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Cat Deletes: Removing Catalytic Converters on the C8 Corvette Explained

Catalytic converter deletes, often called “cat deletes,” refer to completely removing the catalytic converters from a vehicle’s exhaust system. This practice is growing in popularity among sports car enthusiasts seeking maximum horsepower gains. But is eliminating your catalytic converters worth it for the mid-engine C8 Chevy Corvette? This article will dive into everything you need to know about cat deletes on the new Corvette platform.

What Do Catalytic Converters Do?

Catalytic converters serve a crucial emissions control function. As exhaust gases exit the engine, the catalytic converter uses chemical reactions to convert pollutants like hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides into less harmful carbon dioxide, nitrogen and water vapor.

Here is a picture of what the stock catalytic converters on your C8 Corvette (Stingray and ERay) looks like:


Every gasoline-powered car sold in the USA since 1975 has utilized catalytic converters. They are essential to meet emissions regulations. The C8 Corvette uses a pretty restrictive set of catalytic converters straight out of the factory. They need to ensure the C8 emissions is sufficient to pass in all 50.

Why Remove Catalytic Converters via a Cat Delete?

Despite their environmental benefits, catalytic converters can hamper engine performance by restricting exhaust flow. Completely eliminating cats via a “cat delete” allows the engine to breathe and rev freely.

Benefits of Cat Deletes Include:

Increased Horsepower & Torque Significantly reducing exhaust backpressure allows the engine to make more power since spent gases can exit swiftly. Cat delete pipes maximize airflow.

Enhanced Throttle Response

Less restrictive exhaust means the engine reacts quicker to throttle inputs. Rev-happy power delivery improves with cat deletes.

Aggressive Sound

Removing mufflers is common alongside cat deletes to produce a race-inspired exhaust tone. The C8 sounds incredible with open exhaust piping.

Should I Delete the Cats on My C8 Vette?

While tempting for the power gains, cat deletes come with consequences. Before eliminating your Corvette’s cats, weigh the following considerations carefully:

Downsides of Deleting Cats:

Check Engine Lights You’ll trigger error codes since oxygen sensors expect catalytic converters to be present. Performance tunes can mitigate but not eliminate this issue.

Increased Emissions

Removing cats significantly increases air polluting nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions. Cat deletes are illegal in many regions due to this environmental impact.

Exhaust Smell

With no catalytic converters to filter smells, an unpleasant rotten-egg exhaust stench occurs from hydrogen sulfide gases. Cabin smells are unavoidable with open exhaust piping.

Risk of Fines and Legal Issues

If local law enforcement notice the illegally loud or emissions-spewing machine, hefty fines and forced emissions compliance fixes may follow. Know your state’s inspection laws.

Check Engine Light Issues

The cats house a small fitting for O2 sensors that can trigger a check engine light, or CEL, if the cat delete is done improperly. You need to have a way to mimic the stock O2 sensor after you remove your cats, otherwise the CEL will stay on indefinitely. Most installers already know this.

High Performance Catalytic Converters For the C8 Corvette

Rather than fully removing catalytic converters, installing high performance aftermarket cats may be a wise compromise for C8 owners seeking added horsepower. Brands like Corsa, Kooks, and Soul offer direct OEM-replacement high flow catalytic converters for the C8 Corvette that boast boosted airflow for power gains while still controlling emissions for EPA compliance. You can buy a lot of these items directly from us by checking out the C8 parts page.

Adding headers, exhaust upgrades and a tune paired with these cats can unlock serious performance while avoiding the headaches of straight pipe exhaust smells, cabin stench, legal fines and emissions failures associated with catalytic converter deletes. Since high performance converters still filter pollutants, this allows owners to enjoy enhanced sound and horsepower legally and reliably. Combining lightweight high flow catalytic upgrades with supporting mods is the best of both worlds – adding horsepower and torque in a street-legal package.

Before taking an abrasive “all-or-nothing” approach with cat deletes, consult an experienced Corvette performance shop on the latest high flow catalytic options available. Significant power can be achieved while strategically working within the vehicle’s emissions system.

Should I Delete My C8’s Catalytic Converters?

While cat deletes deliver unmatched horsepower gains, removing the Corvette’s cats comes with legal risks, negative environmental impact, cabin smells and check engine lights to consider carefully before modifying your vehicle.

Installing high-flow converter upgrades with tuned exhaust systems provides a compromise balancing emissions compliance, sound levels and power gains. Consult a professional Corvette tuning shop before committing to cat deletes on your C8. An expert can advise the best high-performance yet street-legal options available in your state.

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