7 Best Catalytic Converters [Reviews] – To Reduce Your Car’s Pollution
Catalytic converters are one of the most important parts in a car. While they don’t enhance the car’s performance, they are necessary and play a large role in reducing car pollution. Catalytic converters are installed for 2 main reasons: Either failure or theft.
Because of government regulations and pollution laws, there is no room for delaying the replacement of a catalytic converter. With simple knowledge of how to buy the best catalytic converter, the process is very easy. We’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to show you how to find the perfect catalytic converter for both your needs and budget.
Catalytic Converter Buying Guide
With a fundamental understanding of catalytic converters, the frustrations and questions you have will greatly reduce itself. Even for the non-experienced, the buying process won’t be too painful either. We’re going to walk you through the basics of catalytic converters and what to look for when you set out to buy one.
Understand What A Catalytic Converter Does For You
Catalytic converters are basically installed in cars to reduce carbon monoxide, hydrocarbon, and other toxic car emissions. While cars are not the main source of environmental pollution, the public’s concern over this issue has pressured governments and environmental agencies to take action. Catalytic converters are commonly stolen because they’re a valuable source of scrap metal and they fail due to wear-and-tear.
So even though catalytic converters don’t do any justice to your car’s performance, they do help the environment. What’s reassuring is that finding top catalytic converters is a piece of cake.
Research By Make, Model, And Year
Catalytic converters come in different sizes and styles depending on the car they fit. If you know your car’s make, model, and year, you’ve done most of the work in finding a catalytic converter.
The car’s make is the brand of the car. The model is the model of that car brand. An example of a make, model, and year is:
- Make: BMW
- Model: 3 Series
- Year: 2017
Consider OEM Or Aftermarket Catalytic Converters
You’ll typically have two choices when trying to find a replacement catalytic converter: Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) or aftermarket. Selecting which one comes down to preference.
Owners tend to stick to OEM parts over aftermarket parts simply because it’s a better fit and they’re usually easier to install. Aftermarket parts are preferred mainly for owners with older cars. Since older cars are discontinued, finding catalytic converters for older models is difficult.
The upside to picking aftermarket parts is that they’re usually less restrictive than OEM parts. Because of this flexibility, there’s a large supply of quality aftermarket catalytic converters that can add a slight boost to both your car’s torque and horsepower. Although it’s a nice enhancement, it’s nothing too significant.
Research The Brands
If you’re gunning for an aftermarket catalytic converter, researching the brand is important. Pay close attention to catalytic converter reviews to get a good feel of what others have experienced. Brands like Bosal and BM Catalysts are very reputable brands that make universal aftermarket converters with a very easy installation process that would work for most cars.
Establish A Budget
Catalytic converters can be pricy if you don’t pay attention to the price tag. Setting a budget will prevent you from overspending but will also help you find something that will meet your needs.
Top Catalytic Converters
The Dorman 673-608 is one of the best aftermarket catalytic converters that not only offers longevity, but is also leak-resistant, rigorously inspected, and comes packed with a limited lifetime warranty. The Dorman 673-608 is a top choice for anyone that’s looking for a CARB catalytic converter. Dorman prides itself on customer satisfaction and we’ve experienced nothing less than excellence with both the manufacturer and the Dorman 673-608.
When we were in the market for a replacement catalytic converter, we were focused on efficiency and convenience. Our goal was to find a catalytic converter that would get the job done on the first try. After researching aftermarket catalytic converter reviews, we were pointed towards Dorman because they’re a reputable brand that includes gaskets and other hardware for a complete and easy installation.
The Dorman 673-608 was easy to install, but the factor that won us over was that it was CARB compliant and affordable. Finding a catalytic converter at a reasonable price that’s California legal was a struggle to say the least. However, because we knew that the Dorman 673-608 was CARB compliant and that the company was a strong believer in efficiency and convenience, at that point, it was a no-brainer for us.
One minor setback that we did experience was that the Dorman 673-608 didn’t come with all the necessary nuts and bolts. We ended up having to use some of the old nuts and bolts we had laying around which turned out to work very well. In the end, the issue wasn’t serious and we were able to immediately fix the issue.
Overall, the Dorman 673-608 certainly deserves 5 stars out of 5. Finding an affordable catalytic converter that’s also CARB compliant is very difficult but the Dorman 673-608 took care of those issues for us immediately. While it doesn’t always have the necessary bolts and nuts, it’s useful to have these available beforehand just in case.
The MagnaFlow 99306HM Universal Catalytic Converter is considered to be one of the best universal catalytic converters in the market. It’s sturdy, complies with Federal emissions standard, specially formulated for gas and diesel fuel, and more. It comes with a generous manufacturer warranty and is one of the bestselling catalytic converters in the market.
One of the biggest reasons why the MagnaFlow 99306HM was considered was because of its universal fit for many common car brands. We were experiencing a lot of engine hesitation and fume issues, but after installing the MagnaFlow 99306HM, those problems instantly went away. Installation was very easy and flawless.
While we do have many positive things to say about the MagnaFlow 99306HM, we did experience some issues along the way. The clogging code was triggered and power performance was very poor. However, we were able to resolve these issues when we contacted the manufacturer and had them send us a replacement converter immediately.
While we did have some road blocks, we would still highly recommend the MagnaFlow 99306HM. Many of the Magnaflow catalytic converter reviews we read did say that the manufacturer was very helpful, and we experienced that first hand. It’s always reassuring to know that your trust in the manufacturer is taken seriously.
Our overall experience with the MagnaFlow 99306HM Universal Catalytic Converter would be 4.5 stars out of 5. It was easy to install and customer support was incredibly helpful. It would have earned the full 5 stars if we didn’t have to send it back but that was a minor issue that was flawlessly resolved by the manufacturer.
Next up on our list is the Walker 15036 Standard Universal Converter (Non-CARB Compliant). Walker is considered to be the best catalytic converter brand that many people trust. What initially impressed us about the Walker 15036 Standard was that it was mainly designed for older vehicles, mainly 1995 and older.
When we first got our hands on the Walker 15036 Standard Universal Converter, we weren’t sure what to expect. One of our older cars had its catalytic converter burn out and finding a high performance catalytic converter was difficult. However, after some research and lots of Walker catalytic converter reviews, we were pointed in the right direction.
What impressed us about the Walker 15036 was that it is incredibly durable. It’s constructed with a stainless steel body accompanied by an aluminum pipe and heat shields, making this shockingly tough. We’ve owned this for a few years and we never had an issue with it.
One inconvenience that we experienced was that we had to take it to an auto shop to have them modify it for installation. It already comes with expandable bushings that allow modification, which really came in handy. However, after modifying the converter, installation was a breeze.
Finding replacement catalytic converters is difficult, but luckily, we stumbled upon the Walker 15036. Although modifications were needed, we would still highly recommend this to anyone still driving older cars.
The Walker 15036 Standard Universal Converter deserves a lot of credit because finding replacement catalytic converters for older cars is difficult. We’ve had a great experience so far and it still continues strong today. Out of 5 stars, we believe that 4.1 stars is justified for the Walker 15036 Standard Universal Converter.
The AUTOSAVER88 2.5" Universal Catalytic Converter is a blessing in disguise. It is one of the most affordable universal catalytic converters in the market that has earned a loyal following of highly satisfied customers. Focused on quality and customer satisfaction, the AUTOSAVER88 2.5" Universal Catalytic Converter is nothing short of incredible.
Accompanied by a generous warranty of 5 years or 50,000 miles, the AUTOSAVER88 2.5" Universal Catalytic Converter is a solid choice for anyone that’s concerned about future defects of malfunctions. It’s constructed from high quality T409 stainless steel that improves both structural strength and durability. It has heat shields installed and a reduction catalyst to help reduce and eliminate harmful car emissions.
What caught our eye about the AUTOSAVER88 2.5" Universal Catalytic Converter was that it was high quality and affordable. For anyone that’s on a budget, this catalytic converter is a solid choice. It’s built tough, backed by a great warranty, and comes with a reduction catalyst that makes this very environmentally friendly.
If there’s any disclaimer that we had to make for interested buyers, it’s that this is not CARB compliant. If you have a registered vehicle in either California or New York, you will not be able to legally purchase or install it. Because we don’t have our cars registered in those states, this restriction was not an issue but for those that do, this is something important to keep in mind.
Our experience overall was pleasant and the AUTOSAVER88 2.5" Universal Catalytic Converter does live up to its name and feedback.
Because this catalytic converter is non-CARB compliant, we feel that it deserves 4 stars out of 5. While this did not affect us directly, we did take into consideration for those that are. Nonetheless, the experience has been nothing short of amazing and would still highly recommend this to anyone.
The Pacesetter 324146 Direct-Fit Catalytic Converter is one of the most efficient catalytic converters in the market. Its stainless steel tubular design decreases pipe restriction, allowing for increased efficiency in reducing toxic car emissions. It is manufactured with EPA approved parts, making it both reliable and compliant with environmental standards.
Our car has had a Check Light code issue for almost a year and while we were relieved that it disappeared, it would make its reappearance not too soon later. Even after assuming that it was a fault with our oxygen sensors and replacing them, the issue did not go away. It wasn’t until we had spoken with a mechanic that had recommended us to replace our catalytic converter.
The one thing we can count on with the Pacesetter 324146 Direct-Fit Catalytic Converter is that it is high quality. While we could have gone for a cheaper option, we decided to go with the Pacesetter 324146 because many of the Pacesetter catalytic converter reviews had lots of great things to say. We have no regrets spending extra money for a higher quality catalytic converter.
What we want to see improvements on is the manufacturer warranty. For a high-end catalytic converter, a manufacturer’s word of reliability in the form of a warranty is a necessary reassurance that all customers should have. Nonetheless, we had a great experience with the Pacesetter 324146 as it was easy and simple to install.
Our overall experience with the Pacesetter 324146 Direct-Fit Catalytic Converter has been a positive one. We highly recommend this catalytic converter to anyone and would give it 4 stars out of 5.
The DEC CARB Compliant Catalytic Converter is a great choice for anyone that’s interested in a high quality catalytic converter that is CARB compliant. For most of our car’s life, we’ve always used low quality and cheap catalytic converters. However, after reading some positive and helpful DEC catalytic converter reviews, we were convinced that the DEC CARB Compliant Catalytic Converter was worth giving a try.
One of the most impressive features about the DEC Catalytic Converter is its high quality build. It’s constructed in a tubular form to create space in its airway that enables it to be both efficient and engine friendly. It is made from high quality stainless steel with preinstalled heat shields that gives it a long life.
We have owned the DEC Catalytic Converter for many years and it is still going strong. While we had nothing but positive experiences with the catalytic converter for most of its life, we did notice that it does accumulate rust at a fast rate. That issue was immediately resolved when we contacted their customer service and got the DEC Catalytic Converter replaced.
While the customer service has been nothing but helpful, we were very disappointed to find that there wasn’t any manufacturer warranties available. We give the DEC Catalytic Converter a 3.5 rating out of 5 due to the lack of a warranty. We hope that in the future, there will be something in place to give loyal customers some positive reassurance.
The last converter on our list is the MagnaFlow 447206 Universal Catalytic Converter. It is considered a step up from the previous MagnaFlow 99306HM Universal Catalytic Converter that we reviewed. One noticeable difference between the two is that the MagnaFlow 447206 is CARB compliant while the other one is not.
Higher-end CARB compliant catalytic converters are difficult to come by because CARB converters in general are difficult to find. When we learned about the MagnaFlow 447206 from universal catalytic converter reviews, we felt a heavy weight had been lifted from our shoulders. Aside from the difficult search, we were pleasantly happy with the specs and high quality build that the MagnaFlow 447206 had to offer.
We experienced no issues with installation or set up. MagnaFlow is a company that’s known for exceptional quality and our experience was nothing short of that. Its stainless steel build with attention to detail for design has made this one of our favorite catalytic converters that we’ve owned.
One set back that we experienced was that the MagnaFlow 447206 did not come with an Oxygen sensor plug. We contacted MagnaFlow and we were asked to install it manually ourselves. While we did it with no issues, we had hoped that the company would have been more accommodating in having this request fulfilled for us.
Nonetheless, we would still highly recommend the MagnaFlow 447206. For anyone that’s looking for a CARB compliant high-end converter replacement, the MagnaFlow 447206 is a great choice.