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Howdy - our 2014 3.6 flashed us the dreaded check engine/cruise control/brake lights the other day. We took it to the dealership, and they are telling us it needs new cats, to the tune of $7000. This sounds crazy - are they taking us for a ride? It’s got a little over 100K miles, been properly maintained, we’ve had it since new, etc. I’ve never had to deal with this, I appreciate any advice y’all can give - thanks in advance!
 

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2018 3.6 Touring (Canadian, so Premium I guess?)
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133 Posts
Rock Auto has them for just over $1000 CAD for the set. I’m sure they’re aftermarket so maybe not as good as OEM… but at 1/7th the price (less after exchange rate) I think I’d be more than willing to take a swing on them.
2014 3.6 Cats
 

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Super Moderator
Outback 2011 3.6R Premium
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2,266 Posts
Howdy - our 2014 3.6 flashed us the dreaded check engine/cruise control/brake lights the other day. We took it to the dealership, and they are telling us it needs new cats, to the tune of $7000. This sounds crazy - are they taking us for a ride? It’s got a little over 100K miles, been properly maintained, we’ve had it since new, etc. I’ve never had to deal with this, I appreciate any advice y’all can give - thanks in advance!
Please make sure the cause of the check engine light is properly diagnosed. The DTC (Diagnostic Trouble Code) can be set for many reasons and the most common DTC for this problem is P0420. This DTC can be set for various reasons including a faulty O2 sensor.

There have been many CATS replaced unnecessarily due to the cause of the P0420 not being properly diagnosed.

If you do a search on this forum for P0420 you will find a topic that has over 3,000 posts where forum members help to properly diagnose the cause.

Hope this helps

Seagrass
 

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Outback Wagon, 2004, H6 3.0
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146 Posts
I wonder, at what price point peeps will start reaching for pitchforks....
Since yours is relatively old car I would go with RockAuto. My car is 10 years older than yours. I replaced driver side ca for around $700 (also included downpipe and muffler and 2 O2 sensors). Installed it myself on my driveway. Easy job. Pain of changing spark plugs in Subarus is compensated by ease of work on exhaust system. I did it 2 years ago. I look at the piping and it is rusting like crazy around welds. It will probably last another 3 years. So I would say not as good as OEM. But, I think, there is no need to shell so much money on 7 y.o. car. I think that genuine Subaru cats (if all rellaced ) will cost towards $3K.
 

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2019 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited
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114 Posts
Rock Auto has them for just over $1000 CAD for the set. I’m sure they’re aftermarket so maybe not as good as OEM… but at 1/7th the price (less after exchange rate) I think I’d be more than willing to take a swing on them.
2014 3.6 Cats
Depending on where he lives, those cats could be illegal to install.

If state law requires use of CARB-compliant cats, then $7k is still on the high side, but approaching what would be considered normal.
 

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Outback Wagon, 2004, H6 3.0
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146 Posts
What codes does it throw? If p0420/p0430. One thing you could do - replace O2 sensors (make sure to use OEM sensors). If it does not help, you can try paint thinner (you paint thinner to fuel. Check out YouTube for how tos. This could be considered controversial). If that does not work..... I just had a look at subarupartsdeal. They quote $2.6K per cat. Are you sure you have to replace both? But..... If you are not in CA , you can use RockAuto aftermarket cats.

FWIW, my personal experience with two different cars that cats go bad around 140K mileage. I refer to p0420/p0430 codes - low cat efficiency.

What codes the car throws? You can get them scanned for you at any autoparts store (like AutoZone) for free. Speaking of US, as far as I am aware only CA has issues with some aftermarket cats. But then wonder, how do they check? In IL inspection amounts to scanning emissions related codes. They even allow one "not ready monitor", which has been extremely helpful for me 😇
 

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Brucey
'17 3.6
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12,259 Posts
It's illegal to install used catalytic converter. I don't think a shop will do that because of that reason.

An OEM set of catalytic converters really do cost nearly that. Throw in some gaskets and labor and it's 7k.

They are being scrapped for over 4 figures. This is becoming a problem across all manufacturers.

IF it is necessary to replace them I would find an aftermarket model. However like others have said make sure it's the correct diagnosis first.
 

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Howdy - our 2014 3.6 flashed us the dreaded check engine/cruise control/brake lights the other day. We took it to the dealership, and they are telling us it needs new cats, to the tune of $7000. This sounds crazy - are they taking us for a ride? It’s got a little over 100K miles, been properly maintained, we’ve had it since new, etc. I’ve never had to deal with this, I appreciate any advice y’all can give - thanks in advance!
On a recent utoob vid they were talking about cat theft and the utoober said Subaru cats were the most valuable, $1100 if I recall correctly.
Have you gotten a second confitmation??
7k is entirely unjustifiable!
 

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It's illegal to install used catalytic converter. I don't think a shop will do that because of that reason.

An OEM set of catalytic converters really do cost nearly that. Throw in some gaskets and labor and it's 7k.

They are being scrapped for over 4 figures. This is becoming a problem across all manufacturers.

IF it is necessary to replace them I would find an aftermarket model. However like others have said make sure it's the correct diagnosis first.
Thx Brucccy. Had no idea they were pricey. Think I'm going to start buying scrap Subies just for the cats
 

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2020 Outback Premier 2.5i
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illegal to install used catalytic converter
I found no evidence that this is true for Canada, and the poster is Canadian so it seems likely that it is true in some cases. If you have any evidence to the contrary wrt Canada would you please post it for our benefit?
 

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2010 Outback 3.6R 2014 Legacy 2.5i
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2,680 Posts
buy them from magnaflow and install them yourself. total cost $1200 and change it will be from the engine up to and including Y pipe

or you can buy this one complete for about $650 delivered if you are stateside.

 

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Brucey
'17 3.6
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12,259 Posts
I found no evidence that this is true for Canada, and the poster is Canadian so it seems likely that it is true in some cases. If you have any evidence to the contrary wrt Canada would you please post it for our benefit?
My mistake.

I am an American and the American EPA has banned the installation of used catalytic converters.

Plus the flag of the OP was that of the USA.

I have no evidence that that Canadian equivalent has done the same.
 

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2010 Outback 3.6R 2014 Legacy 2.5i
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Depending on where he lives, those cats could be illegal to install.

If state law requires use of CARB-compliant cats, then $7k is still on the high side, but approaching what would be considered normal.
$4K here just for the CATS. it is now Federal Law that what came on the car has to go back on the car in terms of parts. For example even though I am in a non CARB state, Subaru dealers MUST install CARB compliant CATs. Needless to say, that did not happen.
 

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2019 Subaru Outback 3.6R Limited
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$4K here just for the CATS. it is now Federal Law that what came on the car has to go back on the car in terms of parts. For example even though I am in a non CARB state, Subaru dealers MUST install CARB compliant CATs. Needless to say, that did not happen.
Interesting. My experience is solely based on CA shops, so regardless of what shop I worked at, we had to go with new CARB-compliant cats. Back when I was in dealership land, we would at least quote the customer a set of aftermarket cats as an option, since the OEM ones were so outrageous (this was BMW, so of course it was). But, that was almost ten years ago. Sucks they can't even do that anymore.
 

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It seems that the P0420 code is misdiagnosed often. Many times it is something else, but the new cat. hides the problem for a while so owners don't even know. Learned this from @cardoc the this long, informative thread. My advice is to read the thread, try the easy stuff, reset the code and try it, or have a good tech monitor the live data and make sure it is cats before you spend all that $.
513755
 

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2010 Outback 3.6R 2014 Legacy 2.5i
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Interesting. My experience is solely based on CA shops, so regardless of what shop I worked at, we had to go with new CARB-compliant cats. Back when I was in dealership land, we would at least quote the customer a set of aftermarket cats as an option, since the OEM ones were so outrageous (this was BMW, so of course it was). But, that was almost ten years ago. Sucks they can't even do that anymore.
I should clarify. if they take of a CARB compliant CAT, they have install a CAT that is CARB compliant. Subaru dealer here will do aftermarket if you balk at $2K for each CAT.
 

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2012 STI, 2007 Impreza RS
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It's illegal to install used catalytic converter. I don't think a shop will do that because of that reason.

An OEM set of catalytic converters really do cost nearly that. Throw in some gaskets and labor and it's 7k.

They are being scrapped for over 4 figures. This is becoming a problem across all manufacturers.

IF it is necessary to replace them I would find an aftermarket model. However like others have said make sure it's the correct diagnosis first.
That is interesting. I have swapped many many used cats, since I buy a lot of salvaged vehicles. I have also recently been selling my used cats to recyclers for ridiculous $$ (I've had cars sitting 10yrs).

My mom has a 3.6R with 200,000km, I have a wrecked 3.6R with 60,000km. I'm just in the process of swapping the cats and sell hers instead of the low km ones.

I noticed awhile back that my profile was showing USA flag. But now its showing Canada on my end.
 

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2011 Outback Limited 2.5i/2018 Crosstrek limited
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Rock Auto has them for just over $1000 CAD for the set. I’m sure they’re aftermarket so maybe not as good as OEM… but at 1/7th the price (less after exchange rate) I think I’d be more than willing to take a swing on them.
2014 3.6 Cats
I went with Rick auto for my manifold. Saved a bundle over OEM. I am pretty much now going with quality aftermarket parts on stuff like brakes, exhaust, windshields, Etc. Major components I will go with OEM. Bearings, axles, etc. Had bad experience with aftermarket on those.
 

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2008 USDM Outback 3.0R 6MT
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Yes - 7k is accurate for OEM from subaru. If it's like my H6 it has 3 catalytic converters - and the cost of all three (That they have been paying to store for 10 years now) is not trivial.

However, that is probably not the best repair option - Most people first verify it's the correct problem, then have aftermarket catalytic converters put on. You can legally do that if the originals failed. Aftermarket is much cheaper, you're probably looking at $2k-3k for all three of them from a typical exhaust shop. Obviously the OEM fits the best, is the quietest, and will be the most aerodynamic, but it's not a financially reasonable route for most people.
 
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