$4K+ for catalytic converter replacement?

My brother says the Toyota dealership is quoting him about $4,200 to replace the catalytic converter on his 2001 Tundra SR5 V8. Looking online I see converters for $325 - $500. The dealership really seem out of line on this but I have purchased a car from them and they seem respectible. What am I missing? Does it require some sort of expertise to perform this operation like a catalytic surgeon?


OEM converters are often better than aftermarket, but there’s no need to take an out-of-warranty vehicle to the dealer.

Look for a good indy shop here:

You may see the claim, here or elsewhere, that for some cars, after market converters will not work quite right and will set the check engine light. I don’t know about this specific Toyota. In general, you should avoid the dealership for non-warranty repairs whenever possible, as they will be priced much higher than chains or independents.

Also he should make sure it’s the converters that are bad, and not something else either causing a converter code to be read, or that damaged the converters.

Does he happen to be in CA? I imagine the parts there will be more, rockauto.com doesn’t list any CA-complient converters. The ones they do list are $210-$310 each.

He’s in Kentucky and an Indiana dealership (Green’s) is the one that read the CEL code. The dealership has been there a long time. That doesn’t make them perfectly honest but it’s a good indication. Everyone makes mistakes.

I had advised him to take it to an independent garage for another estimate. I have 2 trusted indys and a dealership that I get my estimates at. Oddly enough, my dealership is very competitive on pricing but it’s nice to have a choice.

I know converters aren’t cheap but I would have expected $800 - $1000, but not $4000.

I’d take my $ values and triple them for dealer prices, so $300x2 cats x 3 dealer = $1,800 for parts, plus, say, $300 labor = $2,100. Still a long way from $4,000.

Does he have the infamous P0420 code? Toyota’s seem to be prone to this one, and replacing the cat, even with a Toyota cat, rarely fixes the problem.

Toyota’s of this vintage usually use a one piece system from the exhaust manifold back. So it is not just the cat(s) the dealer is replacing. If you go after market, realize that the labor is going to be a little high as the cat(s) have to be cut off and the replacements welded back on.

I’ll check on his code and get back, @Keith.
Yes @texases, I thought about maybe even doubling the prices etc too but $4200 is still out of the ballpark. I told him that unless it was affecting his mileage he just needed some black tape to put over the light.

While OEM parts may last longer, it might not mean much to your brother unless he plans to keep his tundra another 10 years. I’d find an indy shop that has done the replacement before with aftermarket parts. And he should evaluate replacing just the cat and including the pipes. Even stainless steel wears out.

Go to a muffler shop, they can install universal ones, which will be even cheaper than the aftermarket ones on the internet.

The dealership has been there a long time. That doesn’t make them perfectly honest but it’s a good indication.

Sorry…but that means NOTHING…I can show you SCUM dealers that have been around for decades…

If it’s a V8, it probably has at least 2 converters, and they’re probably replacing both of them. That said, the price is still way high.

Yes @oblivion, it’s a V8 and he said the dealership wants to replace 2 converters. He didn’t mention anything about exhaust pipe replacement as part of the estimate.

@jtsanders, my brother and I tend to keep our vehicles. He gave up his Ford van, with 300,000 miles on it, for the Tundra. I think he wants to get at least that much out of it, although I don’t know his current mileage. He used to travel a lot for hunting and shooting sport clays but he’s had to drop those for a while.

He hasn’t responded to my question about the CEL code yet. I emailed him some of the Indy’s from the link provided by @circuitsmith. I found two Indy’s that specialize in Toyota’s and they both received several good reviews. I’m waiting on his response.

Thanks for eveyone’s feedback!

What year is this? I remember someone mentioning a time limit that was federally mandated cats had to last, but I’m not aure what that time is. The Tundra didn’t start production until 1999, so at most it’s a 12 year old.

Sometimes if a downstream 02 sensor is not reading correctly it will set a code for a faulty catalytic converter.

OEM prices from Alldata;

Left side $1391.40
Right side $1464.63

Walker exhaust makes direct fit catalytic converters for this vehicle, after a quick search (and guessing on body configuration) I found one for $308.
A proper diagnosis is the first step.


Chaissos, I said it was a 2001 but looking at pictures of the extended cab offered in 2000, I believe that’s it, a 2000 extended cab. His doesn’t have exterior door handles.

Nevada_545, with those prices that still leaves about $1350 for labor so maybe the $4200 estimate is in line. Maybe it’s just sticker shock. I remember when you could buy an entire car for less than that :-0

Fordman59, I have found several discussions with just that advice. Keith mentioned the P0420 code and that seems to be the one that can be cured by replacing the sensor. I’ve passed that along to my brother as well.

Said brother is not responding. I guess I’ll have to try and call him. Thanks to everyone for the research and advice.

I know this post is old but I gotta reply. 4k for a cat replacement? That’s ridiculous. I bought a walker stainless drivers side cal cat for my 2004 sequoia on Rock auto for 250.00 which is a good quality cat that’s warranted for 5 years or 50k miles. This is essential the same part for that year tundra. I found a mechanic to install it along with denso sensors for 200.00…so around 550.00 out the door…not 4k which is highway robbery. You can purchase a factory one for as low as 1200.00 and find a mechanic to install it for 1500.00 out the door. But mine should last 5 years and if it does it paid for itself. Based the reviews of this cat it should last longer. Hey to each his own. I chose to buy factory parts only if theres no quality aftermarket parts which doesnt happen often.