Tips and Steps on How to Install Catalytic Converter

A catalytic converter in the exhaust system of a motor vehicle is essential in making exhaust fumes less harmful. Although this device is simple, it carries a huge impact on how a vehicle may operate.

If a catalytic converter failed, it must be replaced. However, paying car dealerships to replace and fix your car for a catalytic converter failure can be quite a dent in your pocket. But there are other options like gathering your set of hand tools and doing it yourself. In this article, we will cover the steps on how to install a catalytic converter.

Symptoms of Failed Catalytic Converter

Before you fix and replace anything, you have to know why exactly you have to do it. Does your car suffer from reduction of engine performance? A clogged converter restricts exhaust flow that can result to a poor engine performance and also creates rattling noises when it becomes old and damaged. A failing converter can also cause increased emissions.

If your car have these symptoms, it is best to have your vehicle inspected by a professional technician to determine if it needs the catalytic converter replaced.

catalytic converter

Selecting the Best Catalytic Converter

Before you replace any old and battered catalytic converter in your vehicle, you have to buy the right replacement for it.

First thing, before purchasing any converter replacement, it is important to know what type of emission system your vehicle originally came with. Check for your emission equipment sticker, this can be found either under the hood of your vehicle or behind the engine.

Where is your vehicle registered in? There are certain standards that the catalytic converter of your vehicle has to meet depending on where it is registered in.

There are two types of catalytic converter you can buy. A direct fit catalytic converter is designed to match the old converter from your vehicle. You can bolt it directly into place during your installation. There is also the universal catalytic converter if the direct fit converter is not available which costs less but this will need a little more effort to install. You have to actually measure your existing exhaust and might have to weld it into place taking extra care in fitting the right sensor ports.

How to Install Catalytic Converter

Catalytic converters are most commonly secured in two ways. It is either bolted up at the flange or is welded directly at the pipes of the exhaust system. Though replacing catalytic converters may vary from different types of vehicles, we will cover the most common bolt-on type that can be done with enough knowledge and the right kind of tools.

man fixing car

Steps on How to Install a Catalytic Converter

Raise your vehicle and secure it on jack stands. Make sure to raise it to have enough space for working underneath the vehicle.

Find and locate the catalytic converter under your vehicle. Catalytic converter is part of your exhaust system so you will most likely find it in the system itself.

Remove any oxygen sensor, if any, that may be attached directly or near the catalytic converter.

Spray penetrating oil on the flange hardware of the exhaust to break it more easily, since it is prone to rust because of its location under the vehicle. Let it sit for minutes before loosening it up with a wrench.

Replace the catalytic converter with a new one. Also, replace any exhaust flange gaskets to avoid any exhaust leaks. Install the new catalytic converter by reversing the steps.

You may also want to follow the How to Replace Catalytic Converter video if you want a more visual step in replacing a failed catalytic converter.

catalytic converter engine

Testing the New Catalytic Converter

After replacing and installing the new catalytic converter in your vehicle, it is best to take the car out for a test drive. Look for any leaks from the exhaust of your vehicle while it is running. Most leaks are caused by loose bolts on the flange of the converter. So, if you see leaks while running your vehicle, turn the engine off and let it cool. Re-tighten the bolts until it is necessary.

Tips in Replacing Catalytic Converter

The steps in replacing and installing a failed catalytic converter are quite easy to follow. However, it is a good idea to determine either before or after you replace the converter to know the reason why the original converter failed. This will help you to correct the causes of failure to avoid the same thing happening again.

Dealing with a failed catalytic converter in your vehicle and having to replace it can be quite expensive depending on the type of vehicle and where you go to get it fixed. However, if you have the right knowledge on how to install catalytic converter, you can even save a hassle by doing the work yourself.