How to Remove a Catalytic Converter

To remove a catalytic converter is a complicated job and before you begin, you need to make sure that it is well within your reach and that you have all have the required tools available. The catalytic converter is a device used in many modern cars to reduce the toxicity of the exhaust fumes. It uses a catalyst, simulating a chemical reaction that basically converts toxic elements into less-toxic substances. They have been used since 1975 and are now used on many vehicles with internal combustion engines. Before removing one, you need to realize that they are not always installed in the same location so it is important to have information specific to your car in addition to the following instructions.

Tools and Materials Needed:

  • Adjustable spanner
  • Ratchet
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Lubricant
  • Ramp or jacks

Step 1 – Access Catalytic Converter

To access the catalytic converter, you are going to need to get your car off the ground. You will need to be able to safely and easily maneuver yourself beneath the car so ideally, you should have a ramp to put the car on so that you can easily get underneath it. You can also use a jack providing it leaves you with enough space under the car to be able to do the job. The catalytic converter will be somewhere between the engine and a muffler. For more specific instructions, refer to a manual specific to your vehicle.

Step 2 – Apply Lubricant

Before you can remove the catalytic converter, you will need to apply a lubricant to any of the bolts or clamps which connect it to the car. Use an appropriate penetrating lubricant and apply thoroughly by spraying it all over the connections. Allow this several minutes to start working. For further information, refer to the manufacturers’ guidelines on the packaging.

Step 3 – Remove Catalytic Converter

Using the adjustable spanner or a ratchet, disconnect any nuts and bolts that hold the catalytic converter in place. In some cases, you should be able to remove the device at this point, although there can be additional complications.

In many cases, there may be corrosion, causing the nuts and bolts to be impossible to remove. In other cases, the catalytic converter can be welded on to the car in which case you will need some different methods to remove them. You can use the reciprocating saw to remove catalytic converters which have been welded onto the car. Make sure that you are familiar with using such a saw before attempting the job.

If you still cannot remove the converter in spite of having removed all of the nuts and bolts that connect it to the car, you may need to gently tap it with a hammer to nudge it out of place. Exercise patience and caution, and you should be able to remove the catalytic converter without too much trouble. You can then replace it, pretty much reversing the manner in which you removed it.