Replacing Catalytic Converters

Do you have questions about replacing your catalytic converter A broken or missing catalytic converter impacts your vehicle’s performance. While you can drive a car without one, it affects your fuel emissions. It is illegal to drive without a catalytic converter in Texas. It can also damage your engine. If you have a damaged or missing catalytic converter, you want to fix it pronto. We have answers to questions we are often asked.

What is a catalytic converter?

A catalytic converter helps control emissions. From the outside, it resembles a muffler. Inside, it has a honeycomb structure made of metals. Gasses pass through the honeycomb structure. The metals interact with unburned hydrocarbons in the exhaust gases. They convert them into less harmful emissions.

Why would your catalytic converter be missing?

Remember the honeycomb? They contain valuable metals, including

  • Platinum
  • Palladium
  • Rhodium

These metals are costly. So, thieves steal catalytic converters to resell them. They do not sell them as parts but as scrap.

The problem impacts big cities, and Houston is no exception. Some thieves will repeatedly hit the same shopping centers. An experienced thief can remove one in just a few minutes. Since they are under the vehicle, thieves are not visible.

Of course, you may be missing your catalytic converter for other reasons. Wrecks can damage them. You could also have a failing converter.

Where is the catalytic converter?

Because catalytic converters are on the undercarriage, most people have not seen theirs. It is in the emissions system between the exhaust manifold and the muffler. Usually, it is welded in place. Replacements may be clamped instead of molded.

Why are catalytic converters necessary?

Yes, according to Texas law. You can get a ticket if you do not have one. You may need one to pass inspection.

They are also an essential part of your vehicle’s design. Your emissions system and the engine can fail without one.

Of course, the real reason they are important is the environment. They help improve air quality, reduce breathing illnesses, and reduce environmental pollution.

Do catalytic converts impact vehicle performance?

Absolutely. You already know they impact emissions. A bad catalytic converter can restrict your exhaust system, causing engine damage. Bad catalytic converters can also catch on fire.

Can you repair a bad catalytic converter?

Maybe. It may be fixable if you catch a catalytic converter in the early stages of failure. However, it will probably need to be replaced if it is discolored, warped, rattling, or smells like sulfur.

How do I know if my catalytic converter is failing?

The primary sign of a missing catalytic converter is the noise. Cars without catalytic converters are much noisier!

The signs of catalytic converter failure are more difficult to detect. They are similar to other exhaust problems. So, if you notice them, you want to have a mechanic check your vehicle. Be on the lookout for

  • Check Engine Light
  • Rough Engine
  • Sulfur/ Rotten Egg Smell from Tailpipe
  • Stalling
  • Rattling During Idle
  • Glowing Catalytic Converter
  • Drop in Fuel Economy
  • Failed Emissions Test

Is it expensive to replace a catalytic converter?

Yes. To us, any car repair that costs more than $500 is expensive. We pride ourselves on affordable pricing. However, because catalytic converters contain precious metals, the parts are costly. The replacement cost ranges from around $950 up to $2500. Plus, the price can fluctuate with metal prices.

Can I replace the catalytic converter with a straight muffler pipe?

No. You will fail an emissions test if you do that. You could also get a ticket. 

Do fuel additives clean catalytic converters?

Maybe. A high-quality fuel additive may clean your engine and exhaust system. It will not reverse a severe problem, but it could help add some life to those parts.

Will insurance pay to replace my catalytic converter?

Maybe. If a thief steals your catalytic converter and you have comprehensive coverage, then it should cover the cost. If you need a new catalytic converter because yours has failed, insurance will not cover it.

Deciding whether to claim insurance can be tricky. Depending on your deductible, you may pay more if you use insurance. That is because your insurer might increase your premiums. If you have a $1200 repair and a $1000 deductible, paying it out of pocket is probably less expensive. However, many thieves damage other parts when stealing a catalytic converter. It is excellent to use comprehensive coverage in those cases if you have it.

Is there a shortage of catalytic converters?

No. Thieves are not stealing them to resell them as parts. They are stealing them for the metal inside of them. We can get catalytic converters for your vehicle.

Do We replace catalytic converters?

We replace catalytic converters all the time. We can replace your failing or failed catalytic converter. We can also replace stolen ones and fix any damage the thieves did.

Can you tell me the price of the catalytic converter replacement on the phone?

No. We can tell you the cost of the part and the usual amount of work for a replacement. However, if you have a missing converter, we need to look at the vehicle and see if there is other damage. We never want a customer to be surprised by the cost of a repair.

Is it worth it to replace a catalytic converter?

That is a great question. Usually, the answer is yes. Suppose you have an expensive vehicle, a newer model vehicle, or a low-mileage vehicle. In that case, you want to replace it. However, replacing it might not be cost-effective if you have an older car with problems. Usually, you do not want to spend $1000 to repair a vehicle with a $2000 book value. It would help if you made a cost comparison. We will give you a reliable estimate after inspecting your car. 

Is my car at risk of a stolen catalytic converter?

Not all catalytic converters use these precious metals. So, not all catalytic converters are worth the risk of stealing them.

Higher risk cars include

  • Toyotas
  • Lexuses
  • Hondas

Lower risk cars include

  • Domestic Cars
  • Hyundais
  • Mazdas
  • Subarus

If you have a higher-risk vehicle, we can help you. We can take some steps to reduce your risk of being victimized.

Have more questions about catalytic converters? Give us a call. We can answer your questions or help you schedule a repair or replacement.