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Is an aftermarket "california high efficiency" converter okay for my car?
1999 Honda Civic

Is an aftermarket "California High Efficiency" Converter okay for my car?

(1999 Honda Civic)
The Honda dealer in my town, whom I trust, advised me I need a new catalytic converter, but they want approximately $1,000 for the job. Same goes for another Honda repair shop in town. I was concerned about the cost & wanted to shop around. They just said to be careful about buying an aftermarket converter. A muffler shop in town said they could replace it for $240, & said that the Honda dealer must be talking about the "49 State Low Efficiency" one, & that the High Efficiency one is fine for my car. I don't want to save $800 just to have to replace it with the dealer converter a year from now. Help!
2 answers & 1 comment
Popular Answer
on October 17, 2009
As a general rule you get what you pay for. In my experience the aftermarket converters will work but don't seem to have the life that the factory units have. I have had customers purchase non factory converters only to have to purchase them again later when they wear out. The non factory units that I have seen installed are typically smaller than the factory converter and I would imagine that in itself puts an added load on the converter. At the price quoted you could purchase several non factory converters and still be ahead. As far as low or high efficiency I'm not sure what they are talking about. I have never seen Honda use the designation "high efficiency", but they do have California and 49 state vehicles and sometimes the parts differ because of this. There are two types of catalytic converters used the first being and oxidizing catalyst and the second being a three way converter. Most all Honda's use a three way converter. Honda does have a designation of ULEV and PZEV, but that doesn't apply to your vehicle. It's my advise that you try to stay within the specs that your vehicle was designed to avoid any issues down the road.
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on October 17, 2009
Thank you for your detailed response, rdude. I will do more research on the specific specs before I decide which way to go. I don't want to put cheap parts in my car, but my husband just thinks that $1,000 is too much for the converter.
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on October 17, 2009
As a general rule you get what you pay for. In my experience the aftermarket converters will work but don't seem to have the life that the factory units have. I have had customers purchase non factory converters only to have to purchase them again later when they wear out. The non factory units that I have seen installed are typically smaller than the factory converter and I would imagine that in itself puts an added load on the converter. At the price quoted you could purchase several non factory converters and still be ahead. As far as low or high efficiency I'm not sure what they are talking about. I have never seen Honda use the designation "high efficiency", but they do have California and 49 state vehicles and sometimes the parts differ because of this. There are two types of catalytic converters used the first being and oxidizing catalyst and the second being a three way converter. Most all Honda's use a three way converter. Honda does have a designation of ULEV and PZEV, but that doesn't apply to your vehicle. It's my advise that you try to stay within the specs that your vehicle was designed to avoid any issues down the road.
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on October 17, 2009
Thank you for your detailed response, rdude. I will do more research on the specific specs before I decide which way to go. I don't want to put cheap parts in my car, but my husband just thinks that $1,000 is too much for the converter.
Have the muffler shop install his , mine picked up 2 mpg and seems to run better and have not had any " check engine light on " .
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