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Prism cat. Converter replacement

So I recently took my 2001 chevy prizm into a local mechanic because I had a check engine light on. I got a call back a few hours later, and I was told I have a bad catalytic converter and that it needs to be replaced. They told me it was gonna run me around $800 for parts and labor. I’m really just trying to pass my emissions test, and on the cheap. So I have a few questions: is this a fair price? Could I use one of these universal catalytic converters (they are considerably cheaper), could I maybe buy this part and have them install it for me? Will this involve any welding? I thank you ahead of time for your answers.

The price is fair if a direct fit type catalytic converter is installed.

A universal type catalytic converter can be installed but this requires the removal of the flanges from the old cat so they can be welded to the universal cat. But I don’t know too many mechanics that can weld very well.


Thanks for the speedy reply, Tester. Anyone else have any thoughts or tips they’d like to add?

While the “original” replacement may seem pricey, the extra work involved in fitting a universal replacement (at $100 an hour for the mechanic) may end up costing more. plus, there’s no guarantee a generic replacement will actually perform as good as an original. If it were me, I’d use an original…but I’d also do it myself. Just sayin’.


Autozone sells a Bosal catalytic converter with front pipe and resonator for $313.00. That’s a direct-fit converter and Bosal makes reliable converters.

What that tells me is your local mechanic should be able to find a direct-fit aftermarket converter locally in the low $300 range, which he’ll understandably charge you around $500 for. Then you can add gaskets, bolts/clamps, hangers and labor.

The price of $800 quoted to you may seem a bit high, but it is defend-able.

Sounds good. Thanks for your responses, everyone.