How much does a catalytic converter cost in the UK?

By Julia Freeman

Catalytic converters are an essential component of your vehicle's exhaust system. This important piece of equipment works to minimise the pollutants and emissions produced by your engine. Converters effectively convert nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide into water vapour and oxygen, which helps to tackle the serious pollution issues faced by our busy towns and cities.

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As technology has improved, newer catalytic converters are able to ensure that our vehicles release fewer harmful pollutants into the atmosphere than ever before. In 2019 [1] alone, air pollution was a contributing factor in more than 1.8 million excess deaths globally. This figure would certainly be much higher without the mitigating effects of catalytic converters, however, the industry is still a way off from completely eradicating the emissions that can cause so much harm.

As air pollution is still such a serious issue, there are strict legal emission limits in place and if your vehicle is found to exceed these limits during an MOT, it will result in an instant fail. Research illustrates that in 2020 [2], more than 1.2 million vehicles failed their routine MOT due to exhaust emissions-related faults.

How long does a catalytic converter last?

As with all parts, catalytic converters have a natural lifespan and will typically last anywhere between 70,000 and 100,000 miles. However, it is important to monitor this essential piece of kit because failing to properly maintain, repair or replace it when required can cause additional damage to your vehicle, most notably in the engine and its associated elements. When a catalytic converter wears out or is faulty, your vehicle's performance will be impacted in several ways, including burning more fuel, reducing engine power, and causing overheating.

There are various factors that can cause wear, including poor engine maintenance, coolant or antifreeze leaks and faulty spark plugs. Additionally, as catalytic converters only start to work optimally when a certain temperature is reached, only using your vehicle for short journeys may mean that hydrocarbons are not burnt completely, which could lead to excess deposits and associated issues.

Are catalytic converters expensive?

The cost of a catalytic converter replacement can vary, with the type of car you drive being the most significant factor. For hatchbacks and city cars, a catalytic converter can cost as little as £150, whereas for luxury cars, the average price is generally in excess of £500. Although this might initially seem very costly, an inefficient or ineffective catalytic converter is likely to cause significantly more damage that will take longer and more money to address.

Much of the catalytic converter cost is due to their construction, with converters containing either rhodium, platinum or palladium, all of which are rare metals with high associated costs. It is also worth noting here that this makes this particular part a target for thieves, who will then sell them online or to scrapyards. Between 2019 and 2020 [3], catalytic converter theft rose by more than 100% in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Many of these thefts occur in broad daylight because it can take just seconds to compete.

As the cost of these rare metals varies, so does the price of a catalytic converter. Labour costs also need to be factored in, as vehicles need to be raised off the ground and the catalytic converter securely bolted or welded into place, which may require special tools and knowledge. To ensure that you're getting the best deal, it is important to do your research and seek out several quotes from trusted garages.

If you have concerns about your vehicle's catalytic converter or you would like to seek advice from our experts and qualified fitters, please don't hesitate to book a free vehicle check via our website. With detailed knowledge and expertise on all tyres from Pirelli to Bridgestone, we're here to help. Alternatively, our Protyre experts are always available and ready to assist, so simply drop into your local garage or use our contact details online to get in touch.

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About the author

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By Julia Freeman
Julia is Head of Retail Marketing for Protyre and loves engaging with customers and the business as a whole to make sure Protyre is more than just a local garage.
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