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Want to learn more about Catalytic Converter replacements?

Read our short guide with information on costs, symptoms and more.

What does a Catalytic Converter do?

The catalytic converter, also called ‘cat’ sits next to your engine and is the key car part of the exhaust system, responsible for reducing the toxic emissions your engine produces into less harmful pollutants. Through a chemical reaction, the toxic emissions of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides are turned into less harmful gases before they get emitted via the exhaust.

The core of a catalytic converter is made of ceramic blocks which have a porous structure. These pores are coated with catalysts containing valuable metals platinum, rhodium and palladium, which work best when heated up, hence the location next to the engine. During a drive, the toxic exhaust gases passing through the heated pores, causing a chemical reaction and are broken down into less harmful substances.

What does a catalytic converter replacement involve?

  • Mechanic will read the ECU for catalytic converter and oxygen sensor related problems.
  • Mechanic will inspect the catalytic converter for damage.
  • Mechanic removes oxygen sensor for further check and removal of catalytic converter.
  • If necessary, the catalytic converter will be replaced.
  • Mechanic will advise if other parts need to be replaced.
  • Mechanic will run engine, check catalytic converter operation.
  • Mechanic will make adjustments where necessary.

Can I replace a catalytic coverter myself?

Unless you are a qualified mechanic with the required skills, training and equipment to do the job, we strongly recommend a catalytic converter replacement is only carried out by a professional mechanic. ClickMechanic can help get you a vetted and local mechanic to carry out the work. Just enter your postcode and your car's registration number at the top of this page and select the work needed to get an instant fixed price up front.

What are the symptoms of a bad catalytic converter?

You'll know something might be wrong with your car's catalytic converter:

  • When dark smoke is coming from the exhaust
  • When the engine performance is significantly reduced
  • When fuel efficiency is decreasing
  • When you experience issues while accelerating
  • When the smell of sulfur (rotten eggs) is coming from your car
  • When the check engine light flashes up

How long does it take to replace a catalytic converter?

On average, catalytic converter replacement times can range from just over 1 hour to 1.7 hours with an average of around 1.2 hours. The time that the job takes will depend on a number of factors, like your vehicle's make and model, year, as well as other factors. Select your car at the top of this page for information on job time and cost for your vehicle through ClickMechanic.

Is a bad catalytic converter an MOT failure?

If the catalytic converter is faulty and emits toxic pollutants above the legal limits then normally the car will fail its MOT.

How often should I replace the catalytic converter?

Catalytic converters are built to have a long lifetime, however over time the pores can become clogged, or overheating can cause physical damage. A damaged catalytic converter will emit more toxic pollution into the atmosphere. It is important to ensure the catalytic converter is always serviced as and when stipulated in the guidelines set out by your car's manufacturer.

What happens if I don't replace my catalytic converter?

If the catalytic converter stopped working as it should, your car will emit more toxic pollutants, likely above the legal limits. Cars which are passing exhaust fumes above these limits will fail their MOT.

A bad catalytic converter will certainly have an impact on other parts of your car, starting with the engine which is prevented from running freely. As a result, you will need to burn more and more fuel to power your engine appropriately up to a point where your car becomes undrivable.

Another impact of a bad catalytic converter can be overheating which causes damage to parts around it.

How to protect your Catalytic Converter from theft

There are ways to prevent the theft of your catalytic converter, mainly by making it harder to access and remove it. Below are a few suggestions on how to deter thieves or at least slow them down:

  • Parking closer to walls, other vehicles or close to the kerb, to make climbing under your car more difficult.
  • Marking the catalytic converter with an engraved serial number can allow easier tracing as well making it harder to sell
  • Welding the bolts if the converter is bolted on. This does not stop thieves but makes it harder to remove the converter using only a spanner. The downside to consider is that it not only makes it harder for thieves but also mechanics when they are working on your exhaust system.
  • Get a protective cover fitted to make it more difficult for thieves to remove the converter
  • Get a catalytic converter alarm which is set off when the catalytic converter is tampered with
  • Increased security measures, e.g. if possible park in a lockable garage, fencing, park in well-lit areas or CCTV ?

Why does catalytic converter theft happen?

Catalytic converters contain valuable and expensive metals, palladium and platinum, which makes them a target for theft. As the price for these metals increases the numbers of catalytic converter theft go up as well.
As part of the exhaust system, they are relatively easy to access, especially in taller vehicles which are further off the ground.

Catalytic converter theft not only leaves you with the cost of replacing it, but you will also need to take care of any other damages that are caused by the act of removal.

Can you drive a car with a bad catalytic converter?

A car with a bad catalytic converter will produce higher emissions, and will very likely fail an emissions test when tested. Another consideration is that knowingly using a vehicle on a public highway that would fail the emissions test is punishable by law (the police can stop you, test this and fine you). If you suspect there is any issue with your catalytic converter or there are concerns about its age or condition, book an inspection with a professional mechanic immediate effect.

Is catalytic converter checked during an MOT test?

Yes, the catalytic converter will be checked along with other parts of the exhaust emissions system. Depending on the age and fuel type of the vehicle, it will be checked that it meets all the rules regulations in regards to the relevant emission standards.

What causes the catalytic converter to fail?

There are 3 common causes for a catalytic converter failure:
* Excessive heat - misfiring spark plugs or even a leaky exhaust could cause unburned fuel to get into the catalytic converter
* Chemical contamination - including fluids such as oil and coolant, which can leak into the exhaust from the engine
* Physical or structural damage - going over speed bumps or damaged cause by high kerbs

What is the average lifespan of a catalytic converter?

Catalytics converters usually last 100,000 miles or even the entire lifetime of the vehicle, however this can differ depending on how and where you drive, and other internal and external factors.

Is it ok to drive with a broken or missing catalytic converter?

It is illegal to drive with a broken or missing catalytic converter in the UK, and could also lead to a hefty fine if caught by the police. It will furthermore lead to your vehicle failing its next MOT.

Additionally, driving without a catalytic converter can also lead to further damage to the engine and harmful emissions that are detrimental to the environment.

What happens if I don't fix or replace catalytic converter?

The engine, exhaust manifold, and underbody of your car can all be damaged if your catalytic converter is clogged and not replaced or fixed. When the catalytic converter is blocked, excessive heat and backpressure will be generated in the tailpipe, causing damage to the surrounding areas and affecting engine performance.

How much does replacing a catalytic converter cost?

A catalytic converter replacement generally costs between £175 and £500 with an average price of £310. Ultimately, the cost depends on your location, car and what parts your car's manufacturer recommends using for the replacement. Find out what you could save by having your catalytic converter replaced by ClickMechanic by selecting your car at the top of this page!

Want to know how much you'd pay at a franchise dealer or independent garage?

Check out the ClickMechanic price for a Catalytic Converter replacement. We use industry standard data & millions of data points so you know what you should be paying

These estimates may include Clamps and paste, Catalytic converter, Clamps and paste, Catalytic converter, Clamps and paste, Catalytic converter and/or Catalytic converter.

46 manufacturers for Catalytic Converter Replacement

Name ClickMechanic Click Mechanic average Franchise dealer estimate

Alfa Romeo

£457 £220 - £601 Get exact price


£396 £278 - £671 Get exact price


£451 £344 - £684 Get exact price


£288 £240 - £461 Get exact price


£339 £325 - £503 Get exact price


£283 £235 - £438 Get exact price


£452 £582 - £582 Get exact price


£165 £207 - £239 Get exact price


£315 £383 - £392 Get exact price


£2729 £1,987 - £4,637 Get exact price


£327 £452 - £452 Get exact price


£385 £284 - £610 Get exact price


£318 £293 - £606 Get exact price


£255 £224 - £383 Get exact price


£346 £232 - £504 Get exact price


£276 £376 - £433 Get exact price


£352 £323 - £600 Get exact price


£611 £467 - £785 Get exact price


£448 £259 - £599 Get exact price

Land Rover

£551 £342 - £1,109 Get exact price


£230 £320 - £320 Get exact price


£498 £313 - £1,110 Get exact price


£108 £160 - £160 Get exact price


£344 £454 - £464 Get exact price


£502 £255 - £689 Get exact price


£461 £350 - £851 Get exact price


£182 £212 - £284 Get exact price


£336 £444 - £491 Get exact price


£591 £370 - £1,059 Get exact price


£371 £313 - £646 Get exact price


£171 £249 - £249 Get exact price


£255 £191 - £460 Get exact price


£835 £865 - £1,351 Get exact price


£259 £328 - £340 Get exact price


£301 £244 - £577 Get exact price


£167 £161 - £317 Get exact price


£298 £264 - £433 Get exact price


£335 £309 - £486 Get exact price


£362 £249 - £743 Get exact price


£526 £364 - £916 Get exact price


£262 £142 - £518 Get exact price


£359 £265 - £674 Get exact price


£357 £338 - £572 Get exact price


£342 £322 - £557 Get exact price


£296 £253 - £439 Get exact price


£404 £295 - £775 Get exact price

Prices could not be created for 34 models. Show ∨

  • Microcar
  • Metrocab
  • Hummer
  • Reva
  • Asia
  • TVR
  • Ferrari
  • Morgan
  • Buick
  • Lamborghini
  • Pontiac
  • Carbodies
  • Mitsubishi Fuso
  • Moskvich
  • Bentley
  • Cadillac
  • Ford US
  • Aixam
  • Austin
  • Daimler
  • FSO
  • Iveco
  • Maybach
  • Rolls-Royce
  • Santana
  • Tata
  • Great Wall
  • Piaggio
  • Infiniti
  • Aston Martin
  • Lada
  • Lancia
  • Ssangyong
  • London Taxi's International

Estimates on repair costs, such as the above results for a catalytic converter replacement, are created by combining data from multiple third-party sources. The actual cost of using your local repair providers may be outside of the estimated range. We provide estimates on repair costs for information only and accept no liability for any inaccuracies or errors. If you think an estimate is incorrect, please contact us to let us know.

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Recent Catalytic Converter replacement quotes

These recent quotes were taken from our quote engine which uses third-party industry standard data on repair times, along with a live parts retailer, and a regional labour rate to build an accurate free quote. We are constantly improving our quote engine, so please let us know if a price seems incorrect.


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