2001 Altima "Service Engine Soon" Light

Help! My mint condition, 2001 Nissan Altima, with 143,000 miles, has a Service Engine Soon that came back on after taking it to my mechanics for a look. They say it may need a new Catalytic Converter if the light comes on again - well the light came back on :(. Should I pay the $800 to fix or start thinking about a new car? This car has never had any problems and I want to keep driving it. What should I do?

$800 in repairs on this car is not the end of the world. Repair dollars don’t stretch as far as they used to. Many people spend this much, or more, every year to keep their vehicles on the road.

If you like the car, have it repaired and continue driving it. You certainly can’t get a new car for $800, and your Nissan, once repaired, will continue to serve your transportation needs for many years/miles to come.

By the way, get a second opinion before you agree to pay for a catalytic converter. Perhaps a less expensive option exists.

First I suggest getting the error codes read. Many auto part stores will do it for free while you wait right in the parking lot. Check with Auto Zone or Advanced Auto Parts. Post the exact code (like P0123) and the English translation.

Second that cost seems high. Is that the dealer’s estimate? Try an independent mechanic if it turns out that it needs the work.