Recent global warming effects have proven that keeping carbon emissions to the barest minimum is everyone's task. An average vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide annually. You can easily do your part of saving the planet by having your vehicle's exhaust system checked and the catalytic converter cleaned during each routine preventative maintenance. Note, to get the best performance for your car it is recommended to clean the catalytic converter every 4,000 miles and have converters older than 10 years replaced. When in search of a good catalyst conversion mechanic near you, it is necessary to ask the right questions to ensure you are hiring the best auto mechanic nearby.
Catalytic conversion mechanics do not require specific certificates or licenses to operate. However, the auto repair shops that these mechanics work in are typically required to undergo state-mandated registration or licensing and also meet any relevant local government registration and permit requirements. Considering this, it is advisable to contact your state's consumer protection office to find out the specific registration or licensing requirements for catalytic conversion mechanics and auto repair shops that operate within your locality. This office can also help you confirm if the mechanic that you intend to work with has met all applicable requirements for your locality.
Also, while this is not a mandatory requirement, it is always a good idea to hire a catalytic converter that is certified by a professional organization and also belongs to a reputable trade association. Organizations like the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) offer optional certification opportunities for automobile mechanics, and obtaining an ASE certification gives credence to a catalytic conversion mechanic's practice. Likewise, catalytic converter mechanics that belong to reputable trade associations like the Automotive Service Association are generally more professionally behaved and more knowledgeable about relevant industry rules and requirements for the repair of catalytic converters. By hiring a mechanic that belongs to these types of associations, you have a level of assurance that your repair job will be done in line with the EPA laws, such as the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendment, that prohibit the tampering and replacement of catalytic converters and vehicle emissions controls with unauthorized devices.
Catalytic conversion mechanics typically charge an average of $70 to $130 an hour for their services, and this fee does not include the cost of materials that may be required for the job. The total cost of repair or replacing your car's catalytic converter can range from $500 to $2,500 and is dependent on several factors, such as your location, the make and model of your vehicle, the type of catalytic converter that has to be repaired or replaced, and the complexity of your vehicle's exhaust system.
Car catalytic converter repair or replacement can be quite expensive. However, you can stay within your budget and even cut down on some of these costs by doing the following:
- Get a proper diagnosis of your vehicle: Getting a proper diagnosis can save you the cost of having to wrongly replace a catalytic converter. In some cases, mechanics can misdiagnose faulty sensors and other issues as defective catalytic converters. If your car is inspected and diagnosed by a mechanic that does not specialize in catalytic converters, then it is always a good idea to get a second opinion from a professional catalytic conversion mechanic. Also, you should consider getting cost estimates from two to three professional catalytic conversion mechanics to have a fair idea of what your repair job should cost.
- Find out if the catalytic converter can be cleaned or refurbished: catalytic conversion mechanics often overhaul catalytic converters instead of replacing them. Refurbishment is a more cost-effective solution when compared with a total replacement, and you should find out if this is an option for your vehicle.
- Take your car for a long drive: sometimes taking your car for a long drive clears out backed-up dirt from the exhaust line and catalytic converter. Doing this can save you the cost of replacing or repairing the catalytic converter.
In addition to labor costs, some expenses associated with hiring a catalytic conversion mechanic include :
- Diagnostic costs: typically, before catalytic conversion mechanics go ahead to work on a faulty catalytic converter, they run a diagnostic test on the vehicle to ascertain the extent of the defects. The cost of this test is determined by the auto repair shop that you take your vehicle to, and it usually falls anywhere between $80 and $150.
- Replacement parts: if your catalytic converter requires replacement, then you will have to cover the cost of getting a new one. Buying a new catalytic converter will typically cost you an average of $900 to $2400.
- Supplies: some auto repair shops transfer the cost of workshop supplies such as cleaning chemicals, oils, and greases to their customers. These supplies costs might either be a flat fee or factored into the hourly labor charge, depending on the catalyst conversion mechanic or auto repair shop in question.
You should always find out the types of additional costs that you may incur when you have to fix your vehicle's catalytic converter. Make sure that these costs are clearly stated before any repairs begin so that you and your mechanic do not have any conflicting ideas about payment down the line.
It is common for the auto repair shop that you drop your vehicle off with to have several catalytic conversion mechanics. As such, it is necessary to determine the specific mechanic that will be working on your vehicle and make sure that this mechanic is duly qualified to do the job. Request proof of certification from the catalyst conversion mechanic and also make sure that this mechanic has valid liability insurance. If additional mechanics or apprentices will be involved in your catalytic converter repair or replacement job, then make sure that there is a clear chain of command, and that the work is directly supervised by a certified mechanic. Doing this makes it easier to track the progress of the job and also ensures that you have a clear point of contact and line of communication in the event of a follow-up repair or if the job is not done to your satisfaction.
While auto repair shops that employ catalytic conversion mechanics typically require them to have a minimum educational qualification of a high school certificate, many employers prefer catalytic conversion mechanics that have completed postsecondary educational training at vocational institutions. These mechanics generally require less hands-on training and practice after employment, while catalytic conversion mechanics that are employed with high school certificates typically undergo three to four-year apprenticeships and on-the-job training.
Even though it is not a mandatory requirement, many catalytic conversion mechanics obtain professional certifications from reputable organizations like the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence. These certifications indicate expertise and competence, and also help the mechanics advance in their respective careers. Note that mechanics that wish to become ASE certified must meet certain requirements, which include having a minimum of two years of on-the-job experience and passing relevant examinations. Finally, catalytic conversion mechanics are generally expected to be abreast of, and discharge their duties in compliance with relevant EPA guidelines vehicle emissions control guidelines and regulations.
When hiring a catalytic conversion mechanic near you, it is necessary to ask for references, preferably from past customers with vehicles that are similar to yours. Contacting these past customers and getting their first-hand opinions on the mechanic will give you help you decide on whether or not you should finalize the hiring process or keep on searching for a more qualified catalytic conversion mechanic near you. Note that in situations where you may get referrals on catalytic conversion mechanics near you from trusted friends, family, or reputable automotive-related associations like the National Institute for Automotive Service Excellence, you should still ask these referred mechanics to provide you with references. As a general rule of thumb, you should never hire a catalytic conversion mechanic that cannot provide you with at least three verifiable references.
You can also get independent reviews on catalytic conversion mechanics and auto repair shops through online platforms like Yelp, Better Business Bureau, and Google Review. These websites provide forums and mediums through which clients can share their views, opinions, and personal experiences on mechanics and auto shops and are a good way to find qualified and reputable catalytic conversion mechanics near you.
Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
Yes, you can sue a catalytic conversion mechanic for unprofessional or incomplete work, as long as you can prove that the mechanic's actions directly or indirectly lead to damages. Suing is especially possible if your car fails a smog test after a catalytic conversion mechanic recently worked on your vehicle. Documents evidencing that you paid an automobile mechanic near you to work on your catalytic converter would go a long way in proving your case, and so it is always a good idea to properly store any documentation related to your repair job.
It takes approximately three to four years of apprenticeship training to become a catalytic converter mechanic. Note that catalytic conversion mechanics that complete a postsecondary education program may require less on-the-job training before they can begin working on catalytic converters without supervision.
No, it is against the law to drive without a catalytic converter.
Your catalytic converter is located underneath your car in its exhaust system.
You can identify an issue with your catalytic converter through any of the following signs:
- Awful smells: when your catalytic converter is defective, it allows unwanted gases to escape through your car's exhaust pipe. These gases often smell like rotten eggs.
- Check engine light: the check engine light on the dashboard typically comes on when there is an issue with the catalytic converter. Note that other faults can also trigger this check engine light, and so you should run a diagnostic test to determine the exact part of your car that is faulty.
- Increased fuel consumption: typically, when the catalytic converter is clogged up, it does not allow the engine to expel waste gases efficiently. This makes the car engine work harder, which in turn results in increased fuel consumption.
- Failed emission test: Failing an emission test is a clear indication of a faulty catalytic converter.
Catalytic converters are typically designed to last for the vehicle's lifetime. However, over time, car parts deteriorate. Some factors that can speed up the deterioration of your car's catalytic converter and cause it to fail include:
- Oil finding its way into the exhaust
- Faulty oxygen sensors
- Unburned fuel making its way to the exhaust
- Faulty spark plugs