A catalytic converter replacement is not cheap. It costs between £150 and £800 on average in the UK. For some high-end vehicles, it can even cost over £1000!
However, it is important, and you shouldn't ignore the need for one. Your catalytic converter (or 'cat' for short) reduces exhaust emissions. This, in turn, helps to reduce the issue of urban pollution, which can be detrimental to human health. Without the use of catalytic converters, there would be increased health risks and a deterioration in air quality.
By the end of this article, you will understand:
- Why your catalytic converter costs as much as it does
- What a 'cat' does
- What it looks like
- Why every car needs a catalytic converter
- When to book a replacement
- How Much Does a Catalytic Converter Cost in the UK?
- Why Does a Catalytic Converter Cost So Much?
- What Does a Catalytic Converter Do?
- Does My Car Need a Catalytic Converter?
- What Does a Catalytic Converter Look Like?
- Why Are Catalytic Converter Thefts So Common?
- What Can Cause Your Catalytic Converter To Wear Out?
- When Do I Need to Book a Catalytic Converter Replacement?
- How Long Does a Catalytic Converter Last?
- How Long Does it Take to Replace a Catalytic Converter?
How Much Does a Catalytic Converter Cost in the UK?
The average UK catalytic converter replacement cost is between £150 and £800. It can even cost over £1,000 for some high-end vehicles! The price of a catalytic converter may seem expensive, but an inefficient part can cost a lot more.
As with many car repairs, the cost does depend on what type of vehicle you drive.
The average replacement cost for three types of vehicles are as follows:
- City cars & Hatchbacks - £150 - £250
- Saloons & Estate Cars - £300 -£400
- Sports & Deluxe Cars - £500+
You can browse replacement parts on Eurocarparts to get an idea of the current prices for your vehicle.
Why Does a Catalytic Converter Cost So Much?
Catalytic converters are not cheap to build. They use Platinum, Palladium or Rhodium as a catalyst. These precious metals are hard to find and cost between £28 and £570 per gram!
And, as these prices constantly fluctuate, it's hard to predict how much a catalytic converter will cost.
Since replacing a catalytic converter can be such a big job, you may end up paying higher labour costs. The car needs to be lifted off the floor, and if the converter is welded or bolted to the car the mechanic may need to use specialist tools.
If you're looking for a quote for your catalytic converter replacement, don't accept any offer until you've done so. We'll help you find the best deal in your area.
Once the garage has had a look, they will provide a transparent, no-obligation price for a new catalytic converter from a garage near you. Most importantly, you deal with the garage directly and you never pay a penny until after they have completed all the work.
What Does a Catalytic Converter Do?
The catalytic converter speeds up the removal of harmful exhaust gases. It does this by splitting their molecules up before they can leave the exhaust. It converts CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) and NOx (Nitrogen Oxides) into Oxygen and water vapour.
These are much cleaner emissions, which are much safer to release into the atmosphere.
CO2 contains carbon and oxygen and NOx contains nitrogen and oxygen. These molecules are bonded together through chemical reactions during the combustion process.
Each of these elements is less harmful on its own, so modern exhaust systems are designed to release them into the atmosphere separately.
Does My Car Need a Catalytic Converter?
Yes, your car needs a catalytic converter. Every car registered in the UK must have one fitted by law. It has been standard for petrol vehicles since 1992, and 2001 for diesel vehicles.
Petrol and diesel engines combust differently, so there are different types of catalytic converters.
'Two-Way Oxidation' - The first versions had a simple purpose. They turned Carbon Monoxide into CO2, and Hydrocarbons (particles of unburned fuel) into CO2 and water.
'Three-Way-Oxidation' - This type of catalytic converter is fitted to modern cars. It has the same purpose as 'Two-Way Oxidation' but reduces your NOx emissions as well. These include Nitric Oxide (NO) and Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2. These are two of the most harmful exhaust emissions.
'Diesel Oxidation Catalyst' - These units are fitted to diesel vehicles. Diesel cars naturally produce more pollution than petrol cars. Without any intervention, this would choke the planet. To combat rising pollution levels, car companies invented several other exhaust treatments which include Diesel Particulate Filtersand AdBlue.
Modern catalytic converters are more efficient than the original models. This means that our cars release less CO2 into the environment now than ever before - even if they can't reduce it to 0%.
What Does a Catalytic Converter Look Like?
A catalytic converter looks like a large metal box with two pipes coming out of it. This is bolted to the exhaust assembly underneath the back of your car (as below).
If you can't see your 'cat', you should get your car towed to a local garage immediately. You've likely been the victim of a catalytic converter theft, which is becoming an ever-growing problem in the UK.
Why Are Catalytic Converter Thefts So Common?
'Cat' thefts are increasingly common in the UK because the catalyst materials have a very high value. As well as this, the part is an easy target.
Thieves don't need to be delicate when stealing a 'cat'. They can quickly cut the entire exhaust manifold away from the car and disassemble it later. This means many thefts happen in broad daylight.
If you suspect you've been the victim of a catalytic converter theft, don't drive the car. Get a second opinion from your recovery provider or a local mechanic and then contact the police to report the crime. You will also need to source a replacement catalytic converter.
Fortunately, if you can provide a valid crime number to your insurance company, they should cover the cost of the replacement for you.
A mechanic near you will be happy to look at your car and tell you whether or not your catalytic converter has been stolen and needs replacing.
What Can Cause Your Catalytic Converter To Wear Out?
Like most aspects of your vehicle, treating your car in a certain way can influence the lifespan of your catalytic converter. There are several things that could cause your catalytic converter to need changing sooner than expected.
Poor Engine Maintenance
If your engine is in poor shape, your converter will wear out quickly. Things such as worn-out valve guides, misfiring spark plugs, and incorrect oils and fuels can contribute to shortening the lifespan of your catalytic converter.
If your antifreeze or coolant leaks into the combustion chamber you could end up with a large problem on your hands. The leak will clog the converter, which will lead to the production of thick soot.
This soot blocks the air passages, rendering the converter useless.
Only Using Your Car For Short Trips
The catalytic converter only works when it reaches a certain temperature – if it doesn’t get hot enough it will not burn hydrocarbons completely. It takes your car time to reach this temperature, so if you’re only driving for five minutes at a time you will end up with a clog.
Go for a longer drive regularly to ensure the burning of the build-up of deposits in the converter.
Broken Oxygen Sensor
If your oxygen sensor is malfunctioning, it may be sending inaccurate readings to your car’s computer. This can result in issues with the conversion of harmful fumes to safe ones.
Broken Spark Plugs
If your spark plugs are misfiring it could result in unburned fuel igniting inside the converter. This will melt the ceramic to melt and malfunction.
When Do I Need to Book a Catalytic Converter Replacement?
If there is a problem with your 'cat', you need to get it sorted right away.
Fortunately, it gives you plenty of warning if there is a problem. The most common of which would be seeing either of these warning lights.
If either warning light comes on, you should book an inspection at a garage near you. You should always take a warning light seriously, but it's even more important if you see the exhaust warning light.
It could lead to an MOT failure and a very expensive repair bill if you don't get the problem fixed.
Almost 1.3 million drivers failed an MOT due to excess exhaust emissions in 2020 - don't let it be you in 2023.
Even if you don't yet see the warning light, any of these symptoms could mean your catalytic converter has a problem.
- Your engine runs rough
- Increased fuel consumption
- Increased emissions
- Excessive white smoke
- Blue smoke
- Slower acceleration
- The engine does not accelerate past a certain RPM (usually idle speed)
- Your engine cuts out (due to additional backpressure)
- There is a rattling noise from the exhaust
By catching an exhaust problem early, you can preserve your catalytic converter and increase your chances of passing the MOT emissions test.
It may also help to keep the cost of your replacement down.
For most modern cars, you can expect to pay around $300 – $1,650 (not including labor) for a new catalytic converter. However, these prices usually depend on the cost of the parts and local labor charges. For example, replacing a standard catalytic converter (CAT) in newer cars can cost between $500 and $2,200.How much does catalytic converter cost? ›
Catalytic converter replacement isn't cheap. For most vehicles, the average cost of a catalytic converter repair is between $945 and $2475 including parts and labor. The catalytic converter cost itself can be up to $2250 of that.Do 2023 cars have catalytic converters? ›
Since 1974, Catalytic converters have been standard in all vehicles. Thieves can make more money by selling stolen catalytic converters to scrapyards and metal recycling facilities.What is worth money in a catalytic converter? ›
Catalytic converters have economic value as they contain precious metals. This is the main reason why they are sold as the most expensive scrap. Because it contains rhodium, palladium and platinum, which are among the most precious metals.What cars have the most expensive catalytic converters? ›
List of vehicles with the most valuable catalytic converters: Ferrari F430 $7540 Lamborghini Aventador $6240 Ram 2500 $3460 Ford F-250 $2804 Ford But are mostly found in the $1,500 range. 2010 B8.What's the highest paying catalytic converter for scrap? ›
- Lamborghini Aventador: $3,200 each (contains 2 cat converters)
- RAM 2500: $3,500.
- Ferrari F430: $3,500.
- Ford F250: $2,750.
- Ford Mustang: $1,500.
- Toyota Prius: $1,022.
The average catalytic converter ranges between $800 and $1,200, depending on the vehicle's make and model. In general, the larger the engine, the more expensive the converter.What cars get catalytic converter stolen most? ›
- Ford F Series truck.
- Honda Accord.
- Toyota Prius.
- Honda CR-V.
- Ford Explorer.
- Ford E-150 Econoline.
- Chevrolet Equinox.
- Chevrolet Silverado.
Can you drive without a catalytic converter? Yes, you could temporarily drive without a catalytic converter, and it won't damage a modern car or engine. But in the long run, it'll emit harmful gas, sacrifice your car's engine performance and fuel economy, and possibly get you in trouble with the law.What cars have no catalytic converters? ›
European cars like Volkswagen, BMW, and Audi have designs like this, like some Hondas. If a car was made before 1974, it doesn't have a catalytic converter (they were implemented as mandatory after the rules on emissions got stricter). Electric cars also don't have converters as they produce no emissions.
The actual value you get for your Toyota catalytic converter depends on your car model and the size and weight of the catalytic converter, and the price can range from $75 to $700 when sold as scrap.Can a catalytic converter last 200000 miles? ›
Under ideal use, the car should die before the catalytic converter. However, mistreating it can be so simple that it may well croak before the end of the car's life. My workplace fleet regularly sees the converters outlast the vehicles, 10+ years and 200,000+ miles.What are Dodge catalytic converters worth? ›
Some Dodge Catalytic Converters Are Called DPFs
Some DPFs could be worth $0, while others could be up to $1,000. The best option would be to take pictures of the units and serial numbers for our quoting team. We can quote DPF catalytic converters for you.
Chances are the criminals won't even waste their time on low-riding cars. Non-Hybrid American and Asian models such as Ford, Hyundai, Chrysler, Subaru, Dodge, Nissan, Mazda, and Chevrolet have catalytic converters designed with less precious metals.Which cars catalytic converter has the most platinum? ›
Aside from the Toyota Prius, other cars also have a significant amount of platinum, resulting in an expensive catalytic converter. Namely, the Ford F250, Ferrari F430, Lamborghini Aventador, and Ford Mustang.Can I drive with a bad catalytic converter? ›
A Bad Catalytic Converter Can Burn Through Overtime
Most of the problems related to catalytic converters do not affect the function of your vehicle. If you have to deal with a fully plugged catalytic, avoid driving your car. If you notice smog coming from your car, it is best to seek professional help immediately.
- Step 1: Contact the Authorities. ...
- Step 2: Contact Your Insurance Company. ...
- Step 3: Visit a Mechanic. ...
- Loud Vehicle Noises and Missing Catalytic Converter. ...
- Rough Driving and Acceleration. ...
- Annual Vehicle Inspection Failure. ...
- Harmful Car Emissions. ...
- Avoiding a $250 Fine.