I am thankful for Car Talk and this is my first log in so you know my car is about to die.
I have a theoretical question so as not to break any laws. Also my car does not need an emissions check for another year.
I have a 1996 Toytota Celica GT coupe automatic, 2.2 liter engine with nearly 300k miles if the odometer even works right I don’t know. I do not want to ‘spend money’ because it could die for any number of reasons. When I push the gas the car does not move like it should. This has been noticeable for about 2 months. It is worse at stop-go intersections than steady highway. I have to push the pedal very slowly to get power.
I have changed spark plugs,oil. I checked transmission fluid 2 hours after turning off the engine with the hood up. According to the “cool” markings it has enough. The air filter looks normal. No fuse problems.
The shop says it will cost $250 to check the computer. From there it would cost $500 + for a new catalytic converter. I need tires which will cost $400 and the seat belt isn’t what it used to be. I also have a front light lens made out of clear mailing tape. No passenger seat because I had to swap it out when the driver seat collapsed in on itself. The convertible roof is locked shut. The car was free to me over 5 years ago, a beauty of a death trap. I only drive to/from work 15 min each way. In any case, when it does die I’m taking the bus for a year. If I had $2k to fix what is broken I could put it towards a newer car. Of course selling cars is a dishonest business practice and I don’t have money to haggle. When it does die, I promise to donate it NPR Car Talk for a $500 tax credit.
Ok, so my question is: Is there a simple DIY around the catalytic converter? Can I just remove the exhaust or clean it somehow with magic additive? How can I keep this car going? I’m hoping to put some used tires on it for the snow but now that it won’t accelerate I’m afraid of the worst.
Who among you wants to give some advice on this beauty of a problem?
Any advice would be appreciated.