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Catalytic Converter Replacement: All You Want to Know About It 

  • Car Services
  • Gerard Stevens
  • 5 minutes

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How would you feel when your car runs rough or the mileage drops than the usual level? Sometimes you may even get a foul odor coming from the exhaust. You can know this as the engine light will be on. So, why does this happen? Well, it is high time that you think of catalytic converter replacement!  

A catalytic converter is an integral part of your car’s exhaust and emissions system. This emissions control device located near the exhaust manifold reduces the toxicity of the exhaust. If the device fails, it won’t do it effectively, which means your car will likely fail a smog test. Damage to your catalytic converter, whether it’s rusted through, producing a rattling noise, or plugged up, can result in a large repair bill. 

Our blog has covered everything about catalytic converter replacement, how to do it, and how much it costs to replace it replaced? 

What causes catalytic converters to fail?  

Since there are no internal moving parts, most catalytic converters can last around 10-15 years. But, be mindful that the adjacent components don’t have a long lifespan like the converter. Improper working of these components can reduce the life of converters. These are a few possibilities that would lead to the failure of catalytic converters.  

  • Antifreeze in the exhaust system 
  • Faulty spark plugs 
  • Oxygen sensor failure 
  • Unburned fuel in the exhaust 
  • There is oil in the exhaust 

catalytic converter replacement

What are the signs of a bad catalytic converter? 

Try to get a catalytic converter replacement if your car shows these signs! 

  • Reduction in fuel economy
  • Foul smell coming from the exhaust
  • Check engine light turns on
  • Car fails in smog test
  • Dip in engine performance
  • Rattling noise coming from underneath your vehicle
  • Dark exhaust smoke coming from your car’s tailpipe

Catalytic converter replacement: Should you fix it yourself or have it repaired? 

Whether you can do the catalytic converter replacement or not is determined by how it is attached to the vehicle. The majority of the carmakers will weld the converter in place. If it’s OEM, the replacement time will be longer. The old one will be cut out with a Sawzall during the repair to make it free. You can save around $100 on labor if you have the tools and expertise to replace the converter. In some cars, you can find the converter attached to the engine, and you can consider it a do-it-yourself project. Be aware that the repair process can be challenging as the chances are high that hardware is rusted.  

Tools required for replacing a catalytic converter 

These are the tools that you require for catalytic converter replacement. 

  • Replacement catalytic converter 
  • Jack stands 
  • Set of ratchets and sockets 
  • Oxygen sensor socket 
  • Penetrating oil 

Steps to follow for catalytic converter replacement

1. Raise the vehicle

Ensure that you buy the correct part based on your car’s make, model, and year. Always buy a new one for replacing. Place all the four wheels of your car on the jack stands. Before starting to work, let the air circulate to cool things down. 

2. Find the catalytic converter

Then look for the catalytic converter. Use the special socket to remove the oxygen sensor and its connections. Then remove the bolts at the flanges using a ratchet, starting at the back and working forward. Instead of putting pressure on them, spray them with penetrating oil and leave them for a few minutes. Then try removing the bolts again. 

3. Replace the catalytic converter

The next step is to swap the old converter with the new one. Then replace the oxygen sensor and its connected fittings. Ensure that the replacement catalytic converter is tightly in place. Welded components or rusted bolts are the things that make catalytic converter replacement a tedious and lengthy process. 

4. Restart your car

Once finished, turn the ignition on and ensure that the check engine light is off. If the light is still on, it can indicate either a defective catalytic converter or a defective oxygen sensor. Use a diagnostic scan tool to determine whether the catalytic converter requires another repair.  

How long does it take to replace a catalytic converter? 

Typically, it takes around an hour to install a new catalytic converter.  

Does insurance cover catalytic converter theft? Here’s more info!

How much is a catalytic converter replacement? 

Catalytic converter replacement cost usually ranges between $1,000 and $2,500. It is always safe to avoid cheap catalytic converter replacement as you need to replace it at times. There are a few aspects that affect the replacement cost.  

  • Your car’s make and model 
  • Fees for diagnostics and other issues 
  • The number of hours taken for replacement 
  • The replacement part’s quality 

What happens if I don’t replace the catalytic converter on time? 

One of the most critical issues is that vehicle’s mileage goes down. Your car will encounter issues like sluggish engine, engine damage, and engine failure. So, repair or do the catalytic converter on time. Never let the repair/replacement cost scare you!  

Here’s more info on top-rated airport parkingthe best parking spots in your city, the most affordable insurance for your car, and top-rated car washes near you.


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