What are the rules for replacing catalytic converters
In a closed loop emissions operation, pump air is injected
downstream between reduction and oxidation catalysts when
the engine is warm.
Three-way catalytic converters contain both catalysts in a
single housing, with an air inlet between the two
Original equipment converters on new cars and light trucks
are currently covered by an eight year/80,000 mile emissions
warranty. Motorists can return to the new car dealer for
free replacement as long as the converter is covered.
The customer can choose to have an independent repair garage
replace the converter at his own expense if it is still
under warranty. Once the vehicle is out of warranty, he pays
to have it fixed no matter where he takes it.
The converter should go at least 100,000 miles on most late
model vehicles. Trouble is rare unless the converter has
been lead fouled (by using leaded gasoline), damaged by
overheating (often due to unburned fuel in the exhaust from
a misfiring spark plug or leaky exhaust valve), or removed.
Removing the converter and replacing it with a straight pipe
is not permissible. The new Clean Air Acts make anyone
(including the motorist himself) liable for a $2,500 fine if
they remove, disconnect or render inoperative any emission
If the vehicle has flunked an emissions test and the cause
is determined to be a bad converter, or if the converter is
clogged, damaged, lead-fouled, rusted out, physically
damaged or missing, it is okay to replace it. Federal law
prohibits aftermarket garages from replacing converters as
long as they're under the five/50 emissions warranty, unless
any of the previously-mentioned reasons exist for
The shop must first document the reasons, along with the
vehicle's odometer reading, and have the customer sign it
before the converter is replaced. The shop must keep the old
converter for 15 days and the paperwork for six months. The
replacement converter must be the same type as the original
(two-way, three-way or three-way plus oxygen), be
EPA-certified, and be installed in the same location as the
Aftermarket replacement converters meeting EPA requirements
must have a minimum lifespan of 25,000 miles, and include a
five year/50,000 mile warranty covering exterior shell and
welded pipes against defects in materials and workmanship.
Used converters are no longer allowed unless the supplier
can certify the converter is still capable of cleaning up
50% of the unburned hydrocarbon (HC) and carbon monoxide
(CO) emissions within two minutes of start-up, and 75% of
the HC and CO emissions within 200 seconds.
All approved replacement converters are required to carry a
permanent label that identifies the type of converter (N for
new, U for used), a code number issued to the manufacturer
by the EPA, an application part number, and a manufacturing
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