Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Catalytic converter replacement cost

How much is a catalytic converter replacement?

Catalytic converter replacement options

You have three options when it comes to catalytic converter replacements. Let’s examine the options for a 2010 Mazda CX-7 SUV.

This vehicle has two catalytic converters; one is mounted on the exhaust manifold (front converter) and the other is located underneath the vehicle.

mazda cx-7 catalytic converter

The cost of the converter depends on whether you live in California, New York, Maine or Colorado, as those states have much stricter emissions regulations that require a more expensive catalytic converter. These converters are referred to as C.A.R.B. compliant (California Air Resources Board), while the other converters are referred to as Federal or EPA converters.

The price

OEM Catalytic Converter

An OEM catalytic converter is the highest quality and longest lasting converter. A genuine Mazda front catalytic converter (L3K2-20-50XA) replacement costs $1,452.90. The rear converter (L3P4-20-55XB) costs $1,011.07

Direct fit Catalytic Converter (Walker)

Walker Exhaust Ultra EPA 16588 Direct Fit Front Catalytic Converter $486.43 and WALKER 16589 Ultra Series; E.P.A. Compliant $292.79

Universal catalytic converter

You purchase a universal catalytic converter based on inlet and outlet pipe size. In other words, these don’t directly bolt on to existing flanges. They’re far less costly than direct fit converters but require welding to fit into place.

Best place to purchase a new catalytic converter

Dealers will only install OEM converters. Their labor rates are high and the part prices are the highest. However, some vehicles don’t work properly with aftermarket catalytic converters. Hondas, for example commonly set a P0430 or P0420 trouble code when an aftermarket converter is installed. So, you’d want an OEM converter for those vehicles. But that doesn’t mean it has to be installed by the dealer.

Independently owned muffler shop

An independently owned muffler shop is the cheapest option to get a replacement catalytic converter. First, they do this kind of work all day long, as opposed to mechanical shop that may install a catalytic converter once a month. Second, they have replacement flanges and pipes on hand to fix any missing or rusted parts. That’s a huge advantage if your catalytic converter has been stolen and the thieves cut off a flange in the process.

Why an independently owned muffler shop as opposed to a chain operated muffler shop?

Chain or franchised shops have incredibly high overhead due to the high cost of TV advertising and the franchise fees they must pay every month. In addition to the high overhead costs, they also have high sales quotas they must meet in order to maintain their franchise. So they have a huge incentive to replace a component, rather than repair it.

Prevent catalytic converter theft

For tips on how to prevent catalytic converter theft, see this post

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