I ran across a performance exhaust website today that stated on their
catalytic converter page:
*It is illegal to replace an O.E. catalytic converter on any vehicle
before it has reached 50,000 miles."
Is this true for all 50 states? I assume this does not count for any
custom vehicles (completely rebuilt) or vehicles on which the cat has
been damaged. That's too bad for all of us who have just installed
new, after-market, high-flow exhaust systems.
BTW, who would even bother checking, and what would the fines be? My
state doesn't even do emission testing where I live...........
Not Dead Yet
It's a federal law:
with every new converter, comes a manifest. Also, you must retain the
removed converter for six months.
the DEP checks, or the State Inspection Management division of your states
DMV checks. The fines can be as high as $50,000.00!
Removing it isn't. Driving on the road with it off is.
If that was the case they would be putting every junk yard
owner in the country in jail. All them poor old junk yard dogs
would stave........ ;)
Most Salvage yard owners leave them in place until the exhaust system,
drive line is removed or the car is ready to crush/shred.
Salvage yards are not supposed to sell used converters unless they have
a tester for them. Last time I looked the test machine for them was $5K
back in 1995.
I was told there was a federal law about reselling them. Most junk yards
will not sell you used exhaust pipes or cats. I have never been able to
confirm exactly what this is all about.
I do know a lot of these places cut them off quickly. There are platinum
recovery places that buy the cores by the container load for metal recovery.
I used to manage a Salvage Yard a few years ago. We were not legally
allowed to sell used converters, unless we had an EPA approved testing
machine for them.
We were legally allowed to sell used Exhaust systems Minus the
converter. While I did not sell too many whole systems, I averaged 15
Y-Pipe& Down pipe sales per month. Often the OEM down pipes & Y-Pipes fit
better, and are thicker. A few Exhaust shops would buy them from us.
On cars like 82 to 92 F-bodies, or Fox Body Fords, if it had an
aftermarket Exhausts system. Well those usually sold rather well.
Especially to body shops. For the cost of 2 pipes and a muffler new, they
could install a complete used cat back system from us.
As for cores, I still sell them to one of the 4 core buyers I used to
deal with. He also buys all my battery cores as well. It's not uncommon
for me to take him 20 batteries and 15 converters at once. Usually on
my way to the shop first thing in the morning, since he's only 3 miles
Auto Salvage is easy, it's dealing with the public that drives a person
Core buyers buy them:
Then they usually end up at: Texas gulf, Inc. A precious metal reclamation
company, the largest in the USA.
Which extracts the platinum and Palladium, then smelts it. Makes ingots of
it, and resells it to cat manufacturers.
When did this law come out? As I have never heard of it. Nor have I
ever seen a manifest in a box with a new converter.
The longest a old or used converter sits around my shop is 3 months.
When I have a smallload of them, I take them to the local core buyer.
I had the converter replaced on a 84 Cavalier in 1994, the State of Illinois
required a Federal Form to be completed by the installer and signed by the owner
stating the converter had been replaced. There were no emission tests being done
by the state at that time.
Charles Bendig wrote:
Here in Ohio not all counties have emissions testing. The one I live in,
as well as the one my shop is in (15 miles a part and in two different
counties) both have emissions testing.
When I replace a converter on a car that has failed, or repair the
emissions system, I print out the customer a detailed receipt. Other then
that, I have not been required to do anything else.
The emissions testing here in Ohio is not run by the state. A privet
company called Envio-Test handles it. They call the testing stations and
I don't know where you buy your converters then:
For the past 10 years or more, there's a 6 page manifest, with a blue page
that goes to the customer.
One gets stapled to the work order, one gets taped to the work order, one
gets mailed out to the fed DEP, and the other I guess is for ass wiping
purposes. Because there aren't any instructions on it.
When you buy bulk converters if you have a pipe bender, the manifests are in
the slots in the case each converter is in.
I don't buy in bulk. We didn't get the building we wanted for an exhaust
& used tire shop. I usually Purchase new Catalytic Converters at real
parts houses. Such as John's Auto Parts, or USW (Under-Car Specialty
Warehouse). I only buy direct fit units. Not the lower cost universals.
I don't have work orders either. If a customer needs a receipt for
repairs, or parts. I just type them one up, and print it out. If need be, I
sign it in front of a notary public. In the state of Ohio that is more
I guess from now on I will have to make sure I receive my paper work
with these new cats. Which will raise the flat rate cost on replacing
them. I hate paper work, I do too much as it is.
I buy over 80% direct fit;
But for the ones there are no direct fits for. You have to buy the universal
and the kit, or if there's no installation kit. Go to the pipe bender and
make it fit!
Every one I've ever bought since the law was enacted, there has been a
manifest. In my previous post I said one was stapled to the work order, and
one was taped to the work order. I made a typo. One gets taped to the old
With Lacquer thinner disposal and waste paint disposal. I have a triple
whammy with the DEP and OSHA watching me like a hawk. So I keep my paperwork
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