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What is a catalytic converter and what does it do?

A catalytic converter is a chemical filter that is placed in the exhaust. It ensures that harmful gases from the exhaust are thoroughly filtered so that the exhaust gases that leak out into the air around us are relatively harmless. In other words, the catalytic converter reduces the car's pollution.

The catalytic converter is connected to the exhaust centre section - or mid pipe - which passes the gases to the muffler. After the muffler, which limits noise, the exhaust pipe comes, after which the gases are released.

How does a catalytic converter work?

A catalytic converter is often referred to in a chemical context where a chemical substance converts other substances in a chemical reaction, though without being included in the process itself.

Catalytic converters have been mandatory for all petrol cars since 1990. It reduces harmful substances such as nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, so cars do not harm the environment to a large extent.

For that reason, it can also be dangerous if there is a hole in the exhaust line before the catalytic converter. Here, the harmful exhaust gases can escape unfiltered and it is both toxic to humans and the environment. Therefore, be sure to drive to a garage immediately if this happens.

Hopefully though, your catalytic converter should not be replaced in your car’s lifetime as it is designed to last for a long time. But it may well need a repair for some reason. Should it, however, need a full replacement, see below for an estimation on the price.

If there is a hole in the exhaust after the catalytic converter, damage is less risky - but you should still get it fixed.

How much is a catalytic converter, repair and cost

When going through MOT, they check whether the car emits gases with values under current environmental permissions. It is often here that you discover that the catalytic converter must be repaired.

You can ask your mechanic if it’s enough to get a catalytic converter cleaner. In some cases it may be enough. But at, we recommend that a repair is best, as it is often a short-termed solution that does not last long.

The spare part itself comes at a price between £200 and £500. But the catalytic converter replacement cost includes time spent on removing the old one and have the new one installed, so it's not a cheap repair. Taking between 2 and 4 hours to do, the total price for the replacement amounts to between £500 and £700. The catalytic converter, however, is an important part of the car's exhaust, which helps keep the exhaust free of harmful gases. Your car's catalytic converter should be in top condition.

If the catalytic converter is rusty and has a hole, it may be patched. As mentioned above, you should be prepared, however, if your car is older, in rare instances you will need to replace it.

Therefore, it's also a good idea to ask for quotes on the job through, so you can save money on the repair of your car's catalytic converter.

Read more about the Catalytic converter in our blogposts:

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Prices on exhaust repair or replacement of exhaust sections

The average prices and savings for the car brands shown are based on different models and years. You must therefore create a job and compare quotes to see your actual price and savings.
Make Save on average*
£104 / 24%
£129 / 18%
£89 / 20%
£89 / 21%
£139 / 18%
£161 / 22%
£134 / 22%
£52 / 20%
£158 / 19%
£154 / 21%

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Ford Focus (2011)
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8 months
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Ford EcoSport (2019)

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