Breakdown of MagnaFlow Catalytic Converters

A MagnaFlow catalytic converter helps your vehicle engine to breathe and perform better.

MagnaFlow offers a wide range of catalytic converter options for vehicles.

This guide gives you a breakdown of MagnaFlow catalytic converters and more.

If you have any inquiries, feel free to text our team at 281-761-6097. 


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The MagnaFlow Catalytic Converters Difference

When you want to buy a catalytic converter, always think of MagnaFlow. MagnaFlow has been in the automotive industry since 1981. 

MagnaFlow is a trusted industry leader in manufacturing vehicle performance parts. These include catalytic converters, exhaust manifolds, exhaust systems, and exhaust accessories

All MagnaFlow catalytic converters are compliant with US EPA emissions regulations. Your vehicle will pass the state emissions test when you install a MagnaFlow cat today. Note: some state-specific regulations may limit your options.

MagnaFlow has industry-leading warranties for all its catalytic converters.

But what is the MagnaFlow difference when it comes to catalytic converters?

Stainless Steel Construction Quality

All MagnaFlow catalytic converters are made using 100% premium stainless steel.

Stainless steel is both in the body and in the inlets and outlets. This makes the whole cat very strong and durable. 

Stainless steel is corrosion, rust, and oxidation-free. 

Here is why: 

Stainless steel contains a minimum chromium content of about 10.5%. Chromium is a steely-grey and brittle metal. Chromium reacts with oxygen and forms a protective layer to corrosion and rust.

As such, the chromium makes stainless steel anti-corrosive and anti-rust.  

With a MagnaFlow catalytic converter, you are assured that your cat will not corrode or rust. This makes it long-lasting and adds performance. 

Improved Lap Joint Design

The lap joints connect the body to the inlets and outlets. In MagnaFlow cats, there is a ½ inch lap-joint. This makes sure the neck does not extend into the body to disrupt exhaust flow.

The improved lap joint design allows a flawless flowing of exhaust and gives cleaner emissions. 

You will not experience any leaks with a MagnaFlow cat because of the effort that is put in during manufacturing. 

Designed for Power and Sound

You will have superior sound and driving experience with a MagnaFlow catalytic converter. 

All MagnaFlow Catalytic converters meet the vehicle computer control monitoring requirements. That is why they keep the engine light off. This guarantees reliable long-term performance.

Industry-Leading Warranty

MagnaFlow has incredible warranties on all its catalytic converters. So, you can drive with confidence knowing your cat is covered. 

The MagnaFlow warranties are as follows:

  • 5-year construction/25,000-mile emission warranty for vehicles registered outside California
  • 5-year construction/50,000 mile emission warranty for vehicles registered inside California. 

The specific warranty information can be found after you select your vehicle using our search bar and check the available cats. 

Made in the USA

MagnaFlow is an American automotive company. It uses locally produced materials, technology, and labor to make its products. Needless to say, MagnaFlow cats are truly American. 

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By Type

MagnaFlow catalytic converters come in two configurations: direct-fit and universal. A third type, Manifold, is an integration of the direct-fit design and the exhaust manifold.

The table below shows the strengths and main features of the three types of MagnaFlow cats.



Main Features

Vehicle specific

No cutting and welding

  • Fits exactly
  • Bolt-on design
  • Ceramic monolithic catalyst design
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Easy to install without professional help

Compatible with most vehicles

Professional installation

  • Universal fitment
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Closely welded seams
  • Ribbed body
  • Extra cutting and welding is required

Direct-fit and exhaust manifold

Professional installation

  • Specialized design
  • Bolt-on fitment
  • Vehicle specific
  • Mandrel bent tubing
  • Stainless steel construction
  • Cutting and welding required

MagnaFlow Direct-Fit Catalytic Converters

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MagnaFlow Direct-fit catalytic converters are designed to fit perfectly on the vehicle.  

But what makes them different?

They are made of strong and tough stainless steel that makes them resilient and durable. 

The inlet and outlet pipes of MagnaFlow direct-fit catalytic converters are made to fit or bolt into the exact vehicle year, make, and model. 

They are easy to install using basic tools. This is because they have a bolt-on design thus needing little to no exhaust fabrication. 

They feature a ceramic monolithic honeycomb catalyst design. A monolith basically means all in one place. 

The monolithic honeycomb design increases the exhaust flow surface area. This in turn increases the conversion regardless of high exhaust volumes. 

They also have a ribbed heat shield. This gives it a tough and rigid wall to withstand the hottest exhaust fumes. 

MagnaFlow offers a 5-year 50,000-mile limited warranty on the direct-fit catalytic Converter.


  • Bolt-on design to fit exactly to the vehicle
  • Zero exhaust fabrication
  • Easy to install


  • A little pricier than the universal catalytic converters because they are vehicle-specific. 

MagnaFlow Universal Catalytic Converters

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Universal catalytic converters are made to fit in almost any vehicle. That is why they are called “Universal”. 

What you need are equal diameters of the inlet and outlet tubes of the converter and the exhaust system.

Like all MagnaFlow cats, they are made of 100% stainless steel that makes them strong and durable. They are also corrosion and rust-resistant. 

MagnaFlow Universal cats have a closely welded seam making a strong catalyst-wall bond. This makes the catalyst stay intact to prevent any leaks. 

Some universal cats have the O2 sensor on the inlet side of the converter. The O2 sensors track the amount of unburned oxygen. This helps the cat to clean the exhaust and perform better.  

Extra exhaust fabrication is required to install a MagnaFlow universal catalytic converter. For this reason, professional installation is recommended. 

A MagnaFlow universal cat is a good option if you are on a tight budget compared to a MagnaFlow direct-fit catalytic converter, or you are working on a custom installation or project vehicle. 


  • Universal fitment
  • More affordable than direct-fit and exhaust manifolds


  • Installation requires exhaust fabrication which needs professional help. But it is a worthwhile expense once it is installed. 

MagnaFlow Manifold Catalytic Converters

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Manifold catalytic converters have a specialized design that combines direct-fit and exhaust manifold.   

The exhaust manifold is the first part of a vehicle’s exhaust system which collects exhaust gases from all cylinders into one pipe. Now, a MagnaFlow manifold cat is bolted directly to your vehicle’s exhaust manifold.

MagnaFlow exhaust manifold catalytic converters have mandrel-bent tubing. A mandrel is a steel rod that is inserted into a tube as it is being bent. This gives the tube extra support and reduces stress during bending.

The mandrel-bent tubing allows the cat to have an unrestricted flow of exhaust. It also allows the optimal engine and exhaust system to work.

While a MagnaFlow exhaust manifold catalytic converter is designed for an easy bolt-on installation for a professional installer, the entire exhaust manifold of your vehicle must be removed and replaced. For this reason, installation needs the help of a professional.

Their specialized design makes them pricier than the universal and direct-fit catalytic converters.


  • Integrates a catalytic converter and the exhaust manifold
  • Bolt-on installation
  • High-quality design and performance


  • Pricier than direct-fit and universal cats

By EPA Compliance

EPA stands for “Environmental Protection Agency”. MagnaFlow offers both CARB and Federal compliant catalytic converters.

What’s the difference? The specific local emissions requirements. 

CARB Compliant Catalytic Converters 

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CARB stands for the “California Air Resources Board”. CARB is tasked with setting air pollution rules and regulations in California. 

The CARB Compliant law requires all aftermarket catalytic converters sold in California to meet the low emission vehicle (LEV) standards. 

So, CARB-compliant cats are CARB-certified for use in the state of California. 

Some Examples of CARB Compliant catalytic converters by MagnaFlow include:

Federal EPA Compliant Catalytic Converters

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Is your vehicle registered and operating outside California? A MagnaFlow Federal EPA compliant cat is a good option for your vehicle. 

Federal Compliant catalytic converters must meet the federal emissions standards. Federal emissions standards are in-line with the EPA regulations.

Federal standards apply to vehicles registered and operated outside of California.

Some available options for Federal/EPA compliant catalytic converters include:

From Alan, Founder of PartCatalog:

You can find the emission certification level (EPA or California) of your vehicle on the VECI tag. Locate the VECI tag near the underside of your vehicle’s hood. And, know whether your vehicle is bound by California or EPA emissions regulations.   

By Grade

MagnaFlow makes four grades of catalytic converters. Each of them is certified by either CARB, Federal EPA, or both. 

The four grades of MagnaFlow catalytic converters are:

  • California Grade Catalytic Converters 
  • OEM Grade Catalytic Converters 
  • HM Grade Catalytic Converters 
  • Standard Grade Catalytic Converters

The table below shows the strength of the four grades of MagnaFlow cats. It shows the levels of certification for each. It shows that OEM and California grades are CARB-certified.



Main Features

CARB Compliant

OBDII vehicles

  • Only used in California
  • Available in direct-fit, universal, and exhaust manifold designs

Federal EPA & CARB

OBD II vehicles

  • Available in universal, and exhaust manifold designs
  • Good for California vehicles
  • Stainless steel construction

Federal EPA certified

OBD II vehicles

  • Available in direct fit, universal, and exhaust manifold designs
  • Good for non-California vehicles
  • Stainless steel construction

Federal EPA & CARB certified

Pre-OBD II vehicles

  • Only available in universal models
  • Good for pre-OBDII California & 49-state vehicles
  • Stainless steel construction

California Grade Catalytic Converters 

California grade catalytic converters follow the CARB emissions regulations. 

From the name, they are used by vehicles registered and operated in the state of California. Other selected states like Colorado and New York follow CARB regulations. 

California grade catalytic converters are suitable for OBD II vehicles.

MagnaFlow California grade cats are available in direct-fit, universal, or exhaust manifold. 

OEM Grade Catalytic Converters 

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MagnaFlow OEM grade catalytic converters are both EPA and CARB certified. 

Original equipment manufacturer (OEM) grade catalytic converters are compliant for OBDII vehicles. These are cars and light trucks manufactured and sold in the US after January 1, 1996. 

Not sure if your vehicle is OBD II compliant?  You can check on the nameplate under the hood for an “OBD II Compliant” note to be sure.

When you install an OEM- grade cat, the horsepower and performance of your vehicle are improved. 

Examples of OEM grade catalytic converters include:

HM Grade Catalytic Converters 

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Heavy Metal (HM) grade catalytic converters are Federal EPA certified. 

These cats are suitable for you if your vehicle is not registered in California. 

Like OEM grade, the HM grade cats are compliant with OBD II vehicles. 

MagnaFlow makes HM grade cats available for all their three types of catalytic converters as follows:

Standard Grade Catalytic Converters

Do you own a vehicle manufactured before 1996? A MagnaFlow standard grade catalytic converter is our recommended choice for you. 

Standard grade catalytic converters are compliant with pre-OBD II vehicles. Pre-OBD II vehicles were manufactured in 1995 or earlier.  

Standard grade catalytic converters are compliant with Federal EPA and CARB emissions regulations. 

MagnaFlow offers the Universal Standard grade federal catalytic converter for pre-OBD II vehicles. 

Select your vehicle year, make, and model to purchase a standard grade cat for a California registered vehicle.

To purchase a standard grade cat for a vehicle registered outside California: check the emissions tag, converter type, engine type, and the gross weight vehicle. 

Did you know?

Standard, OEM, and HM grades are Federal/EPA certified for use in vehicles registered and operated outside California. OEM grade is CARB certified. 

Quick Steps to Buy a MagnaFlow Catalytic Converter

  1. Identify whether you need a MagnaFlow direct-fit, universal, or exhaust manifold catalytic converter
  2. Check the state of registration and operation. Is it a California-based or a 49-state vehicle?
  3. Select the right grade of Catalytic converter based on your vehicle’s state of registration and operation.
  4. Buy your MagnaFlow cat here by filling in the correct details of your vehicle. 

MagnaFlow OEM Grade Catalytic Converter Customer Review.

Go with the flow 

I had my mechanic install this converter. No installation problems and the service engine light is out for good. great results! Ken R.

Review by Kenneth R. 6/5/21- Verified Customer

More Reading

A MagnaFlow cat is useful in preventing improper fuel mix and allowing adequate processing for the exhaust. Read these benefits and more here.

If you also need a MagnaFlow muffler for your truck, read our piece on how MagnaFlow enhances your truck’s sound here

Need help? We are a text away. Reach us at 281-761-6097.

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