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CostHelper > Cars  > Catalytic Converter

Catalytic Converter Cost


How Much Does a Catalytic Converter Cost?

 
average costTwo-Way Catalytic Converter: $175-$840+, Installedhigh costThree-Way Catalytic Converter: $600-$3,000+, Installed
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Resembling a muffler and sometimes called a "cat" or a "catcon," a catalytic converter is part of a vehicle's exhaust system. A catalytic converter uses chemical reactions to convert the toxic elements in the engine exhaust into less-toxic substances.

Typical costs:

  • A two-way or dual catalytic converter (typically found in diesel engines and in gasoline engines manufactured before 1981) typically costs $100-$600 or more, depending on the year, make and model of vehicle, and whether the part is made by the vehicle's original manufacturer (OEM parts) or another company (aftermarket parts). Installation generally takes about an hour, depending on the vehicle, and costs about $75-$120 an hour. This raises the total price for parts and labor to $175-$850 or more. For example, JC Whitney charges $186 for the aftermarket Bosal 49-state Legal Catalytic Converter[1] (not legal in California) for a 1998 Chevrolet S10.
  • A three-way catalytic converter (typical in most gasoline cars since 1981) can cost $200-$2,500 or more, depending on the year, make and model of vehicle, and whether the part is OEM or aftermarket. Installation takes about an hour on average, depending on the vehicle; total costs for parts and labor can be $300-$3,000 or more. CarMD.com[2] names replacing a catalytic converter as the third most common car repair related to a "check engine" warning light, and estimates the average cost for parts and labor at $1,029.
  • Catalytic converters on older model cars tend to have a simpler design, and are less expensive to replace than more recent high-tech versions. However, the older and rarer a vehicle is, the more costly it is to replace parts like a catalytic converter.
Related articles: Muffler, Tune-up, Oil Change, Replacing a Timing Belt, Replacing a Water Pump, Towing a Car

What should be included:
  • Before replacing a catalytic converter, check whether it is still under warranty. Under the EPA's Federal Emissions Warranty, the catalytic converter must be covered for eight years or 80,000 miles, whichever comes first.
  • In most cases, a catalytic converter doesn't fail unless a problem with a related part like a spark plug or an exhaust valve is ignored. Symptoms of catalytic converter problems[3] include trouble accelerating, a sudden drop in fuel efficiency, an odor like sulfur or rotten eggs in the exhaust, or failing an emissions test.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency prohibits[4] installing an aftermarket catalytic converter that doesn't meet EPA standards, or a used converter that has not been properly tested and label.
Additional costs:
  • Catalytic converters contain precious metals like platinum, which can make the converters a target of thieves who sell them to metal recyclers for $50-$250, according to the Sacramento Police Department[5] in California. Security measures can include an etching kit[6] ($15-$25), welding additional metal on the converter, or a catalytic converter lock[7] ($50-$160).
Discounts:
  • Most of the cost of replacing a catalytic converter is for the part itself rather than labor charges. Do-it-yourself installation is possible, but this doesn't necessarily save much money. The exact procedures vary depending on the year, make and model of the vehicle, but AutoMD.com provides a general overview of how to replace a catalytic converter[8] , with both written and video instructions.
Shopping for a catalytic converter:
  • A catalytic converter replacement must be compatible with the specific year, make and model of vehicle. The work can be done by a dealership, a muffler shop or a standard repair shop or department. The National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence provides a searchable directory[9] of certified shops.
  • Consumer Reports lists tips for finding a good mechanic[10] .
  • Catalytic converters are available from retailers like Amazon[11] , AutoPartsWarehouse.com[12] and Autozone.com[13] .
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External Resources:
  1.  www.jcwhitney.com/bosal-catalytic-converter-49-state-legal-no-ca-shipments/p2023404.jcw...
  2.  corp.carmd.com/PressCenter/2012/html/CarMD_VHI2_Embargo_032812_PRNewswire.htm
  3.  www.brakeandfrontend.com/issue/article.aspx?contentid=38643
  4.  www.epa.gov/otaq/cert/factshts/catcvrts.pdf
  5.  www.sacrt.com/documents/catalytic.pdf
  6.  www.amazon.com/Catalytic-Converter-Security-Etching-Kit/dp/B007AIY6CS
  7.  www.cat-lock.com/
  8.  www.automd.com/97/how-to-replace-a-catalytic-converter/
  9.  www.ase.com/Landing-Pages/Car-Owners/Find-a-Repair-Shop/Shop-Locator.aspx
  10.  www.consumerreports.org/cro/2012/12/how-to-find-a-great-car-mechanic/index.htm
  11.  www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss_1?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=catalytic+conve...
  12.  www.autopartswarehouse.com/category/engine_-and-_drivetrain/catalytic_converters_-and-_...
  13.  www.autozone.com/autozone/parts/2005-Scion-xB/Catalytic-Converter/_/N-jmqz9Z9l2w7
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