Perhaps you’ve suddenly noticed a strange odor coming from your car’s exhaust, or maybe your fuel efficiency has dropped significantly. Whatever the case may be, you’re counting and recounting the pennies in your piggy bank, thinking if the catalytic converter is to blame. Sadly, if you do need to repair your car’s catalytic converter, it will almost certainly be a pricey endeavor.

How Do I Know If Something Is Wrong with My Catalytic Converter?

There are a few indicators that your cat converter is failing; here’s what to check for:

1. Your vehicle failed its emissions inspection.

Emissions testing is required of all car owners in various American states on a regular basis. Your automobile will likely generate more exhaust gases than it should if your cat converter isn’t working properly.

2. The Check Engine Light Is On

If your catalytic converter fails, the oxygen sensor (also known as an o2 sensor) in your exhaust stream may transmit a signal to your ECU (engine control unit) alerting it to the problem. Your engine check light will illuminate, signalling that you should visit your local mechanic.

Taking your automobile in for a diagnostics test is the only method to find out if the engine check light is connected to poor catalytic converter functioning. A mechanic will connect their diagnostics kit to your vehicle and scan the ECU for error codes before telling you what’s wrong. Though having your engine check light on isn’t always a sign that you have a bad cat, if you’re also experiencing one of the following symptoms, it could be…

3. Your Exhaust Smells Like a Rotten Egg

Your car’s fuel contains a small amount of Sufhur, and the stench of rotten eggs is generally caused by a chemical called hydrogen sulfide. Normally, this is transformed into odorless Sulfur dioxide, but this does not happen when the cat converter is malfunctioning. As a result, hydrogen sulfide escapes the exhaust pipe, giving off a rotten egg odor.

4. Your vehicle isn’t accelerating as quickly as it once was.

An overabundance of carbon accumulation in the honeycomb architecture is one reason of catalytic converter failure. This can produce a partial blockage in the catalytic converter, which will affect the performance of your car.

Airflow (together with fuel and ignition) is required for internal combustion engines to function. When the cat converter is clogged, it causes excessive back pressure in the exhaust system, which reduces airflow.

Less airflow means less power, which means slower acceleration. So, if your automobile feels a little weak the next time you put your foot down to overtake, it could be the catalytic converter.

5. You’re Having Fuel Economy Problems

Because gas is so costly these days, even minor improvements in your car’s fuel economy can have a big impact on your wallet and at the pump. If your catalytic converter is clogged, your engine won’t get the airflow it needs to perform correctly, so it’ll have to work harder to produce the same amount of power, which means you’ll have to put in more fuel. It’s like running uphill; suddenly, you have to expend a lot more energy just to maintain the same speed and distance.

How Much Does a Catalytic Converter Replacement Cost?

Catalytic converter repairs do not have defined pricing; however, they might cost anywhere from $1,000 to $2,500. The cost of repairing a catalytic converter, like many other vehicle repairs, varies greatly based on a variety of factors, including:

Model of Your Vehicle

If you own a ’93 Toyota Corolla, your cat converter replacement will almost certainly be less expensive than if you own a ’05 Jaguar XK8. The unit itself could cost a few hundred dollars or several thousand dollars, depending on the type you have.

The Replacement Unit’s Quality

Catalytic converters are not all made equal. You may get a universal fit cat for under $100 or a direct fit device that is custom designed for your vehicle for over $1000.

The interior design of a cat converter might also differ significantly. The usage of precious metals (palladium, platinum) as a catalyst is what makes them so expensive, which is why catalytic converters are frequently stolen.

Cheaper units usually have a lower density of these particles, which makes them less efficient and more likely to fail quickly. More expensive units, on the other hand, have a higher catalyst density, frequently up to 6 times that of their less expensive counterparts.

Labor Costs

Typical labor expenses range from $70-$130 per hour, so a more budget-friendly garage can save you a lot of money on this repair.

There’s also the time it takes to change the catalytic converter, which varies by vehicle. It all relies on the unit’s location, accessibility, and what your mechanic needs to replace it with. It’s possible that they’ll have to cut out the old, welded cat and clamp in a new one.

This may entail twice the labor expense, as well as the cost of parts, on vehicles with twin exhaust systems!

Other Issues Diagnosis and Repair

You should also evaluate the possibility that the catalytic converter failure was caused by something else wrong with the car. If your spark plugs have clogged or your oxygen sensor has failed, for example, you may be responsible for the expense of this repair.

The Average Cost Of Replacing A Catalytic Converter

Cat converter replacements normally cost between $1000 and $2500, depending on the cat quality you choose and, of course, the sort of car you possess.

Is It Worth It to Replace A Catalytic Converter?

It may not be worth changing the catalytic converter at all, depending on the value of your vehicle. We wouldn’t recommend driving around in a car with a defective cat, but you might decide that selling your car for scrap is a better option.

Due to the rarity of converter failure, it is most likely the result of an underlying engine problem. Antifreeze or unburned fuel could be entering the exhaust system due to faulty seals or gaskets in the engine.

Catalytic converter failure is a rare occurrence, but it is a highly expensive repair. Usually, a competent mechanic must replace the entire item, and the costs can quickly mount up to hundreds of dollars. This isn’t a great situation to cope with!