Just bought a car from a mechanic at his boss’s shop on Thursday and just found out last night that there is no Cadillac converter on it and had been replaced with a straight pipe. What should I do.

Make, model, year? Check Engine light on? If your home state has emissions testing you are going to have to install a catalytic converter to pass.

Ed B.

A catalytic converter is required equipment in any state that does emissions testing.
If your state doesn’t have that procedure, then technically you can do without it.

However, that still raises two other issues:

Federal law requires a catalytic converter on a vehicle made for highway use, so whoever removed it violated federal law.

Removing the catalytic converter should have turned-on the vehicle’s Check Engine Light.

If the light is “on” constantly, then you won’t know when a new problem crops up.
If the light is not “on”, then that is an indication that the mechanic probably also removed the bulb for the CEL. That removal makes it impossible for you to know about new problems cropping up with this mystery vehicle.

What VDCdriver said about the check engine light coming on when the catalytic converter has been removed is true unless it is an older model which has no downstream O2 sensor. These would be about 1975 through 1995 models.

Yes, we have been left in the dark regarding the details of this vehicle with a missing “Cadillac converter”.

If the car predates OBD II, then removal of the cat won’t trigger a CEL as My 2 Cents mentioned. It would be helpful if you could tell us the year, make, and model of the car in question. If it’s an older pre-OBDII car, and you live in an area that doesn’t do emissions testing, I wouldn’t worry about it. If you live in an area that does have emissions testing, then you have a problem.

So, OP, are you going to give us any information?

@Missyjean - “OP” is you. Please fill us in on the details.

We constantly joke with anyone…that they’re converting their Ford into a Cadillac with one of those things. I have yet to see the transition actually transpire…converting anything into a Cadillac.

I’d return the vehicle and demand my money back.

Explain to them that you refuse to operate a vehicle with a missing emission control device. And if they refuse, explain to them that you’ll report this to the EPA, which can result in up to a $20,000 fine for removing the catalytic converter.


On Cadillac converters: GM has used grilles, trim pieces and badges to convert your typical Chevrolet Suburban into a Cadillac Escalade. They also raise the price accordingly.

GMm tried the same trick by dressing up a Cavalier and calling it a Cadillac Cimarron. I believe the Seville may have been a spiffed up small GM too. GM has a history of putting fancy trim on its cars and calling them Cadillacs.

Fortunately, Cadillac is now a separate division with a separate headquarters. Current Caddys seem to be a style all their own. Hopefully GM won’t go back to its old ways.


The Seville was a spiffed up Nova

Interestingly enough, those Sevilles enjoyed somewhat of a comeback some years ago. meaning that people started viewing them as desireable

I am really disappointed in you people. I really expected a lot more fun with the car has no Cadillac convertor.
Where I live any vehicle more than 10 years old may be operated without a catalytic convertor.

In my area, every vehicle has to undergo an annual inspection and must have all of its original emissions equipment. But if the vehicle is pre-OBDII (1995 or earlier) and has no downstream oxygen sensor, nobody checks to see if the ceramic substrate and platinum-palladium are still in the canister. Some people used to gut he canisters to solve operating problems traced to a plugged converter. Some people used to do it for performance too, but I’ve never been convinced that a good converter presented sufficient backpressure to affect performance of a stock system.

In my state pre OBDll cars must still pass a tailpipe emissions test.

In NH, '95 and older vehicles aren’t subject to emissions testing.

Ok, ok, I think I understand now you mean no catalytic converter, not no Cadillac converter. Probably an auto correct thing.

What you do next depends on the make/model/year and what state you live in. We need that info to offer further advice.

If it is a converteron a caddilac , it is a caddilac converter, you need one unless you plan on staying in a state without emission checks. Demand one end of story!

somebody,may have stolen it for scrap(,I remember a junk dealer telling me a person brought Him a barrel of catalytic converter innards,He sent Him away,with His barrel of toxic waste) I would hope now that scrap dealers are more discerning,)it was probaly clogged and simply omitted,hope you have a thirty day guarentee