Nissan Altima Catalytic Converter Location

Your Nissan Altima’s catalytic converter will be in a different location depending on the model year. Click to learn more.
Written by Cameron Thiessen
Reviewed by Pat Roache
The catalytic converter is located in different places on the Nissan Altima depending on its model year and engine size. For older models, it’s on the underside of the vehicle, but in other cases, it’s kept safely under the hood.
It’s no secret that we are in difficult times when it comes to being a car owner. From rising inflation levels to supply chain crises, it’s hard not to ask the question: what else could go wrong? 
Well, for one thing, you could get your catalytic converter stolen. That’s right, catalytic converter theft rates increased by 326% in 2020 and another 353% in 2021
according to the National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA)
. We can expect similar or worse numbers from 2022.
That’s why we’ve compiled this overview on where you might find the catalytic converter in your Nissan Altima, how to safeguard it from theft with the right
car insurance
policy, and when and how to replace it.
Don't get ripped off!
Estimate repairs near you with GarageGuard™ for free so you KNOW the fair price.
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms · No fees
icon4.717k Ratings
5M+Drivers Joined
7M+Cars Garaged

Where is the catalytic converter on a Nissan Altima? 

The Nissan Altima celebrates its 30th anniversary in 2022 with the new 2023 model. Since the 1993 model year, the Nissan Altima has been produced for six generations.
If you have a first-generation (1993 to 1997) or second-generation (1998 to 2001) Nissan Altima, your catalytic converter is located on the underside of the vehicle with exhaust piping on either side.
For third to fifth-generation (2002 to 2018) models, the catalytic converter is attached directly to the exhaust manifold, regardless of which engine you have. It can only be accessed by opening the hood.
Sixth-generation (2019 to 2023) models have the catalytic converter on the underside of the car again, but it is hidden by the plastic piece that covers the undercarriage, making it fairly difficult to steal.

What are the benefits of a catalytic converter on a Nissan Altima?

Catalytic converters greatly reduce the amount of harmful emissions produced by gas combustion engines, and their use is mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As the name implies, they convert toxins and pollutants into less harmful forms of emissions.
To do this, the catalyst needs to be composed of specific precious metals, particularly platinum, palladium, and rhodium. This is why they're so valuable and such a hot target for thieves. If you were to need a replacement it could cost up to $2,500.
MORE: How to pass emissions testing

How to protect the catalytic converter on your Nissan Altima

If you drive an older first or second-generation Nissan Altima, catalytic converter theft could be a concern. The cat might be one of the most valuable parts of the vehicle if it’s still in good condition!
If you want to make sure that thieves can’t get at your Nissan Altima’s catalytic converter here are some tips to follow:
  • Install an anti-theft device.  
    are both designed to keep thieves from getting at your catalytic converter. Other devices commonly used include cages, shields, or alarm systems.
  • Park your Altima in a garage or well-lit area. Where you park will have a significant impact on your risk of catalytic converter theft. If you have to park on the street, park under a street lamp, or in a highly-populated area where thieves won’t have the privacy they need to get away with ripping your cat.
  • Put your VIN on the catalytic converter. While this doesn’t actively prevent theft, it will make it easier to trace the catalytic converter if it is stolen, and it will tip off potential buyers.
You can also safeguard yourself from vandalism and theft with
comprehensive car insurance coverage
. This will enable you to file an insurance claim to get your catalytic converter replaced if it’s stolen.

What to do if your catalytic converter is stolen

Panic! Just kidding, there’s no need to panic. Here’s what to do if you realize you’ve become the
victim of catalytic converter theft
  • Compile documentation. Take pictures of the place where your catalytic converter used to be to show what remains. These will come in handy for the next two steps.
  • File a police report.
  • Submit an insurance claim
    through your comprehensive coverage.
  • Replace the catalytic converter. Yes, you definitely need it to drive your car. Consider purchasing an aftermarket cat if you’re looking to save money and reduce your risk of future theft.
  • Consider anti-theft devices.

When to replace the catalytic converter on a Nissan Altima

Most catalytic converters are designed to last between 100,000 to 150,000 miles, which usually translates to a lifetime of about 10 years. If you have one of those older Altima models with the cat underneath the car, you’ve probably already had to replace it.
Here are some warning signs that often suggest that you need to replace your catalytic converter:
If you have an onboard diagnostics (OBD) scanner, you can use it to scan your computer for exhaust-related trouble codes to find out if your cat needs replacement. If you don’t have a scanner tool, your mechanic will!
Unfortunately, replacing a catalytic converter on a Nissan Altima isn’t a cheap fix. RepairPal predicts an average replacement cost of between $1,998 and $2,045. This is for a full replacement, but in some cases, you might only need to repair a specific component, like an oxygen sensor or heat shield.
If you have a new Nissan vehicle, your basic warranty will include an emission control warranty for 3 years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. This will cover the replacement of your catalytic converter if it is found to be defective.

How to replace a catalytic converter

Unfortunately, replacing a catalytic converter is not quite as easy as swapping your tires or
changing your oil
. In some cases, you’ll need a pipe cutter or torch to remove a catalytic converter that is welded on. You might also need tools like pipe expanders or gasket cleaners—the sorts of things your mechanic will have but you might not.
However, if you do the research and determine that you’ll be able to replace your catalytic converter on your own, just make sure to use the correct part number to find a replacement that fits. You don’t need an original part, but you’ll want something that is at least OEM-grade. That being said, buying a third-party/aftermarket cat for your vehicle will reduce the chance of future theft.
Don't get ripped off!
Estimate repairs near you with GarageGuard™ for free so you KNOW the fair price.
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms · No fees
icon4.717k Ratings
5M+Drivers Joined
7M+Cars Garaged
Estimate your repair costs for free with GarageGuard™
Simplify your car maintenance with Jerry.
Try GarageGuard™

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings