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How Much Does A Catalytic Converter Cost? (+9 FAQs)

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To fix, or not to fix—that is the question. 

Wondering whether it’s cheaper to get a faulty catalytic converter fixed rather than completely replaced?

Or you may be the latest victim of a catalytic converter theft (bummer) and want to know why thieves target your catalytic converter. 

This article explores the cost of a catalytic converter, why it’s so expensive, and the factors affecting the catalytic converter cost. We’ll also dive into nine catalytic converter FAQs

This Article Contains:

Let’s dive right in. 

How Much Does a Catalytic Converter Cost

For most modern cars, you can expect to pay around $300 – $1,650 (not including labor) for a new catalytic converter. However, these prices usually depend on the cost of the parts and local labor charges. 

For example, replacing a standard catalytic converter (CAT) in newer cars can cost between $500 and $2,200. Meanwhile, some low emission vehicles, like the Toyota Prius, may cost around $2,120 and $2,150.

The CAT, found between your exhaust manifold and muffler, filters out the harmful exhaust gases and particles of unburned fuel your vehicle produces. So it’s best to have your catalytic converter checked by an expert mechanic as soon as you spot an issue. 

Now let’s find out why catalytic converters are so expensive.

Why Does the Catalytic Converter Cost so Much?

The catalytic converter uses precious metals like platinum, palladium, or rhodium as a catalyst to purify harmful exhaust gas. They’re hard to find and cost between $59.70 and $260.42 per gram! As metal prices fluctuate, it follows that the price of CATs will do the same. 

Did you know that the price of a junk car depends on a catalytic converter? 
You’re offered less money for a junk car without a CAT, because a catalytic converter increases a car’s scrap value.

Pro Tip: Thieves target your converter because of the precious metal content. Don’t just throw away your bad catalytic converter. Recycling your scrap catalytic converter allows the precious metal content to be reused. 

Want to know what affects the cost of catalytic converter replacements? 
Let’s find out.

What Factors Affect Catalytic Converter Replacement Costs?

Since replacing a bad catalytic converter can be a complex job, here are some factors influencing the cost: 

Now that you know more about what drives your expensive catalytic converter costs, let’s address some questions. 

9 Catalytic Converter FAQs

Here are the answers to 9 questions regarding your catalytic converter. 

1. What Does a Catalytic Converter Do?

Your CAT reduces harmful emissions by converting the harmful gas your exhaust manifold collects. 

Inside your CAT, a chemical reaction occurs when the precious metal content reacts with these harmful gas. The chemical reaction (oxidation) converts carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and unburned hydrocarbons (unburned fuel particles) into less harmful emissions of carbon dioxide and water vapor.

The water vapor and carbon dioxide then leave your exhaust system via your exhaust pipe. 

Conversely, a clogged catalytic converter will release harmful exhaust fumes (nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide) into the atmosphere. 

2. How Long Should My Catalytic Converter Last? 

A new catalytic converter usually lasts around 70,000 to 100,000 miles. 

However, a CAT’s lifespan is affected by your driving habits. To ensure your catalytic converter lasts longer, bring your vehicle to proper running temperature and minimize short journeys. 

Remember, regular maintenance will help your catalytic converter last longer and address catalytic converter issues before it needs expensive repairs. 

3. How do I Know if My Catalytic Converter is Faulty?

Be on the lookout for the following signs of a bad catalytic converter: 

4. When Should I Get My Catalytic Converter Replaced?

If your mechanic diagnoses your catalytic converter as damaged, you should replace it immediately. Damaged catalytic converters are usually past the point of cleaning or repairs, and won’t convert harmful exhaust gases effectively. 

But if you catch the problem early, you can most likely get away with a catalytic converter repair.

Repairing your CAT converter is an excellent way to save money and keep your car operating. For example, if you’ve just got a minimally clogged catalytic converter, your mechanic could opt to clean it. 

However, while cleaning your catalytic converter might be the cheapest option, it’s not as simple as you’d imagine, and it may void vehicle warranties. Always confirm the cause of the problem before taking action, as cleaning a damaged catalytic converter won’t be enough to fix it.

5. What Causes My Catalytic Converter to Break Down?

The following elements can cause a converter failure and necessitate catalytic converter repair:

6. How to Replace My Catalytic Converter?

The best way to deal with converter failure is to call in professionals like RepairSmith as soon as your check engine light comes on or you hear unsettling sounds. 

Here’s what a typical catalytic converter replacement looks like:

If you’re wondering what to do with your old CAT, look into a scrap catalytic converter app like Eco CAT. Eco CAT provides a complete catalytic converter database for professionals in the scrap recycling industry and offers updated information on the scrap value of catalytic converters.

7. How Long Does it Take to Replace My Catalytic Converter?

It may take about 1-2 hours to replace your CAT converter. 
It’s easy to access, so your mechanic won’t have to dismantle your car to remove the old one.

8. What is an Aftermarket Catalytic Converter? 

An aftermarket catalytic converter is a pre-owned catalytic converter. They’re generally cheaper but come with considerable risks. Aftermarket converters won’t last as long as a new catalytic converter and may not meet regulations as stated on your vehicle’s emission sticker. 

When considering this option, ensure you’re not purchasing a stolen catalytic converter.

9. How to Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft?

Converter theft is a massive issue that vehicle owners face. 

Here are some precautions you can take to avoid a catalytic converter theft:

Remember, thieves could still get their hands on your CAT and sell it to a scrap dealer. Since catalytic converter replacement is costly, consider car insurance that covers converter theft.

Usually, all-inclusive car insurance covers the theft of your catalytic converter. But always check with your insurance provider first.  

Wrapping Up

A catalytic converter replacement cost can run pretty high, and now you know why. As such, it’s important to follow routine vehicle maintenance to catch problems early and ensure your CAT lasts longer. This will help put off dealing with a failing catalytic converter for a while.

If you suspect an issue with your CAT or need maintenance services, consider contacting professionals like RepairSmith to help you out.

At RepairSmith, we offer upfront pricing, convenient online booking, and a 12-month, 12,000-mile warranty on all repairs. And, we do all repairs directly in your driveway!