The catalytic converter is the system in most cars that takes in exhaust when it first leaves the engine and processes it, removing the most dangerous particles and converting what it can to a less harmful type of exhaust before it leaves the car. In the United States and other developed markets, catalytic converters are typically required on all cars sold, so they are a very common piece and are often easy to locate. This helps to lower replacement costs, especially for the more common models.
A common catalytic converter is the type used on basic sedans and other favoured vehicle models. This two-way version has the most simple conversion process and is widely available, which lowers costs to between £97 and £325 at the time of publication. For most owners, this is the expected cost range, and for many cars, it is on the low end, costing only a couple hundred dollars for the part and only £32 to £65 for
High-end catalytic converters are three-way versions used on "lean" engines, designed for greater efficiency and used primarily on larger engines. These converters tend to be much more expensive, costing between £260 and £585 for an average replacement, although some costs increase up to £1,300, at the time of publication. Aftermarket versions generally cost a few hundred dollars less, allowing owners to search out bargains, but costs rise quickly if the converter requires welding to other parts of the engine.
Contributions to Costs
Converter replacement costs are also controlled by warranties. The Federal Emissions Warranty, for instance, makes it less expensive to purchase a converter if the car has not yet reached 80,000 miles or eight years. Other contributions to costs include individual state taxes and varying labour costs. As a general rule, the older or more rare a model, the more expensive any replacement will cost and that includes catalytic converters.
Maintenance refers to the costs of keeping a catalytic converter operating correctly and avoiding replacement costs entirely. Catalytic converters rarely malfunction themselves. Usually common maintenance of spark plugs and other basic components will also ensure that the converter stays efficient. Many converters, however, are a prime target for theft, so owners may want to invest in a lock that helps prevent the component from being stolen.