The catalytic converter (CAT) isn’t one of those cheap components you can easily change when they’re slightly damaged. You may need to consider repairing your old CAT when it goes bad, instead of opting for a new one, and here’s the reason. But how much is a catalytic converter?
The average cost of a catalytic converter is between $750 – $1,500. Some modern cars have costlier catalytic converters that could easily cost you over $2,000 to replace with a new one.
But, the catalytic converter plays an important role, which makes it worth the replacement when your old one goes bad. This article explains the cost of repairing or replacing a faulty catalytic converter.
What Is a Catalytic Converter and How Does It Work?
Catalytic converters include “catalyst” particles inside (made of platinum precious metals). The function of a catalytic converter is to reduce the harmfulness of the emissions coming from your engine’s combustion chamber.
Typically, the position of CATs is between the exhaust muffler and manifold. Since 1975, diesel-engine vehicles are built with one or more catalytic converters in a bid to reduce air pollution and make the atmosphere healthy for everyone.
Technically, here’s how a CAT works; it receives the exhaust gases from your engine, the unburned gases react with the precious metals (platinum) inside the converter.
The precious metals then converts those chemically harmful gases (carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides) into non-polluting gases like oxygen, carbon dioxide, water vapor, and nitrogen.
Thus, literally, catalytic converters are an important component in every car. But just like every other component that makes up a car, they can go bad due to quite a several reasons.
How Much Is a Catalytic Converter?
So,how much is a catalytic converter? Definitely, different cars have different CAT designs; hence, you can’t possibly use the cat converter meant for another car model on yours and the price differs.
You need to get the exact CAT designed for your vehicle, and that could be quite challenging if you’re driving an OEM-customized vehicle.
However, regardless, the average cost of getting a brand new catalytic converter to replace an old, damaged one is between $750 – $1500 (labor cost included). Notwithstanding, the CAT for some vehicles is priced above $2,000 for brand new ones. Basically, the cost of a new catalytic converter depends on your engine size.
So, if you’re driving a V8 engine, the price to replace your CAT is most likely to be more expensive than that of a V8 engine (of probably the same vehicle). You can get your CAT replaced at a dealership or a mechanic shop; whichever you prefer.
What Causes Catalytic Converters To Fail?
A severe impact collision can force the converter out of position or even leave physical damage on the metallic canister. Also, too much unburned fuel inside the converter can clog the honeycomb meshes or catalysts that are inside the converter.
Furthermore, the liquid should not get into the converter; thus, if your head gasket is leaky and coolant liquid finds its way into the catalytic converter, it can cause the converter to start malfunctioning.
Other possible factors that can contribute to causing catalytic converter failure include:
- Bad spark plugs or fuel injectors
- High mileage
- Faulty exhaust valves
- Intake manifold leak
- Bad oxygen sensor
- Accident or hard impact due to your driving style
Okay, since catalytic converters can go bad, what are the signs that tell you it’s time to check your CAT?
Signs Of a Failed Catalytic Converter
Below are the commonest signs that your catalytic converter is bad; hence, you should go for a check and probably have it replaced.
- Check engine light turned on
- Drastic drop in engine performance
- High fuel usage
- Rattling noise from the exhaust
- Thick smoke coming out of the exhaust tailpipe
- Engine misfiring and rough idling
- Your car can’t pass an emissions test
Since the catalytic converter is where emissions conversion starts, a failed or bad CAT would cause your car not to pass an emissions test.
Considering the high cost of replacing a bad catalytic converter, you may think of removing it entirely. Well, you can drive without a catalytic converter, but you’d definitely not feel comfortable during the drive.
Driving without a CAT can cause incessant misfiring and loud exhaust noise. You’d also be stopped by the cops and made to pay a fine.