Have you diagnosed a bad catalytic converter on your car and you are now asking yourself how much does a catalytic converter cost? If that is the case, then you are at the right place because there will be a lot to cover when it comes to catalytic converters and their cost.
- Catalytic Converter?
- How It Works
- Replacement Cost
Having a problem like this and the need to replace this component can be really tricky to deal with. Why I’m saying this? Well, the first thing is because they are really difficult to remove. It is highly likely that you will crack a few bolts.
The second thing is the cost of these components. They can be really pricey for some cars and cost a whole fortune. But more on the exact cost, later on when we will uncover how much does a catalytic converter cost.
First, we will cover what is a catalytic converter in general to understand more about this component and why it gets that expensive. Then we will learn how does the catalytic converter works and the causes of a bad catalytic converter. After we cover the causes we will learn the bad catalytic converter symptoms and see what are the tell-tell signs that will be there for you to be able to diagnose the problem.
Later on, in the article, we are going to learn how much does a catalytic converter cost. We will answer this question that troubles a lot of car owners who are looking to replace this component and lastly we will answer some frequently asked questions. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.
What Is A Catalytic Converter (And Why Does It Cost So Much)?
Now before we learn how much does a catalytic converter cost, let’s focus on the basics first. We need to have the right introduction to the topic before we learn more complex things such as the bad catalytic converter symptoms and the costs involved. So, if you lack the base knowledge, follow along. If not, you can jump to one of the next chapters.
Nevertheless, a catalytic converter is an emissions device that is installed in our cars that serves the purpose to cause a catalytic reaction and neutralize the harmful toxins that are released in the exhaust fumes. This greatly reduces the carbon footprint of our vehicles. But more on this in the next chapter where we will learn how these components work.
What is important for you to know for now is the location of the catalytic converter and learn where these components are mounted. This is essential because a lot of people are confusing these components with exhaust mufflers.
The mounting location of the catalytic converter is right behind the engine. More precisely after the exhaust manifold. The catalytic converter is a cylindrically shaped device. At each end, the catalytic converter has mounting points for the O2 sensors.
Another thing worth knowing is that if you run an inline engine, you probably have only one catalytic converter. But if you run a V configuration engine, you have two of these devices on your car. Which is more expensive, but that’s how things go.
But have you asked how this device works behind the curtain? Well, that’s what we are going to cover before we learn how much does a catalytic converter cost.
How Does The Catalytic Converter Work?
Now before we cover how much does a catalytic converter cost, let’s learn more about the basics and learn how this catalytic converter works behind the curtain. This is not essential to know, but it is useful to understand the catalytic converter better.
The catalytic converter as we mentioned previously resembles a small muffler that is located after the exhaust manifold and it has the O2 sensors mounted before and after the converter.
The internals of the catalytic converter is filled with a honeycomb structure. This honeycomb structure basically does all the heavy lifting when it comes to neutralizing the harmful particles in the exhaust gases.
The honeycomb structure is made out of many precious metals (you can learn more in our guide on what are catalytic converters made of), such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium. All these components increase the price of this component and make it really expensive to purchase new. But how does everything works in practice?
Well, the catalytic converter works in such a way that it heats up. Only when the catalytic converter is up to operating temperature it will work best. When the catalytic converter is cold, it will not work well.
As the gases flow into this converter a chemical reaction is started (to learn more, check out our guide on what is inside a catalytic converter). This component is basically catalyzing a redox reaction. To find out more, check out our explainer on what’s a catalytic converter made of and what is in a catalytic converter. And this reaction is neutralizing all of the harmful particles and makes your car pollute a lot less.
So, you can understand why catalytic converters are that useful and important in our cars. Without these catalytic converters being in top shape, the car will pollute a lot more and you will fail the emissions test.
And since you are here trying to learn how much does a catalytic converter cost, you probably have failed these emissions. But more on the costs, later on, in this article, now let’s learn the causes of a bad catalytic converter.
Causes For A Bad Catalytic Converter
Now before we learn how much does a catalytic converter cost, let’s learn another thing. And that are the causes of a bad catalytic converter (before diagnosing how to tell if catalytic converter is bad). By knowing the causes, you will be able to save your catalytic converter on time and avoid paying the price to replace this component. And that price isn’t cheap. But more on that later on.
What is important for you is to know the operating temperature of the catalytic converter. The normal operating temperature is about 752 degrees Fahrenheit. And frankly, this is a lot of heat.
So, you can imagine that the catalytic is really cold in the morning, and reaching this temperature will require a lot of driving. And this is essential when it comes to keeping your catalytic converter healthy.
You need to drive at least 10 to 15 minutes until this component reaches the operating temperature and performs as it should. If you drive too much on a short distance, you risk ending up with a clogged catalytic converter and trying to learn how much does a catalytic converter cost. Which is not good.
So, keep this in mind to give your car a good thrashing on the highway once a month to clean this catalytic converter.
Another thing that you might want to beware of is engine problems. Bad air to fuel mixture or oil burning issues can be really detrimental for the catalytic converter. These situations really affect your catalytic converter and could end up ruining it.
If you have a problem like this, please sort it out as soon as possible before the catalytic converter fails and make you look online for how much does a catalytic converter cost.
Bad Catalytic Converter Symptoms
Now before we learn how much does a catalytic converter cost, let’s take a look at the bad catalytic converter symptoms. How you can tell if a catalytic converter is bad?
As you probably know, every component when it fails it starts to develop symptoms. These symptoms can be mild but in some cases, they will be a really noticeable and literal annoyance for you as an owner. And the catalytic frankly has a lot of these symptoms. But more on the symptoms in the following chapters.
1. Check Engine Light
The first in our list of bad catalytic converter symptoms that we are going to cover before we learn how much does a catalytic converter cost is the check engine light.
The check engine light will illuminate if your catalytic converter is broken. The converter is not connected directly to the computer. But there are the O2 sensors before and after the converter.
So, whenever there is a malfunction of this component, the sensors will monitor this behavior and will report to you that you have a problem in the form of a check engine light.
There could be different codes that could indicate a problem. But the P0420 code is the most common one. Whenever you have this code, you know that you are dealing with a bad catalytic converter. It is worth noting that this code usually appears for the bank 1 catalytic converter. For bank 2, the P0430 code will trigger the check engine light.
2. Engine Feels Sluggish
The second in our list of bad catalytic converter symptoms that we would cover before we learn how much does a catalytic converter cost is the situation when the engine feels sluggish.
The engine will feel sluggish when you are dealing with a clogged catalytic converter. But why is this the case?
Well, this is the case because this catalytic converter prevents the flow of exhaust gases. When this situation happens it creates something known as backpressure. This situation basically slows your car down.
It doesn’t matter how hard you press the gas pedal, the car simply will not want to go faster than that. There is not enough flow of exhaust gases to allow air to enter the intake.
In this situation, the only thing you can do is to learn how much does a catalytic converter cost and replace this catalytic converter that has failed. This way you will resume the proper engine work on your car. Now let’s move on to the next symptom.
3. Black Smoke From The Exhaust
Another in our list of bad catalytic converter symptoms that we would like to discuss before we learn how much does a catalytic converter cost is the situation with black smoke coming from the exhaust pipe.
This black smoke is an indication that either your car spends oil. Or possibly that the catalytic converter is blown and basically the honeycomb structure inside of this component has disintegrated completely.
When this happens, you will notice black smoke when you press on the throttle pedal. So, beware of this symptom because it is one of the tell-tell signs that you have problems with your catalytic converter.
Another thing to note is that you could even fail the emissions with a catalytic converter in this condition. Now let’s move to the next symptom before we cover how much does a catalytic converter cost.
4. Rotten Egg Smell
The fourth in our list of bad catalytic converter symptoms is the rotten egg smell that comes from the tailpipe. This symptom indicates that you have a problem and you need to learn how much does a catalytic converter cost. Why is this the case?
Well, this is the case because the honeycomb structure inside of the catalytic converter has disintegrated and the flow is unobstructed.
Gasoline contains a small fraction of sulfur and as we all know, sulfur smells like rotten eggs. The task of the catalytic converter is to tackle this chemical compound. And in this case, this is not possible because the catalytic converter has malfunctioned and needs replacing.
So, when you notice something like this rotten egg smell. It is useful for you to learn how much does a catalytic converter cost and replace the catalytic converter on your car if you want to return to OEM settings and make your car work properly.
5. Heat Coming From Under The Car
Another in our list of bad catalytic converter symptoms is the situation when you have heat coming from underneath the car.
This heat is usually generated when you have a clogged catalytic converter. Basically, the gas flow is interrupted and about 30% to 40% of the gas leaves the car instead of 100%. So, this creates a lot of heat in the exhaust manifolds and the catalytic converters.
The only way to overcome this problem will be to replace the catalytic converter with a new one. But before you do this, you need to learn how much does a catalytic converter cost. But more on that later on. Let’s first diagnose a bad catalytic converter based on these symptoms that we have covered.
How To Diagnose A Clogged Catalytic Converter?
Now, before we learn how much does a catalytic converter cost, let’s learn how to diagnose a bad catalytic converter. The main thing you will need for this task will be the OBD2 scanner tool. With this tool, you will be able to get access to the PCM and see what codes your car produces.
Scan the car for codes and if you get a P0420 or P0430 code, your car probably has a bad catalytic converter. The first code is for the catalytic converter for bank 1 and the second code P0430 is for bank 1. The definition for these two codes is “Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold”. This means that the catalytic converter is not working properly on that specific bank.
Another way that you can diagnose a bad catalytic converter is by observing the symptoms that we discussed above. If the car feels sluggish, or possibly there is heat coming from the bottom portion of your car, you might be having a clogged catalytic converter.
If there is a rotten egg smell or black smoke, your catalytic converter probably has a broken honeycomb structure and it is faulty. You will have to replace it with a new one.
The most precise way to diagnose a bad catalytic converter is to unbolt the exhaust and remove it from the car. This way you will be able to tell if the honeycomb is in good condition and is not obstructed or possibly damaged. Now before we learn how much does a catalytic converter cost, let’s take a look at the catalytic converter repair, is it possible? Let’s find out.
Catalytic Converter Repair
So, you have diagnosed a bad catalytic converter, you looked online for how much does a catalytic converter and almost fainted from the high costs and you are looking for a catalytic converter repair. Is this possible?
The short answer is that it depends. Either way, you will not be able to repair it if you remove it from the car. On the opposite, you could hurt the honeycomb structure and will further damage this component.
The only way that you can try to do a catalytic converter repair is to try to use some of the solutions that are available out there. They are known as Cataclean. They promise that they will clean this component. You just pour this solution on the highway and give it a good thrashing on the highway at higher RPM for about 30 minutes.
This will hopefully sort out the problem and repair your catalytic converter if it’s still in the early stages. But if it’s too clogged, you might want to do a catalytic converter delete or learn how much does a catalytic converter cost and that’s what we are going to cover next.
Catalytic Converter Cost
Now we came to the important bit and that is the question of how much does a catalytic converter cost. And the short answer to this question is that it is really expensive, replacing this component will take away a good portion of your monthly salary, that’s for sure.
The price of the catalytic really depends a lot on the make and model as well as the year of production. So, the exact cost you will only know when you go to your local dealership and ask for a replacement catalytic converter (as you would with a 2012 Infiniti QX56 catalytic converter replacement).
On average, the catalytic converter surpasses $1,000. Most catalytic converters are in the range of $1,200 to $1,400. And some like the ones in the Toyota Prius can cost even $2,000. And that is only for the parts, the labor will also cost you a good penny.
On average the labor will cost you about $550. This is an expensive job because the vehicle needs to be lifted in the air and the exhaust removed from the car so you can remove the catalytic converter. A difficult and lengthy process that understandably costs money. Overall, that’s all when it comes to how much does a catalytic converter cost.
In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to how much does a catalytic converter cost.
First, we learned the basics of catalytic converters and we learned how these components work. Then we have covered the bad catalytic converter symptoms and then we have covered the diagnostics process. A bad catalytic converter can be easily diagnosed with the help of an OBD2 scanner and also based on the specific symptoms that this component makes.
Then we covered the catalytic converter repair and lastly we discussed how much does a catalytic converter cost. And the answer is that it is not cheap. This is why you should focus on preserving this component the most you can.
Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.
What Is A Catalytic Converter
A catalytic converter is an emissions device that is installed on your exhaust system. The main role of this device is to convert the toxic pollutants into something less toxic by creating something known as a redox reaction.
What Does A Catalytic Converter Do
The catalytic converter converts the toxic pollutants and gases that escape from the exhaust manifold into something less toxic through a catalyzing process. This is known in chemistry as a redox reaction. This chemical reaction basically helps your car pollute far less.
What’s In A Catalytic Converter
Inside the catalytic converter, there is a really complex honeycomb structure. Through this structure, the catalyzing process occurs. Inside the catalytic converter, there are a ton of precious metals that are essential in order for this process to be successful. Namely, palladium, rhodium, and platinum.
Where Is The Catalytic Converter
The catalytic converter is located right after the exhaust manifold. Before and after the catalytic converter, the O2 sensors are mounted. So, it is really easy to distinguish it from the mufflers that are usually located in the center middle of the car and in the rear.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace A Catalytic Converter
Replacing a catalytic converter is expensive. The average cost for a brand new unit is about $1,200. But this is the average cost. This means that there are cheaper converters and more expensive ones that can cost more than $2,000.
How Much Is A Catalytic Converter
A new catalytic converter is about $1,200 on average. Some catalytic converters are even more expensive. Like in the case with the Toyota Prius. For the Prius, a catalytic converter can cost about $2,000.
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