How to Change a Catalytic Converter

What You'll Need
New Catalytic Converter
Dry Clean Surface
A Helper
Bolts, nuts and seals
Drill or Saw

A catalytic converter is a piece designed to reduce the pollutants emitted from a car's exhaust system. Over time, you will need to replace your catalytic converter. This can be done if you have mechanical skill and an ability to read through your car's manual. Follow the directions below to complete your replacement.

Step 1 - Elevate the Car

Either using a pair of ramps or using a car jack, raise the car in the air and prop with jackstands. This will give you plenty of room to work around the car, or inside the car without any barriers in your way while working.

Step 2 - Consult the User Manual

Find the manual of your car and look at all the information pertaining specifically to the catalytic converter. Pull out all the diagrams available to you. Make sure you know what you are looking at when you begin to dismantle the catalytic converter and replace it with a new one. You will need to be aware of the small parts and pieces and the bolts that hold the unit into place. If you are not sure, consult with an automotive mechanic or enlist their help.

Step 3 - Remove the Bolts

Find the bolts that hold the catalytic converter in place. Remove them completely. Understand that the bolts may not be easy to remove. They may give you resistance. They are sometimes laden with corrosion. In order to remove the bolts safely, you may need to use a drill or a saw. Along with the bolts, you will remove the nuts and the seals.

Step 4 - Purchase a new Catalytic Converter

At your local auto parts store or with the help of your local mechanic, purchase a new catalytic converter. Make sure the new part is specifically made for your car. Do not try to purchase a rebuild or something that is not specifically made for the automobile you drive as it will make it much more difficult for you to replace the part.

Step 5 - Remove the O2 Sensor

Using an O2 sensor wrench, carefully remove the O2 sensor. In addition to the O2 sensor, remove the pipe that connects this sensor to the catalytic converter. Once again, check your manual. Some cars require that you remove more than one pipe. You will need to do this before you unbolt your catalytic converter from the muffler. Then remove the old catalytic converter and place on a piece of cardboard or location that is protecting the ground or the surface.

Step 6 - Replace Old with New

Put the new catalytic converter into place. Bolt the new catalytic converter in the right position. Reattach each of the pipes (in the exhaust system and the O2 sensor). If you have encountered rusting or cracked piping over the course of your installation, replace them.