Should You Replace a Broken Catalytic Converter?

If your catalytic converter is damaged, can you ignore it or are repairs required? WeBuyJunkCarsFast explains the significant of a damaged catcon.

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underside view of catalytic converter

There’s no getting around it: you should replace a broken catalytic converter. Having a non-functioning (or malfunctioning) component could end up doing serious damage to your car’s engine. You could also face fines for not meeting your state’s emissions standards.

Broken catalytic converters make your car sound like a jet engine when you push the gas pedal. Unless you want to be “that guy” in your neighborhood, you should consult with a mechanic about repairs.

Symptoms of a Broken Catalytic Converter

On average, catalytic converters last about 10 years. Data from Kelley Blue Book (KBB) suggests that most new car owners keep their vehicles for about seven years.

Used-car owners keep their cars for about five to six years. So, with this data, we know that the average driver doesn't have to worry about their catalytic converter breaking down on them.

However, the older your car is, the more likely it is that you will face this problem. If you're driving an older vehicle, it's a very good idea to look out for these broken catalytic converter symptoms:

  • Loud sounds from the tailpipe. If you press down on the gas pedal, and a loud roar comes out of the exhaust, you likely need a new converter.
  • A trembling car. With a broken catalytic converter, your car may tremble when you accelerate.
  • Foul smells coming from the exhaust. Your car’s catalytic converter removes harmful chemicals from the gas your car processes. Without a functioning one, you could smell sulfur when driving.
  • Dark exhaust smoke. Ideally, no smoke should come out of your tailpipe. If you notice black or greyish-blue smoke coming out of the exhaust, this could point to a broken catalytic converter.

A broken catalytic converter does not get better over time. It actually puts stress on the engine and could lead to expensive, long-term problems. If you notice any of the signs listed above, you should visit a repair shop.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix a Catalytic Converter?

catalytic converter in someone's hands

How much it costs to fix a catalytic converter depends on your situation. It can cost a few hundred dollars to over a thousand to have the issue resolved. Some factors when it comes to fixing the problem include:

  • Your chosen mechanic. Every mechanic charges a different rate for fixing catalytic converters. Some charge by the hour. Others charge depending on the problem’s severity.
  • The cost of the catalytic converter. New catalytic converters, on their own, cost hundreds of dollars. That’s because they’re made of precious metals that fetch a high price per ounce.
  • The car’s make, model, and year. If you have a car that just rolled off the dealer’s lot, your mechanic can easily find a new catalytic converter to replace your old one. However, if you have an exotic, foreign, or novelty car, this could cost even more because of availability issues.
  • The problem’s cause. Every problem has a reason, and the exception is no different for broken catalytic converters. Minor fixes are cheaper than bigger fixes.
  • Whether you need a new converter. Fixing a broken converter can be less expensive than getting a new one. If you need a new one, ask your mechanic about using a used part. This could save you a few bucks in the long run.

Some insurance policies cover the cost of fixing catalytic converters. Before calling your local mechanic, check your policy to see if you have coverage. This could defray or eliminate the cost of fixing your car.

Is It Safe to Drive Without a Catalytic Converter?

Should you drive without a catalytic converter? No. Doing so can cause long-term damage to your vehicle and even violate your state’s emission laws. Will your car blow up mid-journey without one? Also no.

A catalytic converter isn’t a crucial part of how your vehicle operates. You’ll still get from point A to point B, even with a roaring tailpipe and smoke coming out. Yet, doing so isn’t in your best interest. Your engine could experience damage over the long term. You also risk:

  • Getting ticketed by the state
  • Inhaling the noxious gases your car produces
  • Having problems renewing your car insurance
  • Having problems registering your vehicle with the state

You Should Replace a Broken Catalytic Converter

It’s in your best interest to fix a broken catalytic converter––and there’s limitless reasons why.

Doing so mainly benefits you financially––even if the cost of replacing the component seems steep at first. In the long run, you could save hundreds on subsequent problems, state-imposed fines, and other complications.

Selling a Car with a Broken Catcon

Good news: the used-car market is hot right now. People are paying thousands of dollars for cars that years ago were junk. So, if you want to sell a car with a broken catcon, chances are, you could find a buyer.

At WeBuyJunkCarsFast, we can make an offer on your vehicle with a damaged catalytic converter in under 90 seconds.

It's just three easy steps:

  1. Get and accept your offer.
  2. Schedule the pickup and payment.
  3. Hand over the keys and collect your check!

We come to you in 24-48 business hours with payment in hand. Our customer service representatives are ready to help walk you through the entire process and complete the sale.

Is It Worth Fixing a Catalytic Converter?

Fixing a catalytic converter can get pricey. However, it’s totally worth it. Here’s why:

  • You could face state-imposed fines. If the state finds out that your catalytic converter isn’t functioning properly, you could face fines costing hundreds––even thousands––of dollars. Over time, these fines could exceed the cost of having the issue resolved.
  • Broken catcons can lead to other problems. Without a functioning catalytic converter, your engine could sustain long-term damage. Sometimes, broken catalytic converters point to underlying problems with the car, such as broken spark plugs. This can create a domino effect of issues if not addressed.

Can I Drive Without a Catalytic Converter?

You can drive without a catalytic converter. You can actually drive one for months and never experience any problems with moving around. However, as noted, it’s not beneficial.

In the eyes of the government, you have a civic, moral, and legal obligation to combat air pollution. Driving a car with a working catalytic converter does that. It also reduces wear and tear on your car, reducing junkyard pileup. Driving with a broken catalytic converter increases various risks.

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