Replacing a stolen catalytic converter

I need to replace a stolen catalytic converter in a 1992 Toyota pickup truck. My mechanic said that the lower priced aftermarket converters are no good and the truck would probably not pass inspection. He quoted me $750 + installation for a factory converter and $465 + installation for a Miller converter. Three local muffler shops quoted me $200-$311 including installation for a converter. Is my mechanic correct? Should I spend nearly twice as much for a Miller as for another aftermarket converter? The truck has approx 150,000 miles on it and is rarely driven.

PS The truck is in California.

If the muffler shops were installing catalytic convertors that didn’t let their customers pass inspection, they probably wouldn’t be in buisness for much longer. For a 92 Toyota pickup, an aftermarket convertor will work just fine.

Your mechanic does have his reasons. Some newer cars have more sensative emissions systems and are held to tighter emissions standards. Your Toyota, however, is pretty simple and probably has a little bit of wiggle room. Also, if you were buying an aftermarket convertor off the internet, say, they might be marketed towards states with no emissions tests and may indeed cause you to fail a CA test.

doesn’t your insurance cover this?

Paying for comprehensive insurance on a '92 would not usually be considered a financially-sound act.

I am no expert, but I have never heard or seen a complaint about aftermarket cats.

I will also note one other difference, which probably isn’t that big of a deal, but often an actual original fit catalytic convertor will bolt-on, whereas a muffler shop will have to actually weld in an aftermarket one. If your regular mechanic doesn’t do welding, this might also be part of why he can’t offer you a cheaper one.

EDIT-- that might actually be a good thing, since it’ll make it that much harder to steal!

There’s no problem with installing an aftermarket catalytic converter. Catalytic converters must meet very stringent EPA regulations in order for them to be manufactured and sold in this country for any particular vehicle.


Stolen? How?

Unfortunately, if you do a bit of googling, you’ll discover that catalytic converter theft is now pretty popular in quite a few areas of the country. I suppose it’s the newest theft trend now that stereos and wheels are passe. The converters contain trace amounts of platinum and palladium, and scrap dealers are supposedly paying top dollar for them.

I’m sure that specific models are getting targeted more for one reason or another, but trucks and SUVs are especially popular because a thief can easily slip underneath with a sawzall and be done in a minute or two. I think big lots, like carpool lots at train stations, and lots where business park their vans are the most popular spots for it to happen. I know many people with SUVs who have had a welding shop make a few spot welds to make the theft more difficult, and I’ve even seen an aftermarket ‘cage’ made of braided steel cable that looked a little more installation intensive.

Sad but true.

more than trace amounts. Some models have more than others, and that’s the ones that are targeted.

Maybe this will cut down on the popularity of SUVs for people who use them to go grocery shopping. Ha, fat chance!

So get the cheap one.

After market is fine. Just a good as OEM.

The thieves must be pretty well equipped and very speedy to steal converters as they are welded to the exhaust header pipe, and bolted behind the post-O2 sensor.

They must steal the vehicle first, then cut the converter out up on a hoist at a chop shop.

According to the news reports, it’s done in place.

Stolen Converters:

A couple of years ago a local dealership in Manchester NH was having a Tent Sale. They had the tent setup at the Mall accross the street. When the sale was over they went to retrieve the cars that didn’t sell. THREE cars had their transaxles stolen. Happened sometime between 11pm and 6am the following morning.

Stealing Precious metals:

Also in Manchester NH about a year ago…These two Darwin Award candidates were stealing copper at 1 am. They found a great source…a hugh cable at a transfer station. The problem is it was still live with 10,000 volts running through it. They found the bodies the following morning.

“transaxles stolen” why? I can see stealing Cat. convertors, but not used transaxles! Aren’t they even more difficult to remove?

These weren’t used…These were NEW cars. Sorry I didn’t specify that. And yes they are a LOT more difficult to remove. But I guess it was worth it.

A reputable welding and fabrication company in Toledo, OH has a new patented theft deterrent designed just for catalytic converters. It makes too much work for thieves in a hurry. The Catclamp is the only security system on the market designed exclusively to fight catalytic converter theft. It was in Newsweek Online on January 09, 2008. Go to, the Catclamp is much cheaper than repairing a vehicle after catalytic converter theft.