Where Can You Find the Catalytic Converter on a Chevy Cavalier?

Video where is the catalytic converter located on a chevy cavalier

Your trusty Chevy Cavalier comes equipped with its own catalytic converter straight from the factory. However, as your vehicle ages, it’s not uncommon for the catalytic converter to encounter issues that may trigger the OBDII code P0420. In this article, we will delve into the location, price, and symptoms associated with a faulty catalytic converter in your Cavalier.


Bad Catalytic Converter Symptoms Chevy Cavalier

What is a Catalytic Converter Anyway?

The catalytic converter, frequently mispronounced as the “cadillac converter,” is a critical component of your Cavalier’s emissions system. Its primary function is to reduce the emissions gases produced during the normal combustion process to levels that meet federal emissions standards.

Using a catalyst, the catalytic converter burns off residual fuel vapor and transforms it into:

  • Water
  • Carbon dioxide
  • Heat, lots of heat

Catalytic converters have been a staple in domestic automobiles for nearly four decades, continuously improving exhaust flow and emission cleansing capabilities.

Where is the Cavalier’s Catalytic Converter Located?

The exact placement of the catalytic converter on your Chevy Cavalier may vary depending on the model year and engine size. However, locating it isn’t overly difficult. The catalytic converter is part of the exhaust system and can typically be found between the tailpipe and intake manifolds.

Usually, it is surrounded by a heat shield and features an oxygen sensor placed before it. It’s crucial that the catalytic converter is positioned before the muffler, as the muffler is often mistaken for the converter in the Cavalier.

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Depending on the year and make of your vehicle, the catalytic converter may be bolted or welded on.

Catalytic Converter Price: Chevy Cavalier

Chevy Cavalier Catalytic Converter Price

The cost of a catalytic converter for your Cavalier varies according to the model year and engine size. However, as a general rule, catalytic converters are not cheap. In fact, they rank among the most frequently stolen vehicle parts. Expect to pay more than $100 for most catalytic converters and several hundred dollars for larger ones used in V8 engines.

Replacing a catalytic converter often requires welding, which means a visit to an exhaust shop. For newer vehicles, the total cost can exceed $1000.

It’s worth noting that catalytic converters have a scrap value of up to $250, with the average being around $90. If you’re interested in checking the current scrap market rates, you can find them here.

Chevy Cavalier: Bad Catalytic Converter Symptoms

Over time, catalytic converters can fail due to the natural wear and tear associated with years and miles. Factors such as misfiring or a faulty air/fuel mixture can accelerate this process.

When your Cavalier experiences a major engine problem, the check engine light will start flashing. In most cases, this flashing condition serves to protect the catalytic converter.

The most common symptoms of a faulty catalytic converter in a Chevy Cavalier include:

  • Decline in MPG: As the exhaust flow slows down, so does your gas mileage.
  • Service Engine Soon Light: Modern vehicles come equipped with an onboard OBDII computer that detects and provides a “trouble code” for diagnosing and repairing your Cavalier’s emissions system.
  • Failure to Start: Once the catalytic converter becomes severely clogged, there won’t be sufficient airflow for your Cavalier to start.
  • Darker Exhaust Smoke
  • Rotten Egg Smell
  • Lack of Throttle Response at Speed: If your Cavalier struggles to accelerate beyond a certain speed, as if it lacks power, it’s a clear sign of a failing catalytic converter.
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Feel free to check out this informative video by Scotty Kilmer on the subject:


If you’re facing issues with your Cavalier’s catalytic converter, it often coincides with the P0420 code. Repairing or replacing a catalytic converter can be an expensive endeavor. If you have any additional insights or experiences to share, please leave a comment below. Good luck resolving your issue!

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