Is a catalytic converter covered under warranty?

Yes, but coverage is complicated for this expensive part

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    Auto warranties are very specific in the parts they do and do not cover. And with so many parts costing a near fortune to fix, it’s important to understand what’s covered under your warranty.

    Keep reading to know how and when catalytic converters are covered under warranty and what to do when your car needs a replacement.


    Key insights

    Catalytic converters are only covered through a mandated warranty known as the federal emissions warranty. This lasts between five and eight years or up to a mileage cap.

    Jump to insight

    Most extended warranty companies do not offer catalytic converter coverage but will cover issues that caused your converter to fail.

    Jump to insight

    Comprehensive auto insurance should protect you from out-of-pocket costs if your catalytic converter is stolen, though.

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    The average cost to fix or replace a catalytic converter is around $1,000.

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    Catalytic converter warranty coverage

    The federally mandated emissions warranty that comes with your vehicle covers your catalytic converter against failed emissions tests during its first eight years or 80,000 miles (whichever comes first). Once this warranty expires, though, any other warranty coverage you may have will only cover the mechanical problems that cause your catalytic converter to fail — not the catalytic converter itself. (For example, an engine problem that fouls your catalytic converter could still be covered under your powertrain warranty, even if your catalytic converter isn’t.)

    If your catalytic converter fails after eight years or 80,000 miles, you are responsible for fixing it — but other warranties might help with the cause.

    It’s also worth pointing out that warranties only cover failures due to factory defects. That means your warranty won’t cover stolen or removed converters. If you want protection from this unforeseen expense, you will need to have comprehensive auto insurance.

    » LEARN: What does a car warranty cover?

    Does an extended warranty cover your catalytic converter?

    Most extended auto warranty companies don’t cover catalytic converter repairs or replacements, but like your factory warranties, they may cover issues that caused your converter to fail. Always check the fine print and ask your representative which plan includes these issues so you don’t have to pay more out-of-pocket expenses if you ever have to replace your catalytic converter for a manufacturer failure.

    “A couple of months into buying the car..even after having it professionally inspected, the catalytic converter went haywire,” wrote a reviewer from Michigan. “I thought my policy would cover it...Wish I would have known more about what it did and did not cover when the car dealer sold it to me, would not have bought it.”

    I thought my policy would cover it...Wish I would have known more about what it did and did not cover when the car dealer sold it to me, would not have bought it.”

    — an extended warranty reviewer in Michigan

    How much does it cost to fix your catalytic converter?

    Several factors affect the cost of fixing your catalytic converter, including your car’s make and model and what kind of fix you need:

    • A complete replacement can range from around $1,000 to over $4,000, based on our research.
    • Fixing your existing catalytic converter can theoretically cost less, but it’s not always a viable option. (It’s not possible in some cases, and even if it is, it may not save you money versus getting a replacement.)

    » MORE: Cost to replace a catalytic converter

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    FAQ

    Is a catalytic converter covered under a powertrain warranty?

    Most powertrain warranties do not cover catalytic converters since they are considered part of your emissions system. Powertrain warranties are responsible for covering your transmission, axles and engine (the parts that make your car go).

    How long is a catalytic converter covered under warranty?

    Catalytic converters are covered under the federal emissions warranty for either eight years or up to 80,000 miles (whichever comes first). For your catalytic converter to qualify for warranty repairs in this time frame, it must have failed an emissions test or experienced issues that are manufacturing related.

    What voids a catalytic converter warranty?

    A catalytic converter will not be covered by your warranty if issues arise from vehicle misuse or if the part has been stolen. Repairs are only covered by part-specific failures that are not your fault.

    » MORE: What voids a car warranty?


    Article sources

    ConsumerAffairs writers primarily rely on government data, industry experts and original research from other reputable publications to inform their work. Specific sources for this article include:

    1. U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, “Frequent Questions related to Transportation, Air Pollution, and Climate Change.” Accessed April 3, 2024.
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