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OEM Catalytic Converters VS Aftermarket

OEM Catalytic Converters VS Aftermarket

Understanding the differences between OEM and aftermarket catalytic converters allows you to make informed decisions about their performance, price, and ability to keep up with emissions regulations. You can make sure that your vehicle’s emissions system continues to be effective and environmentally friendly by paying attention to its physical features, marks, credentials, and build quality.

OEM Catalytic Converters

oem vs aftermarket

OEM stands for “ Original Equipment Manufacturer,” which means that the materials used to create the catalytic converter are from the automotive manufacturer. OEM catalytic converters have a denser load of precious metals like Rhodium, Platinum, and Palladium. Since the manufacturer must load OEM catalytic converters with a higher dose of precious metals, the OEM converters are more expensive to purchase and have a greater return when recycling than after market catalytic converters.

OEM catalytic converters are made of higher quality materials, built to withstand the stresses of extended use, climate conditions, and strict emissions regulations. OEM catalytic converters come with warranties, as required by the Environmental Protection Agency. Since aftermarket converters are not subject to these warranty standards, they are often constructed from lower-quality materials, which can reduce their durability and overall performance.

How to determine if your Catalytic Converter is an OEM:

All OEM Catalytic Converters have a distinct stamp. This stamp could be the manufacturer’s logo followed by the serial number. Since the converters are built to last, the seal may collect rust or dirt over time, making the label hard to read. If that is the case, we recommend using steel wool to scrape the grit off the label until it is readable.

In addition, OEM catalytic converters are made to seamlessly fit specific vehicle models. It is more likely to be OEM if the converter fits perfectly without any adjustments or modifications.

If the converter is still installed and you want to determine if it is OEM check for clean weld lines. That is an indication that the catalytic converter is an OEM and was installed during the vehicles initial build.

Aftermarket Catalytic Converters

“Aftermarket” refers to parts that are replacement parts to the original equipment. Aftermarket catalytic converters are very cheap compared to the OEM converters because aftermarket part manufacturers do not have to meet the warranty standards before distributing them. OEM catalytic converters are designed to last the entire lifetime of your car if handled with care. Aftermarket catalytic converters have no responsibility to survive as long, so they are made using cheaper materials.

Since the aftermarket catalytic converters are not held to high warranty standards like OEM converters, the aftermarket manufacturers save costs by using less precious metals like rhodium, platinum, and palladium. Since less precious metals are applied to the converter, there is less filtration of toxic compounds from the vehicle’s engine. The low amount of precious metals that will be found in these converters make the recyclable value far less than the OEM converters.

How to determine if your Catalytic Converter is an Aftermarket:

catalytic converterThe most obvious distinction is the presence of a silver shield with an arrow imprinted on it, and the serial numbers on these converters begin with the letter “N.” 

Since OEM converters are designed to seamlessly fit into particular vehicle models, any variations in these physical characteristics could indicate an aftermarket converter.

Aftermarket catalytic converters can vary in size, shape, and welds.

Now you know the difference in value between OEM and aftermarket catalytic converters and how to identify each.



To learn more about the difference between OEM Catalytic Converters and Aftermarket check out this video 👇:


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