The Cheapest Way To Fix Catalytic Converter | 100% Working

Hello people. I hope you’re all doing alright. Today I will share a fantastic article on finding a cheap way to fix catalytic converter without putting a big hole in your pocket. So keep reading to blow your mind away!

The Cheapest Way to Fix Catalytic Converter

When a catalytic converter breaks down, it poses two problems. First, the car starts producing extra fumes, which are bad for the environment. Second, you must spend a lot of money to repair it.

However, we are here to tell you that there might be ways that you can reduce the cost of repairing your catalytic converter in case it’s broken. 

Catalytic converters do a great job of preventing toxic fumes from leaving the car and making the car a bit greener. It reduces emissions and allows the owner to drive without worrying about the environmental damage it is causing.

However, if the catalytic converter gets broken, it becomes a problem for the environment and the owner. 

If you are looking for ways to fix the catalytic converter without spending much money, you have come to the right place. This article will explain the best repair methods for a broken catalytic converter.

We will present some of the best options that are tried and tested by many owners of their cars. 

Reasons For Broken Catalytic Converters

Understanding the root cause of a catalytic converter’s breakdown is crucial for proper maintenance and repair. It allows you to comprehend your vehicle’s functioning better and ensures the right course of action when addressing converter issues. Some high-quality catalytic converters can last for the entire lifespan of a car.

However, this can lead to clogging, which may result in engine and performance problems. In such cases, the converter isn’t necessarily broken but requires cleaning.

Catalytic converters can also fail due to malfunctioning components linked to them, such as injectors, fuel pressure regulators, mass air flow (MAF) sensors, oxygen (O2) sensors, and air filters.

If these components are the issue, simply cleaning the converter will not suffice. Failure of these components can lead to an imbalanced air-fuel mixture, resulting in excessive carbon deposits within the converter.

This can also cause elevated exhaust temperatures, potentially melting or thermally shocking the converter, causing permanent damage.

A malfunctioning catalytic converter can also create a domino effect, leading to engine misfires and internal coolant leaks, further compounding existing problems in the vehicle.

Additionally, physical damage to the converter can result in impaired performance. Exhaust components may leak due to accidents, causing the converter to fail and leading to further operational issues in the car.

Regardless of the cause, promptly addressing a damaged catalytic converter is essential to prevent further harm to the engine and fuel efficiency. If you notice any issues, it is crucial to identify the cause immediately and seek assistance from a mechanic or tackle the problem yourself.

Symptoms of A Damaged Catalytic Converter

Before repairing the catalytic converter, one must acquaint oneself with the indications of a malfunctioning unit. This knowledge will enable the vehicle owner to pinpoint the car’s issue and trace it back to its underlying cause, resulting in significant time and monetary savings.

Occasionally, the symptoms of a faulty catalytic converter may coincide with other types of automotive damage, leading to potential confusion. Nonetheless, the following are some telltale signs of a failed catalytic converter.

If any of these signs are observed, it is advised to formulate a course of action for resolving the problem.

Rotten Smell 

A sulfuric or putrid odor is a clear indicator of a compromised or clogged catalytic converter. This unpleasant smell arises when the converter fails to effectively neutralize hydrogen sulfide, resulting in a blockage and the emission of an overpowering scent.

Should you encounter this olfactory evidence, it signifies a problem with the catalytic converter in your vehicle. Catalytic converters can become clogged for various reasons, including the vehicle’s advanced age or the challenging terrain it typically operates.

Regardless of the underlying causes, inspecting and cleaning a clogged catalytic converter promptly is paramount.


Sometimes, the car may experience rattling if the honeycomb structure inside the catalytic converter is broken or disintegrating. If this happens, the owner cannot replace the catalytic converter. 

This guide explained how a catalytic converter could be replaced cheaply or manually without help. 

Check Engine Light is On

The check engine light will undoubtedly turn on if the catalytic converter fails, even though it’s difficult to predict which fault code you’ll get. However, the P0420 fault code denotes “low catalyst system efficiency.” if this is the code you see in your car, it might be time to replace or get the catalytic converter checked. 

Sometimes, the check engine light might be on for other reasons, despite the code being shown as the P0420 code. Other parts that could be faulty include exhaust leaks, bad coolant temperature sensors, and bad O2 sensors. This might also be why the check engine light comes on when the car is used. 

Nevertheless, if the code being shown is the one given above, there is something wrong with the catalytic converter. It might not need replacement, but it is causing damage to the car. 

Housing Discoloration  

This specifically refers to the catalytic converter’s overheating symptoms, similar to how any metal changes color or darkens when exposed to heat or fire. If you also experience such discoloration in your car, it might be time to replace the catalytic converter because it shows that the equipment is overheating and malfunctioning. 

High Fuel Consumption and Poor Performance

One notable indication of a malfunctioning or damaged catalytic converter is its noticeable impact on fuel efficiency and vehicle performance. In the event of a clog or the honeycomb structure becoming fragmented and obstructing the exhaust system, the flow of gases becomes naturally restricted.

This restricted flow directly affects both the performance capabilities of your vehicle and its fuel economy. Any deviation from the usual performance can be attributed to the catalytic converter.

However, it is essential to acknowledge that other factors may also contribute to these issues. Therefore, it is advisable to consult a qualified mechanic to diagnose the problem and accurately determine the most appropriate solution.

Cheap and Easy Ways To Fix Catalytic Converters

Now that we have covered the types of symptoms that one may experience, the next logical step is to tell you the cheap way to fix the catalytic converter without much hassle. Note that these methods might not be inferior, and some may cost money. 

Typically, replacing a catalytic converter is the costliest method, but it is inevitable when a certain level of damage has been done. Therefore, it is not entirely up to your hands whether you can choose the safest and cheapest option simultaneously. 

Cleaning A Catalytic Converter Without Removing It

Easy ways to clean a catalytic converter without removing it from the car exist. You must put some fuel into a can and use a catalytic converter cleaning product to eliminate the odour. Despite some exceptions, most cleaners are only compatible with diesel or gasoline engines. You will have to check the compatibility before using the product. 

A small quantity of cleaner will dissolve and clean your car’s exhaust system every time you drive. Remember that cleaner labels indicate the distance you could travel for the best results. Once all this is done, you can start your car, and the problem of a dirty or clogged catalytic converter is probably gone now! 

Cleaning a Catalytic Converter By Removing it 

In the event that cleaning the catalytic converter without removal fails to resolve the issue, an alternative course of action entails performing a more thorough cleaning by removing the converter.

This method offers greater efficacy and precision. The process involves disassembling, purging, and meticulously cleansing the catalytic converter.

Commencing with the initial step, ensure the vehicle is turned off and allowed to cool after parking on a level surface. Hydraulic jacks can then elevate the catalytic converter, carefully placing jack stands to provide adequate support.

Once the vehicle is secured, utilize an oxygen sensor wrench to relocate the oxygen sensor and clear its path.

The subsequent step entails applying penetrating oil to the bolts while firmly securing the converter to the exhaust system.

With the converter successfully detached, conduct a thorough inspection to identify areas requiring attention and cleansing.

It is imperative to remember that the catalytic converter’s interior and exterior should be meticulously cleaned to eliminate any accumulated dirt and debris.

A combination of hot water and a degreaser solution should be utilized.

After cleaning, immerse the converter in the solution for two to three hours before removing and draining the water. Subsequently, proceed with regular washing and allow the converter to dry thoroughly.

Once completed, the catalytic converter will be restored to a pristine state akin to its original condition.

Upon implementing these measures, it is highly likely that your vehicle will no longer exhibit error codes. To confirm this, start the engine or take the car for a drive, allowing sufficient time to evaluate its performance.

This method is a reliable and cost-effective solution for addressing catalytic converter issues in most vehicles.


Replacing The Converter 

Opting to replace the catalytic converter personally is an alternative method for cost-saving purposes. However, it is essential to note that the expense associated with this endeavor varies considerably based on your vehicle’s specific make and model, with prices ranging from $400 to upwards of $2000.

When confronted with a catalytic converter irreparably damaged and resistant to cleaning efforts, its replacement is the most optimal and secure course of action.

If you have diligently attempted the aforementioned cleaning techniques, yet the error code persists, it indicates an issue that cannot be resolved through cleaning methods alone.

Engaging Read – Finding Catalytic Converter Scrap Value By Serial Number

How To Replace A Catalytic Converter 

Now that we have explained these three methods, we should also explain how the catalytic converter can be replaced easily without outside help. This can help you save a lot of time and money. Just follow these easy steps, and you will be good to go. 

  1. Step 1 – Raise the car on a jak – Remember that you might need to completely lift your car off the ground depending on the repair.
  2. Step 2- remove the front and rear flange bolts.

Vehicles with catalytic converters are positioned alongside the remainder of their exhaust pipe. Use your wrench and ratchet to remove the five bolts connecting the front and back flanges. 

  1. Step 3 – cleaning the mounting mounts – this is done to clean the mounting mounts of any rust present. Once it is cleaned, the seal can be applied easily. 
  2. Step 4 – Install the seal –  Once the mounting surfaces are cleaned, they will be ready to install the seals. The next step is to install them easily.
  3. Step 5 – Bolts and springs – On the front and back flanges, install five screws each. The springs at the front must be between the washer and the flange. When the exhaust is on, it puts a lot of pressure on it to prevent it from leaking. This is the reason why the screws must be tightened nicely. You must use new screws, as old ones can rust. 

Additional Ways To Keep The Catalytic Converter in Check 

Apart from the cleaning methods prescribed above, there are some other things that a car owner can do to ensure that the converter is running fully with its strength. We have highlighted those methods here. 

Drive Mindfully But Fast

Sometimes, driving the car faster is the best way for the catalytic converter to work at full strength. This can only be done if you don’t experience any severe symptoms and only notice a slight increase in fuel consumption and a barely perceptible loss of power. 

If some high-speed driving at high RPMs is done, the catalytic converter will heat up and experience significantly higher flows than usual. Those two elements combined are frequently enough to get past any obstacles in the honeycomb. 

This may, in turn, help you save a lot of money from repairing and fixing the converter at once. 

Fuel Additives 

Occasionally, the perceived severity of the issue may be alleviated by employing fuel additives, provided certain driving habits are followed.

Suppose your driving primarily occurs within city limits. In that case, if you exercise caution on the road and your trips are predominantly short and brief, the application of fuel additives can offer a solution.

Numerous catalytic converter cleaners in the form of fuel additives are readily available in the market for you to explore. Utilizing them is a straightforward process, as all that is required is pouring the entire contents of the bottle into your fuel tank to initiate the treatment.


If fuel additives prove ineffective in resolving catalytic converter issues, the next viable option to consider is flushing. It is worth noting that the most efficient approach to flush a catalytic converter necessitates its removal, albeit perceived as somewhat inconvenient.

Before commencing the flushing procedure, it is imperative to ascertain whether the converter is adequately cleaned and free from any obstructions. This can be determined by inspecting the converter with a light source, ensuring its transparency.

Subsequently, immerse the converter in a solution of soapy detergent water, allowing it to soak overnight.

The converter can be removed and thoroughly flushed with a garden hose. Should any remnants of contamination persist, reassess and repeat the procedure accordingly.

Alternatively, sodium hydroxide can be employed instead of detergent. However, it is crucial to exercise caution and adhere to safety protocols.

Wear a protective mask and operate in a well-ventilated environment to mitigate potential risks associated with exposure to hazardous chemicals and gases.

Check For Exhaust Leaks

Sometimes, an exhaust leak is directly connected to problems of the catalytic converter itself. Several symptoms can indicate a broken converter, even if it isn’t clogged or melted. As we have said earlier, replacing the sensor is cheaper than cleaning it. Therefore, before returning it, ensure the problem is not with the exhaust leak. 

If there is a problem with the exhaust leak, you need not replace the converter and can get the leak repaired.

Sensor Fix

Sometimes, the malfunctioning O2 sensor will become harmed if silicone is permitted to touch with a catalytic converter. An exhaust pipe smoking and spewing white fumes is a sign of this. Don’t worry; this problem also has a solution. 

The best way to solve this problem is by caulking the silicone’s point of entrance, typically a leak in the head gasket. To stop the leak, several substances can be poured into the radiator. You may visit the mechanic to know more about the same.

Phosphorus Fix

The best way to know whether there is a problem with the phosphorus in your converter is to take an emission test. If you fail an emissions test, your catalytic converter is probably significantly phosphorus tainted. 

The best way to resolve this issue is by switching to SJ motor oil readily available in the market. It can be done even before you have problems. As some people say, prevention is better than cure. 

Frequently Asked Questions 

Now that we have covered everything about the cheapest way to fix Catalytic Converter, we are here to answer some frequently asked questions. 

What to do when the check engine light is on, even after catalytic converter replacement?

The check engine light should go out if your catalytic converter has been replaced correctly. Verify that the replacement catalytic converter conforms with EPA regulations before you do this. If the problem persists, you may visit the service center and call a professional to check the problem. 

What is the cost of replacing a catalytic converter?

A new catalytic converter is expensive since they are challenging to manufacture and includes a lot of expensive metals like platinum, rhodium, and palladium. Catalytic converters are regularly stolen since each metal is worth $30 or more per gram. 

As mentioned above, the real cost of replacing a catalytic converter will be around $400 to $2000, depending on the car model. 

Can a damaged catalytic converter damage the engine?

Yes, an engine can suffer damage from a blocked catalytic converter. A clogged catalytic converter significantly raises an engine’s operating temperatures and frequently affects the air-fuel ratio. Therefore, it is advised to keep it in a safe condition. 

Can a car be used without a catalytic converter?

Yes, it is possible to operate any car without a catalytic converter, but doing so could result in a check engine light and, in some cases, especially with more current models, could cause damage.


We hope that we have been able to provide you with relevant information regarding a cheap way to fix catalytic converter if it is damaged and also replace it without any hassle. The option will depend on the type of damage the converter is facing. 

If you have the requisite time to go through the process, it is advisable that cleaning should be done at regular intervals without any problem as well. This will make your car work in a smooth manner without clogging or errors in the future. 

Leave a Comment