How Much Does a Converter Cost?
“How much does a Prius converter cost?” It’s a very popular question right now, unfortunately. People call, mostly in the morning, to ask this question when they wake up and find their Prius is very loud all of a sudden. Then I get to ruin their day with the price.
Should I use my insurance?
One of the reasons people ask how much the converter will cost is they’re trying to decide whether to file an insurance claim. If you have insurance, I’d recommend using it. The cost will vary a little depending on how the thieves went about their thieving. The total usually ends up about $2750 + Tax (which is substantial). Here’s a screen grab from one of the 4 Prius catalytic converter replacements we have in the shop today.
One thing to keep in mind is that it’s not just a converter replacement you’ll need. The rear oxygen sensor lives in the converter and has been stolen along with the converter on every car we’ve seen. As you can see in the converter estimate above, there are also other parts needed, like exhaust hangers, which are frequently cut instead of removed, and exhaust gaskets which are surprisingly expensive.
One of the questions I get asked daily is, “Is there any way to get a cheaper converter?” And I don’t blame the asker. If I woke up and was suddenly $2800 poorer, I’d be looking for a way to lower the cost too. It sucks. There are no aftermarket converters available for the Gen2 Prius. This is both good and bad. If insurance has the option to install aftermarket parts and the policy allows it, they will. Aftermarket converters are never as good as genuine converters from the manufacturer. They’re more expensive, which is bad. But they won’t fail either.
Why not get a used converter for Toyota Prius? In these times it makes more sense that usual, since most of the Priuses we see have had the converter stolen and replaced at least once. There are likely more good Prius catalytic converters sitting in wrecking yards than ever before. However, it’s not legal to install a used converter in California.
Before the law changed, here’s how we tried to save one customer money. It’s no longer legal and in the end it wasn’t such a good value.
If you’re paying out of pocket, we’ll try to help. However, 80% of the cost is the part, so all we have to work with is 20%. We can look for used springs and bolts. We can get aftermarket hangers. And we have a few used gaskets we’d be willing to give away for free. Although, you should be warned that they’re really only supposed to be used once.
If your converter was stolen, sorry. We’ll do our best not to make a bad situation worse. Before the current converter fiasco, we didn’t have a lot of experience with insurance companies. In 2018 we sold 2 catalytic converters for Gen2 Priuses, neither covered by insurance. I checked the part number for a 2005 Prius and found we’ve sold 122 so far this year. Most were covered by insurance. We’ve had a crash course in insurance work. We’re very good at dealing with insurance. Once you make a claim, we can handle everything from there.
It’s nice to have a steady income stream, especially with the COVID-19 shutdown, but we’re really looking forward to the end of converter replacement. We’re very good mechanics, and like showing off our skills with challenging work. Replacing converters over and over isn’t challenging, and it’s more than a little depressing.