The national cost for a catalytic converter replacement with CarAdvise in 2024 is between $221 and $2477 with an average of $1025.

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What is a catalytic converter and how does it work?

A catalytic converter changes the byproducts of combustion in your engine into less harmful emissions before they exit the exhaust system of your vehicle.

Looking similar to a small muffler, a catalytic converter is made (usually) of stainless steel and is mounted closer to the engine in the exhaust system. Inside the housing is a ceramic matrix or honeycomb filled with platinum, palladium, and rhodium - metallic chemical elements that serve as catalysts for various chemical reactions to the exhaust gases that pass through. The result of these chemical reactions is that harmful CO, HC, And NOx are changed into CO2, H2O, and Nitrogen gases before they are released into the atmosphere.


How is a a Catalytic Converter Replacement done?

To replace a catalytic converter, a technician must raise and support your vehicle in the air to access the exhaust system underneath. In some cases, the component is bolted to flanges in the exhaust pipe. In other cases, the catalytic converter is welded in place. In the latter, the technician has to cut out the old catalytic converter and weld in a new one. If the part is bolted in place, new seals and hardware are installed as well.

If your catalytic converter needs to be replaced not because it failed but because it was stolen, the technician may need to weld replacement mounting flanges to the exhaust pipe. Or the exhaust pipe(s) may need to be replaced entirely.

Once the new catalytic converter has been installed, your vehicle will likely be test driven. A scan tool might need to be used to reset the check engine light.

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National average cost of a a Catalytic Converter Replacement
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How do I know if my vehicle needs a new catalytic converter?

Signs of a bad catalytic converter - usually one that is plugged, fouled, and restricted - often include the following:

Loss of engine power

Hesitation upon acceleration

Strange smells coming from the exhaust

The check engine light comes on

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Other questions customers ask

Can you run a car without a catalytic converter?
Your vehicle will operate without a catalytic converter, but the engine will likely not run as it should. That is because, without a catalytic converter, the oxygen sensors that are mounted before and after the converter will not operate within their expected temperature range. Engine performance can suffer, and the check engine light might keep coming on, revealing diagnostic trouble codes. Besides, in most states, catalytic converters are required in order to pass emissions testing.
Why is it so expensive to replace a catalytic converter?
There is really only one reason that a catalytic converter is so expensive. After all, the component is not much different from a muffler; in fact, it is smaller. The reason a catalytic converter costs so much is that the catalysts - the metallic chemical compounds inside that do the work - are considered to be precious metals. Platinum, palladium, and rhodium are the types of metals inside a catalytic converter, and they are expensive.
Will my check engine light come on if the catalytic converter is stolen?
Yes. If your catalytic converter is missing, the Engine Control Module (the computer that controls engine function) should recognize the problem and turn on the check engine light. The light will likely remain on until you have the catalytic converter replaced. The same holds true if the component fails.

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