Price of Catalytic Converters


I drive a 1996 Subaru Legacy wagon, and my mechanic told me that I need to have my catalytic converter totally replaced in order to get my inspection sticker. He quoted me $850 installed, and I’m wondering if that sounds about right for a price, or if I should take it to another mechanic.

Thoughts on costs to replace catalytic converters?


Your mechanic is no doubt quoting you the price of a genuine Subaru cat, which is particularly expensive, and then adding his own markup. It is an expensive route for you but don’t blame him. The part is immediately available and he has to worry about his own warranty on parts and labor.

Most of us order aftermarket cats from the internet. Then we find a mechanic willing to do the installation. Some will, many won’t. So check prices online, then consult with independent mechanics to see if they will handle the installation. You may cut costs by half or even more.


Just out of curiousity, why does he say it needs to be replaced? Is it a visual/safety inspection or an emissions test? Are you in a state where the shop does the inspection?


I know a while ago Sub use to have the cat as part of the exhaust manifold…is this still true??? If so there may not be an aftermarket option.


If you buy an aftermarket catalytic converter, it may not solve your problem. If the check engine light is on, you won’t pass inspection, and an aftermarket catalytic converter may not make the check engine light problem go away. Get another quote or two to find the best price, but I think you should only get an OEM part since your state conducts inspections. If your CEL is on, get a guarantee in writing that a new catalytic converter will solve your problem before you pay.


Check on line for a catalytic converter. eBay has them for $232.69 plus shipping for the pair. Installation is extra, of course. And note that there are two units, not just one.


No not true any longer. That was likely the 80’s or earlier vintage.


GOOD. I thought it was a DUMB and costly idea.