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Catalytic converter

We have 2006 Subaru Outback and have been told that it must have a new catalytic converter to pass registration. The price quoted is $2,000. Is this reasonable?


It’s high. Shop around.

How many miles? All cars are guaranteed by the manufacture for 7 years or 70,000 to pass emissions and they have to do it for free under warranty. This is Federal law. If you fall into this, take it to the dealer and they have to do it for free!

There are 2 reasons to shop around. One is that the quote you have is really high. The other is to have someone else confirm that you really do need a new catalytic converter. You may have been told that you have an error code where the computer “says” that you need a new cat (e.g. P0420) - but there are no codes that can tell you that. So get a second opinion and a second estimate.

That is high and you may not really need it. Catalytic convertor replacement scams are today what brake job scams used to be (and probably still are) - ideal money generators for unnecessary work. If you have emissions testing in your state they can tell you in seconds if your catalytic convertor is bad - for free. Good luck.

You need to help us out here. I know of 3 good catalytic converter tests, the one checking the inlet temp compared to the outlet temp could be considered a “in seconds” type test but the others use a sniff with a analyzer. My state is AZ and they do not do these things (or make any type of diagnosis beyond “pass/fail”) let us know what you are thinking of, it could be a great help to many people.

Cal. is really tough. I have a 2003 F 350 7.3 liter crew-cab manual tranny pickup which passed here for 6 years. (originally from Utah).
Well, this year the same mechanic said it did not pass, and they had previously been making a mistake:
as only the automatic transmission pickups of this year and engine could go “catless.”

And the Cal. rules stipulate that any cat. conv. installed must come from the dealer.
And Ford, by the way, wanted over $3,000 for it.

Long story shorter:
the guy I bought the truck from in Utah
still had the old cat behind his shop in a pile of junk.
Got it, installed it, and passed.

6 weeks later my truck was stolen.: different story…

Here’s the deal with catalytic converters

If your car has California emissions, and your state requires you to maintain that level . . . as opposed to straight pipe or installing a federal cat, versus a california cat . . . then your choices can sometimes be quite limited

Through the california bar website, there are some links to lists of approved cats for specific model year vehicles. If you bring the car for a smog inspection, and the guy sees the aftermarket cat, he’s supposed to compare the numbers on the cat to the numbers on that list. If he determines you have an unapproved cat, you fail. On some vehicles, the list of approved cats is very short

So the idea that a cat must come from the dealer is wrong . . . UNLESS that list doesn’t show any approved aftermarket cats for your car

And the idea that if your truck is a certain year and has an auto trans, then it’s okay to straightpipe it . . . ridiculous IMO