO IF I NOTICE A VEHICLE IN MY WORKSHOP HAS A NON TYPE APPROVED CATALYST AND IT WAS REGISTERED AFTER 1 MARCH 2001?
A. That depends. If it needs replacing, fit a TA cat. If it doesn”t need replacing, leave it. However, if you notice a new non-TA unit you may wish to point out the legislation to the owner.
Q. HOW WILL I KNOW IF A CATALYST SUPPLIED IS A TYPE APPROVED UNIT OR NOT?
A. All type approved catalysts will be marked with a code, example shown below. The code shows the country of origin followed by 103R which is the UN regulation 103, and finally the homologation guideline and number.
In addition all type approved catalysts supplied by Elite Auto Centres will be indicated by a label.
Q. WOULD A NON TYPE APPROVED CATALYST FAIL AN MOT?
A. No. the MOT checks do not yet cover whether a vehicle is or is not equipped with a type approved catalyst. However, if the catalyst fails the MOT emissions test it will need to be replaced with a TA catalyst if the vehicle was first registered after 1 March 2001.
Q. WHAT HAPPENS IF I AM OFFERED A NON TYPE APPROVED UNIT?
A. It is illegal for a supplier to offer a bob type approved unit after 13 August 2009 for a vehcile first registered after 1 March 2001.
Q. DO DIESEL PARTICULATE FILTERS (DPF) REQUIRE TYPE APPROVAL?
A. DPF”s do not require type approval. Exceptions are if the vehicle is a Euro V which was introduced in 2009. If the catalyst and DPF unit are combined, the catalyst will require type approval.
Q. DO CES HAVE STOCKS READY TO PURCHASE NOW?
A. At this moment in time we have over 1,200 type approved catalysts in our range, and this is a range being continually developed. With this range we are the UK”s largest stockist of type approved catalysts, exceeding our nearest competitor by over 300 units. We have the most up to date cataloging system in the UK, which means you get the right part first time.
Q. CAN I REQUEST A TYPE APPROVED CERTIFICATE FOR A PART?
A. Yes. Please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
A. In theory this is a period of grace for distributors, retailers and garages when, although the law is in place, it will not be enforced on these groups. However, the law can be enforced on manufacturers and importers. Do not be misled; it is illegal from 13 August 2009 for a manufacturer or importer to supply a non-TA catalyst. Be safe, be sensible and only fit TA catalysts from 13 August 2009, then you do not need to worry about legal compliance.