Toyota RAV4 Catalytic Converter Location

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So where is the catalytic converter on a
Toyota RAV4
, anyway? As part of the exhaust system, it’s generally found under the SUV between the tailpipe and intake manifolds. 
Catalytic converter thefts are nothing new, but they have been soaring in the last few years—particularly in 2021, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). We're here to guide you through the catalytic converter location for Toyota RAV4 owners. Let's look at the essentials of having a catalytic converter, how to safeguard it, and when to replace it.
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Where is the catalytic converter on a Toyota RAV4? 

The precise location of the catalytic converter on a Toyota RAV4 depends on the model year and engine size. But as it’s part of the exhaust system, you can usually find the catalytic converter underneath your SUV between the tailpipe and the intake manifold with a heat shield around it. The catalytic converter typically looks similar to your vehicle’s muffler. 

What are the benefits of a catalytic converter on a Toyota RAV4?

So you might be asking—why does your RAV4 need a catalytic converter? Your Toyota’s catalytic converter is an extremely vital component of the exhaust system. It takes harmful exhaust gasses produced by the engine, such as carbon monoxide, and converts them into less toxic emissions before they exit the exhaust system. 
Mandated in the United States since 1975, catalytic converters are necessary for all vehicles, not only to meet crucial EPA emissions standards but to maintain your engine’s performance as well. The catalyst is generally made up of precious metals like palladium, platinum, and rhodium—hence why they are such a hot ticket item for thefts. That’s also why a catalytic converter replacement may end up costing you over $1,300 for a Toyota RAV4. 

How to protect the catalytic converter on your Toyota RAV4

As mentioned previously, catalytic converter thefts have certainly skyrocketed over the years. And while the Toyota RAV4 is thankfully not among the
most popular vehicles for catalytic converter thieves
(though the
Toyota Prius
Toyota Camry
are!), catalytic converters are still easy for thieves to gain access to given that they are located right beneath your SUV.  
If you’re concerned about the security of your catalytic converter, there are a few things you can do to protect this important component: 
  • Install an anti-theft device. Some popular anti-theft tools include the
    and the
    , but you should also consider installing an alarm or shield to fend off catalytic converter thieves. 
  • Park your RAV4 in a garage or a well-lit location. The best option is to park your Toyota SUV in a secure garage to prevent catalytic converter theft. But if this isn’t available to you, park your vehicle in the driveway with motion sensors or on the street under a well-lit street lamp to make your vehicle less of an easy target. 
  • Scratch your VIN on the catalytic converter. No, this won’t necessarily prevent your catalytic convertor from being stolen, but it will make it easier to trace and more difficult to sell to an aftermarket auto parts dealer. 
What else can you do to protect yourself against catalytic converter theft? Simply add
comprehensive coverage
to your car insurance policy. With this coverage, you can file a claim to replace your catalytic converter in the unfortunate circumstance that it does get stolen.  

What to do if your catalytic converter is stolen

If you have become a victim of catalytic converter theft, here’s what you should do:
  • Document the theft by taking plenty of photos of underneath your vehicle where the missing converter once was
  • Call the police and file a report right away
  • If you have comprehensive coverage, submit a claim after you file your police report
  • Think about installing an aftermarket catalytic converter 
  • Research the best anti-theft devices for your Toyota RAV4 to prevent future thefts

When to replace the catalytic converter on a Toyota RAV4

Catalytic converters generally last you about 10 years, but they eventually need to be replaced just like any other component in your vehicle. You’ll know that your catalytic converter has gone awry if you notice any of the following warning signs:
  • Check engine light turns on
  • Dark exhaust smoke
  • Diminished acceleration and performance 
  • Exhaust fume odor
    that smells like rotten eggs 
  • Failed smog check
  • Overheating from underneath the vehicle 
You can use an onboard diagnostics (OBD) scanner to easily check your exhaust system if you detect any of these warning signs. But if you don't have this tool, take your RAV4 to a professional mechanic for a thorough diagnosis. If you’re lucky, it may just be that you need to replace a certain part of the catalytic converter, like the protective heat shield.
But if it turns out that you do need to replace your catalytic converter, unfortunately, it's not always cheap. The average cost to replace a Toyota RAV4 catalytic converter ranges from $1,300 to $1,400 depending on factors like the model year and your location.  
If you have a new Toyota RAV4, your emission control warranty length varies by part, but it’s good for an impressive eight years or 80,000 miles specifically for your catalytic converter and engine control module. However, if you need to replace it due to regular wear and tear or you've already passed the eight-year mark, then you’ll have to pay out of pocket. 

How to replace a catalytic converter

Unless you know your way around cars, replacing a catalytic converter should be left to the professionals who have the right tools and know-how to get the job done. But if you want to replace your catalytic converter yourself, make sure to look up the part number for your model and keep an eye out for a high-quality OEM-grade replacement. 
Don't get ripped off!
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By Mariza Morin
Expert Insurance Writer
Reviewed by Brenna Swanston.
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