Catalytic Converter Cost and Other Things to Know Beyond Its Price [2022 Updated]

Replacing your vehicle’s catalytic converter can be quite expensive. In older vehicles manufactured before 1981, it would only cost you not more than $600. For newer car models, however, the complexity of replacing it will increase the cost as well. You will also be handling the labor costs, so you must make sure that you know these before you agree on anything.

In this post, we will be discussing all there is to know about catalytic converter cost. We will also be talking about its benefits, how to replace, how to save money, and the symptoms of a bad catalytic converter. After you have read this article, we are sure that you will now be able to apply your new knowledge before you go to your mechanic.

What is a Catalytic Converter and Where is It Located?

Crafted from precious metals, the catalytic converter gets rid of unwanted particles as they leave your vehicle’s engine. The converter keeps these particles from damaging or contaminating other parts of the engine and obviously, it can only be accomplished if the catalytic converter is in good condition.

Inside its structure is where the unburned hydrocarbons in the exhaust gases interact with catalyst particle including palladium, platinum, and rhodium. In short, the catalytic converter’s main purpose is to superheat these particles until they become less harmful emissions before they exit the tailpipe and into the air.

You will be able to find your car’s catalytic converter in the exhaust system and it is installed midstream in the exhaust pipe. You can find it between the muffler and the exhaust manifold. When you first bought your newly manufactured car, you will notice that it has been welded into the exhaust pipe while some are only clamped if it’s a replacement.

How Much Does a Catalytic Converter Cost?

As with any car repair, the cost of replacing your vehicle’s catalytic converter would vary from model to model. The average cost to replace your faulty catalytic converter ranges from $900 to $2,500., including labor costs. You should also be informed that for newer models, the cost would also be higher.

Do not be alarmed but these prices are only the beginning. Aside from the replacement itself, you should also consider the diagnostic costs, as well as some of the potential damages or issues that may arise due to the failure. For instance, you will be needing to change an oxygen sensor, the muffler, or the tailpipe. This is where the importance of knowing the cost comes in.

For instance, catalytic converter replacement on a Ford Focus would cost you around $600 to $1500, including labor. For a Toyota Camry, the range would be from $900 to $1450. For a Honda Civic, it would cost you around $550 to $1600. For a Nissan Altima, the range would be from $640 to $1150.

For the labor costs, you should expect spending at least $70 an hour up to $130 an hour. For newer models, on the other hand, labor costs would range from $100 to $190. As the converter has been exposed to contaminants, the mechanic replacing the converter might take a lot of time to address all other issues to make sure that the converter will work properly.

You might think that you could be saving a lot of money by doing the job yourself. Unfortunately, we would not recommend it. In general, you will not be saving much by doing it yourself. To add, removing and replacing the converter requires welding and if you do not have the skills or the experience, you might want to just leave this task for the professionals.

If you are experienced in replacing catalytic converters, it is safe to say that you could save money. It might not be time-consuming but the parts alone can be expensive. Just prepare to pay a higher amount for a high-quality catalytic converter.

What Are the Benefits of Replacing your Cars Catalytic Converter?

Having your catalytic converter always in good condition allows your vehicle to be operated like it should. It also significantly helps in maintaining the cleanliness of your engine’s components. If you want to keep it this way, then you must ensure that you are knowledgeable of the catalytic converter’s condition. To add, make sure that the mechanic checks its condition while tuning up.

A smoother ride and better fuel efficiency will be achieved if you have performed a replacement to a faulty catalytic converter. After all, your car’s overall performance is highly dependent on how well the catalytic converter is working. Proper care and maintenance are also recommended as you can end up spending a lot of money to repair the damage.

What are the Symptoms of a Bad Catalytic Converter

There are warning signs that you might want to look out for that will prompt you that it’s time to at least check your car’s catalytic converter. The most common sign is that the Check Engine Light is illuminated. While it could be because of a different problem, it is always wise to at least check the converter if it lights up.

Another symptom would be if you notice that your vehicle has little power. If you have a faulty catalytic converter, contaminants are only going to get it clogged and dirty, making your car perform poorly. You may also notice that the exhaust has a rotten smell, which can be mainly because of contaminants building up.

Another sign that the catalytic converter is not doing its job is that your car’s fuel economy is poor. If contaminants built up in the engine, it could mean that the vehicle is using a lot more fuel than it is required. Check your fuel and if you notice that it is being used a lot faster than the normal, have your catalytic converter checked.

You may also notice that the engine stalls or there is a rattling sound when your car is in idle, or it glows red hot, it might also mean that you need to replace your vehicle’s catalytic converter. Lastly, if you notice any backfiring and abnormal sounds coming from the engine, you might need to at least check if the converter is still in good condition.

How to Replace a Catalytic Converter

Replacing a catalytic converter could take hours of the mechanic’s time and it can be difficult. Special tools are necessary for every step of replacing it. If you are inexperienced in using these tools, you should not try to do this one on your own. Safety is important and you should trust your mechanic to do the job efficiently. Here’s what you would expect:

  1. The mechanic will remove the faulty catalytic converter, in which a power saw will be used to cut it out. If you are having it replaced for the first time, you will notice that it is welded shut to the vehicle and it needs to be removed using force. Of course, the mechanic will be careful during this process, as it can damage the engine.
  2. Once the old catalytic converter has been removed, the new one will be welded in. You should be informed that this is not the kind of job that you can do by yourself, especially if you are inexperienced. As these job is skill intensive, it might also cost you a lot more than the regular labor rate.
  3. After replacement, the mechanic should check if the catalytic converter has problems. The mechanic may take your vehicle out for a drive, as well as running it for a period. In addition, it should also be checked if the replacement is firmly attached and if the converter is doing its job effectively.

You might think that removing your vehicle’s catalytic converter an option. Unfortunately, it is a bad idea. Installing a pipe instead would only make your car’s overall efficiency to suffer. It is also deemed to fail the smog testing. In addition, your car will cause a lot more pollution than it should, which is why replacement is the best option for a faulty catalytic converter.

To prevent the high cost of replacing a catalytic converter, you might want to try putting a cleaner in the fuel. However, it would only work on minor cases. If the converter is already faulty, you are just buying yourself some time until it you need to have it replaced.


Now that we have discussed everything there is to know about the catalytic converter cost, we know that you will now be prepared for the price it entails. While it does not necessarily mean big savings on your part, it would still be best that you have a mechanic replace your catalytic converter.

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