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How to replace my catalytic converter?

How to replace my catalytic converter?

How do you feel when your car is running in difficult conditions or when the mileage drops from the usual level? Sometimes you may even smell a foul odor coming from the exhaust pipe. You can tell because the engine light comes on. It's time to think about replacing your catalytic converter!

Like all automotive parts, it is subject to wear and tear and should be replaced during the life of your car.

Where are catalytic converters located?

Catalysis is a process that initiates or enhances a chemical reaction to convert the most toxic elements in exhaust gases into less toxic ones. This process takes place at high temperatures, which is why the catalytic converter is located very close to your vehicle's engine. This allows it to reach sufficient heat for catalysis more quickly.

When should I change my catalytic converter?

The catalytic converter should be replaced regularly. In particular, it can suffer from thermal aging. It is exposed to high temperatures. Wear and tear on the engine and its subsystems, such as the spark plugs or fuel injection system, as well as regular breakdowns, can also cause significant deterioration of your catalytic converter. The estimated life of a catalytic converter is between 80,000 and 120,000 km, depending on your driving habits.  

In any case, the catalytic converter should be replaced automatically every 120,000 km to ensure that your car passes the required road worthiness tests.

To replace your catalytic converter

Step 1: Park your vehicle on level ground

To access the catalytic converter, park your car on a level surface and raise it using a jack and candles. Then wait a few minutes for the catalytic converter to cool down.

Step 2: Remove the catalytic converter

Refer to your car's owner's manual to find the location of the catalytic converter. Then remove the oxygen sensor and unscrew the catalytic converter, being careful not to damage the surrounding parts. If the screws are rusty, you may need to use a little rust remover. Remove the screws and the old catalyst. Disassembly is now complete.

Step 3: Install the new catalytic converter

Install the new catalytic converter in place of the old one and tighten the screws. Finally, replace the oxygen sensor and its associated fittings. Make sure the replacement catalytic converter is secure. Welded components or rusty bolts will make replacing the catalytic converter a tedious and time-consuming process.

Step 4: Restart your car

When you're done, turn on the ignition and make sure the check engine light is off. If the light is still on, it may indicate either a faulty catalytic converter or a faulty oxygen sensor. Use a diagnostic analyzer to determine if the catalytic converter requires further repair.

How long does it take to replace a catalytic converter?

Typically, the removal and reinstallation time varies between 2 and 4 hours. We recommend that two people perform this procedure, as it's difficult to hold and secure the catalytic converter at the same time.

How much does it cost to replace a catalyst?

The cost to replace a catalytic converter is generally between $1,000 and $2,500. It's always wise to avoid cheap catalytic converter replacements because you may need to replace it. Several factors affect the cost of replacement.  

  • The make and model of your vehicle
  • Fees for diagnostics and other problems
  • The number of hours required for the replacement
  • The quality of the replacement part

Possible mistakes

Replacing a catalytic converter is not a particularly difficult job and can usually be done by inexperienced people. However, mistakes can still be made, especially on modern vehicles. The most common mistakes:

The instrument panel signals an error

After replacing the catalytic converter, the instrument panel and the lambda sensor are often confused because the values no longer match. In the case of the engine warning light, it may be something more serious, such as a sensor not receiving a signal at all.

Puddles under the car

During cold weather, condensation builds up in the exhaust system. If there is a puddle that appears to be coming from the catalytic converter, the fittings behind the converter are probably not tight enough and water is leaking out.

Poor engine performance

This fault is also related to the fact that the sensors are not getting reliable readings, and must be corrected during the first run. Otherwise, one of the probes may not survive the change, or the entire dashboard may have to be replaced.

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