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The average vehicle was a toxicity chemical factory before catalytic converters ended up being government-mandated tools in 1972. Oxides of nitrogen and also lead, unburned fuel, sulfur dioxide and huge amounts that carbon monoxide poured soon in abundance, polluting groundwater and atmosphere alike. Catalytic converters, or cats, work like super-high-temperature ovens, save on computer exhaust heat and also using that to convert many of these dangerous compound to less dangerous forms.

You are watching: Is it illegal to cut off your catalytic converter


TL;DR (Too Long; Didn"t Read)

You can"t touch catalytic converters uneven you"re replacing them like-for-like. Tampering with your cat is a criminal offense, save where your automobile is exempt from emissions testing.


In short: DON"T. If your automobile came with a catalytic converter you"re looking at fines of up to $10,000 because that removing it. Sort of. Remove the catalytic converter is illegal, yet getting caught without one isn"t. Most states will simply suspend her smog certification till you get a brand-new one installed.


You deserve to only change your catalytic converter with one of the exact same make and also model as the original, and also it needs to be in the stock location. The only exception to this ascendancy regards "high-flow" aftermarket cats, i beg your pardon you may use as lengthy as they"re EPA-certified for her vehicle. The federal government says you can"t touch the converter uneven the original is absent or damaged, the auto is older 보다 1996 and also has more than 50,000 miles or it"s a 1996-and-later automobile with an ext than 80,000 miles.


You deserve to install a offered converter from one more vehicle that the exact same make and also model under 2 conditions. The donor automobile must have actually the specific same engine and also transmission package as yours, and also you must have the converter experiment to certify the it quiet works.


You"ll never obtain fined if friend never obtain caught, which is entirely possible in numerous places; part states like South Dakota and also Florida don"t have any emissions testing. Converter remove is relatively common in states like these, but there"s one caveat; don"t walk increase to any kind of old shop and ask lock to eliminate the converter. Most will either tell you the they don"t perform exhaust occupational for undercover EPA agents, or that you have to register your car as "off-road only" before they"ll touch it.


Even in smog states, many vehicles space exempt from emissions testing. No emissions testing means no fines for going cat-less. Exceptions include almost any vehicle designated for off-road use only, including race cars, ATVs, and dirt bikes. Boat-owning California citizens beware, despite – the California Air sources Board happen a number of laws in 2009 concerning boat emissions and cat removal. The brand-new regulations and fines are similar to those for cars.

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Don"t think that just because the converter is physically existing that you"re square through the federal government – gutting the cat is never a good idea. This somewhat morbid term describes the exercise of remove the converter, bashing the end the ceramic internals through a crowbar and reinstalling it. Usual sense would imply that this have to both boost exhaust flow and keep girlfriend legal, but it would certainly be dorn on both counts. Editing and enhancing or disabling a converter is simply as illegal as removing it, and oftentimes turbulent circulation through those broken internals will reason horsepower-sapping back-pressure. And also it will certainly send your car"s engine control unit right into fits.