The Average Cost to Replace a Catalytic Converter Is $1,588 to $1,769 Depending on if You Go to the Mechanic or DIY.
This price range is based on national averages for all vehicles and does not factor in taxes, fees, or your particular make and model. Related repairs or maintenance, such as oxygen sensor or other exhaust system repairs, may also be needed. For a more accurate estimate based on your make, model, and location, use the RepairPal Fair Price Estimator.
Get a more accurate estimate for your catalytic converter replacement using RepairPal’s Fair Price Estimator:
Cost at the Mechanic: $1,730 to $1,769
- Parts: $1,588 to $1,590
- Labor: $142 to $179
Catalytic converters are quite expensive. They contain precious metals that are catalysts for chemical reactions that reduce emissions. Unfortunately, that also makes them common targets for theft. Since you already have to pay so much for the part itself, and it only takes a mechanic an hour or two to replace it, it’s worth having a shop do this job for you. They can also repair any damage left behind after a theft.
Cost to DIY: $1,588 to $1,590
- DIY Difficulty Level: Intermediate
- Parts Needed:
It isn’t too difficult to replace a catalytic converter yourself. However, you’ll likely be lying on the ground under your car and have limited access. You probably don’t have a lift and welding equipment like a shop does to make the job much easier. Since you have to spend so much to buy a new catalytic converter anyway, you might as well save yourself the hassle of installing it and have a shop do it for a few dollars more.
What Is a Catalytic Converter?
Your car’s emissions system takes the exhaust gases your engine produces and cleans them up before releasing them into the atmosphere. The catalytic converter is an integral part of this process. Your car has one or more catalytic converters. They contain precious metals that act as a catalyst, reacting chemically with exhaust gases and high heat to remove noxious fumes from the exhaust. These precious metals are why replacing the catalytic converter costs so much, and why they are sometimes targets for theft.
What Does a Catalytic Converter Replacement Include?
Catalytic converters are part of your car’s exhaust system, typically located near the engine to put the heat it generates to good use. Replacing them involves removing the front part of the exhaust system, unbolting or cutting the old parts off, and bolting or welding the new parts on. Any new or disconnected parts should get new gaskets during reassembly.
What Happens If You Don’t Replace the Catalytic Converter?
Over time, a catalytic converter may take so much crud out of your exhaust that it collects inside of it and gets clogged. This makes it more difficult for exhaust gases to flow out of your engine, which can result in rough running, misfires, and a check engine light.
The P0420 code indicates that the catalytic converter is not functioning properly. It often occurs in conjunction with codes P0300, P0301, P0302, P0303, P0304, P0305, P0306, P0307, and P0308. Also, make sure you don’t have codes P0174, P0171, P0172, or P0175 which can mean the engine is running rich or lean, which can burn out your catalytic converter. If these codes or any other codes are present, they should be addressed first.
How Often to Replace the Catalytic Converter
In theory, catalytic converters should last the life of the vehicle and never need to be replaced. In practice, this is not always the case. Misfires or a rich running condition causes unburnt fuel to enter the catalytic converter. This can coat the catalyst, causing the converter to stop working. The converter can also overheat and break apart inside, clogging it up and not allowing it to do its job properly.
Common Symptoms You Need to Replace the Catalytic Converter
- Check engine light and code P0420
- Rough running
- Misfires and codes P0300, P0301, P0302, P0303, P0304, P0305, P0306, P0307, or P0308
- Failed emissions test in areas that have vehicle inspections
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Recovering autocross and track day enthusiast. Once turned a VW Jetta into a pickup truck. Lives in a van down by the river. Dream car: 2001 Subaru WRC rally car.