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2003 Toyota Corolla - Dead Cat

My car’s catalytic converter has several holes and needs to be replaced. I was told it would be cheaper to purchase just the “front catalytic converter” secondhand and have it installed. Is this a good idea? What does this part look like? What would be a trustworthy location to purchase this part?

I don’t think catalytic converters can be resold legally. However if you don’t live in California or a handful of other states it should be fairly inexpensive to buy an aftermarket new one.


It is NOT illegal to purchase or sell a used catalytic converted. The EPA requires that it has been tested, certified and properly labeled.

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Are you attached somehow to 17yr old car? That may be worth $1500? Can you afford a newer, “better” car?

As opposed to spending a couple of hundred replacing the catalytic converter? If the OP’s car runs and doesn’t need massive amounts of work why not fix it?


Like doing a knee replacement on a 98 year old. There’s something worse to go wrong waiting in the wings.

And when it does the OP can look for a newer car.

After having wasted money on a new cat.

“Wasted” is subjective. If the OP has the catalytic converter replaced and the transmission fails the following week then yes. If some clown hits it and totals it a week later, same thing. OTOH, the OP could get another year or more out of it. You place your bet and take your chances.

I don’t bet unless I have good odds. I wouldn’t place my money on a 17 year old grocery getter.

Muff shops hate cheapskates who want to replace 1 section of rusty exhaust. I bought a v6 car 2 yrs ago with 2 new cats. Kinda nice. Actually had 100% all new exhaust.

I had a split cat, bender shop welded it back together for $10 while replacing the muffler. Maybe it can be fixed without replacement.