How to Replace a Catalytic Converter

A catalytic converter, the part of the car that cleans its emissions, is a part that few drivers pay attention to until there is a problem. Once an issue has developed, the most common reaction people give is to immediately call a repair shop such as Hybrid Repair San Diego and have the car towed there. This will get the problem fixed, but it can end up costing the driver several hundred dollars. The worst part is that replacing a catalytic converter is something that can be done by just about anyone who has access to a car lift. By doing the work themselves, drivers can save hundreds of dollars, as well as having the peace of mind of knowing the job was done right.

Many people who consider themselves amateur mechanics complete their automotive repair jobs, big or small, in a driveway using nothing more than jacks and jack stands. That works fine for some jobs, but when it comes to replacing a bad catalytic converter, even the pros need the safety and security that comes from working under a car lift. Auto lifts provide more than just safety though, they also allow better access to the underside of the vehicle, making repairs easier and more efficient.

Replacement catalytic converters can be purchased from many different websites, or they can be bought directly from dealerships who sell the brand of car in question. Once the replacement “cat” has been purchased, diagrams and schematics of their location on the vehicle can be found in a basic repair manual and even online. In many cases there are complete guides to the actual replacement process available as well. The tools used in this kind of work can vary depending on the model and the location of the cat. Sometimes, simple hand tools are enough to remove the offending unit; other times, a heat gun or welding torch will be required.

The new piece is put in according to manufacturer’s instructions. Once the cat repairs have been completed, the car lift can be lowered. Drivers should pay attention to the warning signs of catalytic converter failure so that they can fix any problems before they become too serious. Warning signs of a bad cat include, slow acceleration, foul smell in the cabin, rattling, raspy noise from underneath the vehicle, and darker than usual exhaust. Any one of these signs is enough to put the car up on the car lift and have a look to make sure that everything is working the way it should. Many catalytic converters are rated for 100,000 miles or more of service. If the job is done properly a replacement cat should last just as long.