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Catalytic Converter Repair

Updated on December 31, 2014

Should You Repair Your Catalytic Converter?

The catalytic convert plays an important role in your car emission system by reducing the polluting toxins released back into the atmosphere. Eventually the catalytic converter will lose its capacity to bind the excess waste produced by the internal combustion engine and you will have to repair the emission system.

The first indication that your catalytic convert needs repairing is by failing your annual/biannual smog test required by most States. Sometimes only a quick adjustment to your emission system is required to pass the smog test; however, if adjustments do not work, you will need to have your catalytic converter pressure tested to see if your exhaust is flowing with adequate pressure.

Your car may experience other symptoms of a bad catalytic converter such as low power, stalling poor gas mileage and even overheating. These issues may go away once your converter is repaired.

A simple test that your mechanic will perform is measuring the exhaust pressure entering and exiting the converter. A small hole is drilled in the exhaust pipe to measure the exhaust pressure after the conversion process and a small hole is drilled just before converter. Unbalanced pressure readings indicated that you need to repair your catalytic converter.

Catalytic Converter
Catalytic Converter

Catalytic Converters Come with a Factory Warranty

All catalytic converters come with a 7 year or 70,000 mile warranty mandated by the Federal Government.  If your car falls within those criteria have the repair done, otherwise you will need to have the converter replaced at your cost.

Repairing your catalytic converter may run several hundred dollars to repair.  To replace the catalytic converter on my 1997 Toyota Avalon, the Toyota dealer quoted $1,700.  I had to shop around, but a local muffler shop repaired the catalytic converter for $420.

Other Options to Catalytic Converter Repair

Some States, such as California, offer low-income assistance in helping pay for your auto repair. You will have to apply to the program since they need to verify your income.

California also offers a vehicle retirement program that pays up to $1,000 to take your polluting vehicle off the road. Again, you need to apply for the program and once approved, you will receive instructions on where to drop off your car.

Catalytic Converter Cleaner

There are several Catalytic Converter Cleaners such as Solder-It that help clean the exhaust system. Usually if you are smelling rotten eggs in your exhaust, the Solder-It will eliminate it.  Just add a can to a full tank of gas and it should clean up your system.  Normally it is a temporary solution but it may help prolong the life of the converter.  The cost is under $20 and is far less expensive than what catalytic converter prices run even at muffler shops.


Submit a Comment

  • profile image


    6 years ago

    Does a REPLACEMENT catalytic converter carry a mandated warranty? Does it convey to a subsequent owner?

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    if i took off the cat. conv. and left it off, what damage would there be to the engine or computer?

  • howardyoung profile imageAUTHOR

    Howard Young 

    7 years ago from California


    If your catalytic converter becomes clogged (or any part of your exhaust system) your car will lose power and lack acceleration.

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Can a catalitic converter that's not good can it make the vehicle lack accileration

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Cool, thanks for posting stuff like this. Very useful.

  • hardlymoving profile image


    7 years ago from Memphis, TN

    Good article. What I do with a 3 way converter is cut out the old one and weld or bracket in a universal unit for under $100.

  • howardyoung profile imageAUTHOR

    Howard Young 

    7 years ago from California

    Jose, he's probably going to sell it for the scrap metal: see

  • profile image


    7 years ago

    Why would the mechanic refuse to return the old catalytic converter that was in my nissan truck after replacing it with a new one.. they say i have to give them $80 for it..

  • Instant-Immersion profile image


    7 years ago from Saint Louis, MO

    Can the catalytic converter deteriorate to a point to where it actually affects the running of the engine?

  • profile image


    8 years ago

    What are the differences between a 2 chamber and 3 chamber CC? How can you tell them apart and does either one affect passing the smog test at the tail end of the CC - that is, all the readings in front of the CC are almost perfect passing with the exception, aft the CC.

  • profile image

    chris valentine  

    8 years ago

    does anything void the warrenty on the converter say a branded title but vehicle still has less than 70,000 miles


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