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Catalytic Converter Replacement

Subaru Impreza Catalytic Converter Replacement Cost

The average cost for a Subaru Impreza Catalytic Converter Replacement is between $769 and $1318. Labor costs are estimated between $88 and $111 while parts are priced between $681 and $1207. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.

How Much Does a Catalytic Converter Replacement Cost?

Catalytic Converter Replacement Service and Cost

Catalytic Converter Replacement
What is a catalytic converter?

A catalytic converter converts the harmful exhaust gases produced by the engine into less harmful emissions before they leave the vehicle's exhaust system.

The catalytic converter looks similar to a muffler. It is typically a stainless steel housing with a ceramic honeycomb inside that is impregnated with platinum, palladium, and rhodium. These elements help clean up harmful exhaust gases that otherwise would be expelled from the tail pipe.

How does the catalytic converter work?

The catalytic converter has multiple sections, commonly referred to as beds. Each contains specific catalyst elements that work at a temperature of at least 400 degrees F to promote specific chemical reactions. This converts harmful CO, HC, and NOx exhaust gases into less harmful CO2, H2O, and N gases that are released from the vehicle's exhaust pipe.

The first section of the catalytic converter is called the reduction bed and is coated with rhodium. It is called the reduction bed because its purpose is to reduce the NOx gases back in to harmless nitrogen and oxygen.

The next section of the catalytic converter is the oxygen storage bed, which is coated with cerium. Its purpose is to maintain an ideal level of oxygen for use by the rear of the converter. It does this by storing and releasing the oxygen that gets released from the reduction of NOx in the previous reduction bed.

The oxygen is then available for use in the final oxidizing bed, which is coated with platinum and paladium. The purpose of the oxidizing bed is to complete the combustion of CO by adding oxygen. The oxidizing bed also uses oxygen to burn any of the raw HCs that still remain in the exhaust gases.

What are the symptoms related to a bad catalytic converter?

A failing catalytic converter can cause a vehicle to fail emissions tests and the Check Engine Light to illuminate. The exhaust might have an unusual smell. A "restricted" catalytic converter can result in a loss of engine power.

Can I drive with a catalytic converter problem?

Unless the Catalytic Converter becomes restricted or “clogged” you should be able to drive the vehicle. If black smoke in noted from the exhaust you should not drive the vehicle. This would indicate unburned fuel entering the converter which could damage it.

How often do catalytic converters need to be replaced?

If the engine is running properly, the catalytic converter should last the life of the vehicle. Failure is commonly caused by too much raw fuel entering the converter, and example of which would be the result of an engine misfire. Too much unburned fuel can coat the catalyst causing the converter to stop working, the converter can also overheat and break apart inside becoming restricted or “plugged”.

Catalytic Converter Replacement Repair Information

How are catalytic converter issues diagnosed?

Depending on the type of failure, different diagnostic approaches are necessary. For a lack of power concern, a back pressure test should be performed to check for a plugged converter. If an illuminated check engine light leads to a fault code that indicates a failing converter, the manufacturer recommended diagnostic procedures should be followed to confirm the fault. A catalytic converter could also have a noise concern (exhaust leak or rattling type noise). In this case, diagnosing the issue would involve duplicating the noise and confirming in is coming from the catalytic converter.

How is a catalytic converter replaced?

A failed catalytic converter will require replacement. A vehicle may have more than one converter, it is very important to make sure the correct converter is identified when ordering parts and installing the new converter. Most converters are bolted in place in the exhaust system. If not bolted, the converter would be welded or clamped in place. A bolted in converter can be replaced by unbolting (penetrating oil should be used prior to attempting to remove any exhaust system bolts) the old converter and bolting the new one in. If a converter is welded in place, the old one will need to be cut out and the new converter installed - either by welded or using exhaust pipe clamps as required.

RepairPal Recommendations for catalytic converter issues

Care should always be taken when working around hot exhaust components. An engine not running properly is nearly always the cause of a catalytic converter failure. Engine operation should the thoroughly checked after replacing a faulty converter. Failure to do so could result in failure of the new converter.

What to look out for when dealing with catalytic converter issues

Rust build up on exhaust system components is not uncommon, penetrating oil should be used on threads prior to attempting removal. A new Catalytic Converter can be quickly damaged if installed in a vehicle with a poorly running engine. Proper diagnoses should always be following prior to replacing a catalytic converter, just because a fault code points to the converter, does not guarantee replacing it will correct the problem. Many vehicles have more than one converter, care should be taken to make sure the correct converter is diagnosed or replaced.

Can I replace the catalytic converter myself?

A Catalytic Converter can either be bolted or welded in place. In most cases a converter bolted in place can be removed using basic hand tools (be sure to use penetrating oil before attempting to remove exhaust system components). If the converter is welded in place, some sort of cutting device will be necessary to remove it. Be sure to check your vehicle to see what you have before attempting this repair. Having the necessary tools on hand before starting will help the job run smoothly. It is very important to reinstall any heat shields that were removed in order to replace the converter because of the heat generated during normal operation.

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