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itm

Downsides to aftermarket catalytic converters?

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We've just joined the long list of people who have had the catalytic converter stolen from an Auris Hybrid (2016). A few people have recommended getting an aftermarket unit fitted, as they are not only cheaper but also not a target for thieves as they have less valuable metal components. Other than probably forfeiting the remaining 9 months of our Toyota warranty, what would be the other downsides to an aftermarket replacement?

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Are the thieves intelligent enough to spot it's not a genuine part, then decide not to steal it while they're under there with the cutting tools ready?

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1 minute ago, MagicBoy said:

Are the thieves intelligent enough to spot it's not a genuine part, then decide not to steal it while they're under there with the cutting tools ready?

That's what some people have told me - i.e. they know what they're looking for.

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Original or aftermarket it's got value, they're taking it.

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So if cost (and probably availability) are the only upsides, what are the downsides?

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The original exhaust on My Avensis is twelve years old.  I can't imagine any aftermarket system lasting that long.

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3 minutes ago, Stivino said:

The original exhaust on My Avensis is twelve years old.  I can't imagine any aftermarket system lasting that long.

An original cat on a 2016 Auris would last about 6 weeks round here at the moment. If you're lucky. And you'd be hard pushed to get your car insurance renewed after the 2nd one goes walkies.

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I can sympathize with your dilemma.

The effectiveness of any modern petrol car's catalyst is constantly being monitored by an oxygen sensor (aka lambda sensor) when the engine is running.  If the new exhaust catalyst doesn't meet the hard-coded requirements of the ECU, perhaps because the new catalyst isn't large enough/have the necessary internal surface area etc., then it will post an error code/warning light.  This will not necessarily happen immediately, sometimes this can happen months down the line.  If the catalyst fails in this way then the normal cure is simply replacement, again. (Unless there is some other external factor, obviously.)

This isn't a reason to not buy one necessarily, just something that you should be aware of.

I used to occasionally visit the precious metal refiners, Johnson Matthey, with my job.  They make 30% of all the world's car catalytic converters.  Their research and development operation is huge and really impressive. Their (15?) catalyst test beds run endurance/performance tests every day to improve their product. I do wonder how catalytic converter manufacture can be done cheaply on a small scale (like these aftermarket factories must be), unless some corners have been cut with design and testing etc., but I'm very happy to be corrected on this.

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59 minutes ago, itm said:

An original cat on a 2016 Auris would last about 6 weeks round here at the moment. If you're lucky. And you'd be hard pushed to get your car insurance renewed after the 2nd one goes walkies.

Do you have a catloc or similar fitted?

I've been lucky so far. Car is secure overnight, and at work. Had a close call at the local hospital, they hit the place while I was visiting my Aunt .. didn't spot the car behind a large SUV and went for a Prius and Honda Jazz further round.

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Best is to use genuine catalytic converter, but if there are not available just put something, even from another car will do the job, there might be some performance and efficiency discrepancies, but the car will run and pass mot. Cat lock covers, and debadge of the whole car is also recommended, thieves are humans at least like, and some are really good with cars but some are complete morons and only choose cars by what says on the Badge, I would debadge even a Prius if I have one again. 👍

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Many thanks for all the feedback. Basically there's a minimum 4 week wait for a Toyota unit at my local service centre, so I need to seriously consider any alternative that is available, provided it doesn't create more  problems than it resolves.

I just spoke to a local mechanic who said that the original Toyota units in the hybrids have a built-in cooler (possibly to assist with hybrid performance?). I don't know if the aftermarket units would have the same thing. Does anyone here know?

 

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1 hour ago, itm said:

Many thanks for all the feedback. Basically there's a minimum 4 week wait for a Toyota unit at my local service centre, so I need to seriously consider any alternative that is available, provided it doesn't create more  problems than it resolves.

I just spoke to a local mechanic who said that the original Toyota units in the hybrids have a built-in cooler (possibly to assist with hybrid performance?). I don't know if the aftermarket units would have the same thing. Does anyone here know?

 

Those are only in Prius gen 3 , Auris gen 1 hybrids doesn’t have one , not sure about your one though. , 2016 might have cooler too, but that is not too much of a deal, more importantly what is inside as catalytic material and how much of it , plus the quality of the lambda sensors which you have to buy separately. We had suffer theft in one of hours and we went for Toyota genuine replacement via Aviva claim, took one week all together, then I fitted myself cat plate and removed all the badges from both cars, touching the wood no trouble since. 👍

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Are you paying for the repair yourself or is your insurance company?

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Our first thought was to go through the insurance company (and we've got the ball rolling on a claim), but having read their policy details it's not certain that our comprehensive policy actually covers this - there's a line in the "Not covered" section which says: "Loss of or damage to accessories and spare parts by theft if your car is not stolen at the same time".

If we do have cover, the other concern is the risk that the insurer will refuse to renew our insurance next time, given the prevalence of this issue and the fact that we would have already claimed. That would put us in a pretty serious situation when it comes to getting motor insurance in the future.

So, for both of the above reasons, we're not ruling out paying for it ourselves. Our policy excess is £300 so we could be talking about an outlay of around £700 for an aftermarket solution.

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2 hours ago, itm said:

I just spoke to a local mechanic who said that the original Toyota units in the hybrids have a built-in cooler (possibly to assist with hybrid performance?).

I think your mechanic is talking about a heat exchanger on the Prius that is fitted to assist engine warm up, and generally reclaim otherwise-wasted exhaust heat.  Your Auris almost certainly will not have this.  Our older Auris gen 2 (2013) definitely don't have this heat exchanger.

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As you've already made a claim, this may still be counted as a claim for future renewals whether or not you go through with it. If you continue with the claim, the insurer may not be willing to have parts fitted which don't match OE standards or which aren't sourced via their own repairer.

Check with your insurer.

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Just a thought... as hybrids don't have their emissions tested on a MOT and the cat stolen is the second one (primary one is in the manifold), could you not just straight pipe this bit of the exhaust? 🤔 

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There are cheap universal catalytic converters , all you need One or two sensors and some pipes and someone who knows how to weld , but when they get the car they usually cut together with the middle silencer .👍

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I was just talking to a local garage who said that they custom fit cat guards using bolts of varying sizes to make the job of removal more time-consuming. Does anyone know whether the Toyota-fitted catlocs are done the same way, or is it just another set of standard bolts to remove to access the cat?

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