How to Buy the Best Aftermarket Catalytic Converter

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If you’re thinking about replacing your vehicle’s catalytic converter you can go one of two ways.

The first is to get a new factory cat converter from your dealership. The obvious downside is you’ll have to spend a ton of cash if you decide on this option.

The second is to replace it with an aftermarket catalytic converter. This will save you a ton of cash. But you’ll have to do a bit of research beforehand. And don’t be fooled – the installation won’t be as easy as fitting in new floor mats.

But if you enjoy working on your car, truck, or SUV, installing an aftermarket catalytic converter will be a great and worthwhile experience.

We’re here to get you started with your research. Check out this quick guide and you’ll be well on your way to buying and installing your new catalytic converter.

Factory Emission Systems & Standards

Before you can start your search, you need to identify your ride’s factory emissions equipment. And to figure this out, just open your hood and look for the emissions sticker. It should be clearly visible directly under the hood or on the firewall area somewhere behind your engine.

On the off chance that your vehicle was originally sold in California (or you will be registering it in California), the emissions equipment will meet CARB standards.

CARB (short for California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board) standards were set in the 1960s to combat L.A.’s sever smog problem. They regulate a vehicle’s emissions-based pollution and are… tough, to say the least.

If your vehicle was originally sold outside of California, it is probably not equipped with CARB-acceptable emissions equipment. But you should still check your local emissions equipment standards. Whatever those standards are, your new catalytic converter needs to meet them.

Catalytic Converter Types

There are two main types of aftermarket catalytic converters: direct fit and universal.

As the name implies, direct fit catalytic converts are manufactured to the exact dimensions of your factory converter. We’re talking about the same tubing diameter and the perfect placement of O2 sensors. The installation is obviously much easier, as they are direct replacements and require no welding.

Universal catalytic converters are the cheaper option. But you’ll need to measure your current exhaust and weld the cat converter into place. The installation is more complicated, and you need to confirm your new cat has the right sensor ports.

The Best Aftermarket Catalytic Converters

Now that you’ve got a better idea of the type of cat you’re looking for, check out this list of the industry’s best to compare your options!

1. Magnaflow Catalytic Converters

Magnaflow catalytic converters are known for their superior quality. And they’ve been recognized for it by the International Organization for Standardization, which has certified them with ISO-9001 quality certificate. The company relies on 2 in-ground dynamometers, a flow bench, and sound testing equipment to ensure that all of their exhaust products are rigorously tested and improved before being shipped to you. Magnaflow exhaust products offer the smoothest, deepest tones and the most significant power gains.

Show Me All Magnaflow Catalytic Converters

Direct Fit Cat Converter Universal Configuration Cat Converter OEM Grade Direct Fit Cat Converter
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High quality replacements which will pass any smog check while delivering aggressive power gains. Direct replacements for your stock unit with minimal or no fabrication. Available with a monolithic honeycomb construction for maximized exhaust flow. This monolithic ceramic honeycomb catalyst will easily pass your next emissions test. They feature a 0.5 lap join inserted where the neck meets the converter body. The neck is formed so it does not extend into the body to hamper exhaust flow. All components work together to max exhaust flow! They are made from stainless or aluminized steel with a seam-welded construction for unbreakable bonds and no risk of vibrations. Heavy-duty heat shield protects against heat with added structural stability.
Special Powers:
- stainless or aluminized steel
- honeycomb construction
- maximized exhaust flow
Special Powers:
- 0.5 lap join
- ceramic honeycomb
- does not hamper flow
Special Powers:
- stainless or aluminized steel
- seam-welded construction
- Heavy-duty heat shield
Style: Direct Fit Style: Universal Style: Direct Fit
Price: from $96.75
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Price: from $87.64
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Price: from $201.98
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2. Flowmaster Catalytic Converters

Flowmaster has been in the business from more than 30 years, and is globally recognized for its high quality performance mufflers, exhaust systems and street legal catalytic converters. Flowmaster catalytic converters are built for a long product life with consistent and reliable performance. The company guarantees their cats will not annoy you with frequently blinking MIL symbol on the dashboard, or with costly and time consuming service appointments to check and adjust your codes!

Show Me All Flowmaster Catalytic Converters

Direct Fit Cat Converter Universal Cali Cat Converter 282 Series Cat Converter
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Feature stainless steel shells and high load of noble metals substrate for consistent and reliable performance. The converters meet all federal environmental regulations and emission standards. Not legal for use in California. Interiors and strata feature substrates with high loads of noble metals meeting USEPA standards. The strata are at OEM quality or higher, durable enough to handle the most extreme vibrations and high stress caused by severe driving conditions. Available with the highest automotive grade stainless steel outer shells. Handle extreme vibrations and high stress caused by severe conditions. Unique design poses no restrictions to exhaust gas flow for an enhanced performance.
Special Powers:
- stainless steel shells
- high load noble metals
- not legal in California
Special Powers:
- high load noble metals
- OEM quality or higher
- handles extreme vibrations
Special Powers:
- stainless steel shells
- handles extreme vibrations
- no restrictions to flow
Style: Direct Fit Style: Universal Style: Direct Fit
Price: from $153.13
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Price: from $229.20
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Price: from $152.12
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3. Pacesetter Catalytic Converters

Pacesetter catalytic converters meet all EPA and CARB standards, which means you won’t have to worry about your ride not being street-legal! The company has more than 4 decades of experience in developing high quality aftermarket products, including performance headers, exhaust systems, and cat converters. Pacesetter continues to develop new products for new vehicle applications. And all of their products are proudly manufactured in USA.

Universal Hi-Flow Cat Converter Direct-Fit Cat Converter Direct Fit Manifold Cat Converters
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This very effective, perforated catalyst will significantly improve the work of your vehicle's exhaust system. Delivers faster flow and remains smog legal, meets EPA and C.A.R.B. regulations. Works with less limitation and brings superior scavenging. Durability and an easy installation - perfect replacement for your stock equipment. Made from 16-gauge stainless steel with 3/8" thick CNC-machined flanges. EPA-approved for 49-state smog-legal vehicle applications and made in USA. Custom-engineered for maximized engine performance and efficiency. Manifold converters offer durability and easy installation for a perfect replacement for your stock equipment. Made from mandrel-bent, 16-gauge stainless steel.
Special Powers:
- perforated catalyst
- superior scavenging
- EPA & CARB legal
Special Powers:
- 16-gauge stainless steel
- CNC-machined flanges
- EPA-approved
Special Powers:
- custom-engineered
- mandrel-bent
- 16-gauge stainless steel
Style: Universal Style: Direct Fit Style: Direct Fit
Price: from $178.43
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Price: from $267.52
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Price: from $359.49
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Still can't decide which catalytic converter is best for your ride?
Drop us a line and we'll help you figure it out!

1 Response to How to Buy the Best Aftermarket Catalytic Converter

  1. wear love says:

    You have brought up a very great points, appreciate
    it for the post.

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