How To Install A Universal Catalytic Converter?

When there is increasing concern about air pollution, the catalytic converter became compulsory as a vehicle component across the world. Converting 90% of the toxic emissions into less poisonous gases helps minimize airborne pollution. A correctly maintained catalytic converter enhances your car’s performance by immediately instilling health, efficiency, and cleanliness in reduced smoke. 

When the catalytic converter fails, it can be very expensive to replace as they have some rare earth metals in them. Thankfully, you can buy universal catalytic converters that are cheaper as compared to OEM ones. Learn how to install a universal catalytic converter in easy steps, through this guide.

How Do Catalytic Converters Work?

A catalytic converter transforms toxic compounds into less dangerous substances such as carbon monoxide, acid oxide, a dioxide of nitrogen, and hydrocarbons in automotive exhaust fumes through chemical reactions, such as carbon dioxide and water vapor. The inside of the ‘cat’ normally is filled with a wave structure that is covered with a catalyst.

Knowing how they work will help you better understand the procedure of how to install a universal catalytic converter. It has a compound that generates an exhaust gas reaction and changes its chemical composition. Precious metals such as palladium, rhodium, and platinum are often utilized as catalysts.

How To Install A Universal Catalytic Converter?

Over time, a converter fails via wear and tear. You have to put in a replacement unit if you remove your catalytic converter. Universal Catalytic converters may need to be modified to fit a variety of cars with your car combustion system. Here are the steps to install it-

1. The Tools Required

If you want to do the installation of the universal catalytic converter you will need tools, devices, and supplies which will cost you roughly $20 (excluding the catalytic converter). The new universal catalytic converter, ratchet socket set, oxygen sensor socket, jack stands, and penetrating lube.

2. Remove Old Catalytic Converter

Get in the jack stands on all 4 wheels. Let the temperature of your automobile decrease and let the airflow before you start the removal procedure begins. Go to the old converter catalytic. Use the unique oxygen sensor socket to remove the oxygen sensor and its connectors.

Use your ratchet to remove the bolts on the flanges. Start your way back and continue. Don’t force it, it could be too tight. Spray the oil first and wait a few minutes to soften the metal. Just give it another try.

3. Installing A Direct Fit Converter

Fitting direct catalytic converters match the vehicle’s OEM part design exactly. They are designed to be connected to the car without additional mounting and exhaust systems adjustments. Direct fit is manufactured with both the particular features and limitations of the car it is put in.

They come together with their necessary supplies like pipes, flanges, and brackets. They are ideal for DIY mechanics who know how to replace catalytic converters and who can carry out the work without having to utilize tools that only shops have. The direct fitting converter is the way to go if it has a factory-fitted or OEM-fitted exhaust system.

4. Installing Universal Catalytic Converter

The last step in the guide of how to install a universal catalytic converter. They are already compatible with a handful of vehicles with a specific design. You just have to make a few simple changes. They usually cost less than direct fit transformers. But you will need more tools for your DIY installation. You have to lengthen the pipes and fit them into the new transformer.

You must also buy different components and car-specific parts and assemble them. It could entail a bit more time and physical work. Whether you decide to install a catalytic converter that fits universally or directly, make sure it complies with the compliance criteria in your individual state. 

5. Clear Engine Codes

Start with an OBD2 connection to the diagnostic port of the vehicle. Start the motor and show the check motor light codes on the code reader. Using the user interface of the reader of the code, delete the logged control code of the engine. No error codes will come back after clearing them.

At this time, you can shut down the engine. You should drive your automobile 30 to 100 miles, to ensure that the check engine light is not returning. This allows the “Drive Cycle” vehicle to reset since it takes time to readjust the various sensors.

Is It Legal To Drive Without Catalytic Converter?

The removal of either front or rear catalytic converters will lead your car to fail the emission test in countries and places where emission testing is required. As a result, unless the vehicle’s emissions system returns to OEM specs you will not be able to get your registration renewed. In states such as California, the removal of the catalytic converters can even cause some legal consequences.

Can You Drive Without Catalytic Converter?

Without a catalytic converter, you can drive your car. There are automobiles in the states of non-emission test zones, where people remove the converter. However removing a cat-con is contrary to legislation in every state, even when emission requirements do not apply.

If you remove the converter yourself (a reputable business would not normally do it for you), you should realize it is a major infraction for a vehicle to voluntarily disable the emission system.

Cost Of Installing Universal Catalytic Converter

The substitution of the catalytic converter is not cheap. The typical cost of repairing a catalytic converter for most automobiles ranges from $945 to $2475, including components and work. It can cost up to 2250$ to the catalytic converter itself. That might be close to the worth of your car or more! The universal ones are a bit cheaper.


Having a catalytic converter in your car is good, not only for the health of the engine but for the environment also. With these steps, you can easily learn how to install a universal catalytic converter. It is mandatory in some states and can cause certain legal consequences. So avoid them and install a converter. If you still have any questions, then comment down below.

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