CAT Delete: Pros, Cons, and Cost

Catalytic converters are integral to the vehicle’s exhaust system, designed to reduce harmful emissions and pollutants. Some car enthusiasts remove or delete their catalytic converters for increased performance and a more aggressive sound. This article will explore the pros and cons of CAT Delete modifications and the cost of this aftermarket alteration. Whether considering a cat delete for your vehicle or simply curious about its implications, read on to understand the benefits, drawbacks, and financial considerations involved in such a modification.

What Is a Cat Delete?

A cat delete refers to the modification made to a car’s exhaust system by removing or bypassing the catalytic converter. The catalytic converter reduces harmful emissions from the engine by converting them into less toxic gases. Car enthusiasts often remove the catalytic converter to improve performance and achieve a more aggressive sound.

By eliminating the catalytic converter, exhaust flow increases, promoting better gas flow. This modification can result in a slight power increase due to reduced backpressure and improved engine efficiency. It is important to note that performing a cat delete may violate emission laws in some jurisdictions.

Why a Catalytic Converter is Important

Catalytic converter plays a crucial role in reducing harmful emissions from vehicles. It is an integral component of the exhaust system, which converts toxic gases produced during combustion into less harmful substances before they are released into the atmosphere. This device primarily focuses on three types of pollutants: nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), and hydrocarbons (HC).

Utilizing catalysts like platinum, rhodium, and palladium promotes chemical reactions that convert these pollutants into less harmful components such as nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and water vapor. Without a catalytic converter, vehicles would emit higher levels of pollutants that contribute to air pollution and negatively impact human health. For instance, nitrogen oxides contribute to smog formation and respiratory issues.

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that can be fatal in high concentrations and contribute to air pollution. Hydrocarbons are a critical factor in forming ground-level ozone, which can cause breathing difficulties and other health problems. Catalytic converters also play a crucial role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions by converting some carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide. At the same time, carbon dioxide is still an important greenhouse gas but is less harmful than CO or HC compounds.

How a CAT Delete Can Be Beneficial

CAT Delete

Improved Engine Sound

This alteration primarily enhances the engine sound and creates a more aggressive tone. When people decide to delete their stock CAT, they often aim to achieve a deep and throaty roar that can be particularly amplified in significant engines like V8s.

Regarding cost-effectiveness, deleting your stock catalytic converter can be an affordable way to customize your car’s audio profile compared to other aftermarket modifications available on the market. It is essential to emphasize that altering your exhaust system should always be carried out responsibly, considering legal requirements and environmental concerns.

Power Gains

By getting rid of the catalytic converter, vehicles can experience power gains. This happens because, without the cat, there is less restriction in the exhaust flow, allowing for increased airflow. This enhanced airflow enables the engine to breathe freely and produce more power.

Weight Reduction

The catalytic converter, a vital emission control device, comprises heavy metal components that add unnecessary weight to your vehicle. You can effectively lighten your car or truck by eliminating it, leading to improved performance and handling.

The weight reduction achieved by removing the catalytic converter directly affects various aspects of your vehicle’s dynamics. With less weight, your engine can work more efficiently, increasing acceleration and overall speed. The reduced weight allows for better maneuverability and responsiveness while navigating corners or changing lanes.

Shedding the burden of a catalytic converter could enhance fuel efficiency. As the added weight is eliminated, less energy is required to propel the vehicle forward. This means your car will consume fewer resources and save you money at the gas station.

Low Cost

Removing your stock catalytic converter is surprisingly affordable, especially compared to other performance upgrades available for your vehicle. With just a few essential tools and some knowledge, you can efficiently perform a catalytic converter delete yourself for under $50. Workshops can assist you if you need more will or expertise to tackle this task independently.

Removing the catalytic converter is a relatively simple procedure that doesn’t require advanced skills or excessive time commitments. It involves disconnecting the exhaust system, unbolting the converter from its mounting location, and replacing it with a straight pipe or another performance-oriented alternative.

Downsides of a CAT Delete

Downsides of a CAT Delete:

Illegal: Due to environmental regulations, removing or tampering with a catalytic converter (CAT) is against the law in most countries, including the United States.

Air Pollution: Catalytic converters are designed to reduce harmful emissions by converting toxic compounds in vehicle exhaust into less harmful substances. Removing the CAT can increase emissions, contributing to air pollution and negatively impacting the environment.

Gas Mileage: A catalytic converter’s function is not limited to emission reduction; it also improves fuel efficiency by aiding combustion. Removing it can decrease gas mileage, as the engine may have to work harder and consume more fuel.

Void Warranty: Most vehicles have warranties covering specific components, including the catalytic converter. Removing or modifying it often voids this warranty, leaving you responsible for any repair or replacement costs that may arise.

Potential Legal Consequences: Besides being illegal, removing a catalytic converter can result in significant legal consequences if caught. Regulatory bodies can impose fines and penalties for violating emissions standards.

Impact on Resale Value: Many potential buyers look for cars that comply with emissions regulations and are environmentally friendly. A vehicle without a working catalytic converter may be deemed less desirable and could reduce its resale value.

Altered Engine Performance: Catalytic converters can affect backpressure, significantly affecting engine performance and overall power output. By removing the CAT, you may experience changes in engine performance characteristics.

Restricted Access to Certain Areas: Some regions have designated low-emission zones or areas where specific vehicles with high emissions are restricted entry. With a functioning catalytic converter, your car may meet the requirements for accessing such sites.

How to Delete a CAT At Home

CAT Delete

To carry out a home CAT delete, you will require the following equipment: a welder, a hacksaw or reciprocating saw (a grinder may also suffice), a replacement pipe (readily available at any auto parts store), and ideally, the assistance of a friend to hold items in position during the welding process.

Performing a catalytic converter delete at home involves a few simple steps:

  • Gather the necessary tools and equipment, including a pipe extension with the same diameter as your exhaust system, a jack to lift your car, and a hacksaw or reciprocating saw for cutting.
  • Ensure you have a safe and proper space to work on your vehicle, such as a well-ventilated garage or driveway.
  • Use the jack to lift the car and secure it with jack stands for stability and safety.
  • Locate the exhaust system under your car, usually towards the rear end, near the muffler.
  • Carefully dismount the exhaust system from its mounting points using wrenches or sockets where necessary.
  • Identify the catalytic converter along the exhaust pipe; it is typically cylindrical and has heat shields around it.
  • Once located, use a hacksaw or reciprocating saw to carefully cut out and remove the catalytic converter from the exhaust pipe.
  • Ensure proper safety precautions when handling sharp tools; wear protective gloves and eye protection.
  • After removing the catalytic converter, attach the previously selected pipe extension in its place on the exhaust system.
  • Reinstall and securely secure the dismounted exhaust system onto its mounting points.


Deleting or removing the catalytic converter from a vehicle should not be taken lightly. While there are potential benefits, such as increased horsepower and improved exhaust flow, these must be weighed against the negative environmental impact and legal consequences. The cost of deleting a catalytic converter can vary greatly depending on the vehicle model and location. It is essential to consider all aspects before making a decision that could have long-term consequences. It is recommended to consult with professionals and adhere to local regulations when considering a CAT delete. Together, we can make informed choices prioritizing performance and environmental responsibility.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is CAT delete?

CAT delete refers to removing the catalytic converter from a vehicle’s exhaust system.

Why would someone consider a CAT delete?

Some people opt for CAT deletion to increase engine performance, improve fuel economy, or enhance the sound of their vehicle’s exhaust.

Does CAT deletion affect emissions?

Removing the catalytic converter increases emissions, making it illegal in many regions without proper permits or exemptions.

Are there any legal consequences for performing a CAT delete?

Performing a CAT delete without proper authorization can result in hefty fines and penalties imposed by environmental regulatory authorities.

How does CAT deletion impact the environment?

CAT deletion contributes to higher levels of harmful pollutants being released into the atmosphere, negatively impacting air quality and pollution.

Can I pass an emissions test after performing a CAT delete?

In most cases, vehicles without a catalytic converter will not pass emissions tests mandated by authorities.

What are the potential risks associated with CAT deletion?

Removing the catalytic converter may cause damage to other components within your vehicle’s exhaust system and void any applicable warranties.

Anam Naz