2001 Audi A4 with 165k miles driving from Chicago, IL to SF, CA

I have an 2001 Audi A4 with 165k miles on it. I want to drive it back to California and find a final resting place for it there, but I have a to replace both Catalytic Convertors. According to my local mechanics, the car is fine for now.

Is it safe enough for me to drive such a high mileage car across the country?

Thank you for your advices.

Do u plan on ever replacing cats? Can u put non-Cali cats (cheap) on now, since it is titled in Illinois? And than show the cali authorities ur receipt for work down prior to moving to Cali? Or is the cat issue a non deal breaker?

The drive will probably do it some good, might even burn off the residue off the cats so they start working again. Do you have a check engine light? If so, what is/are the code(s), give us teh number, not an interpretation, i.e. P0420 etc.

With a little bit of luck you can make it. Would I drive a12 year old Audi with tech problems that far? No on your life! I would drive an 12 year old Honda Civic or Corolla since repairs can be affected quickly and relatively cheaply with those cars.

If you do this make sure you can finish your journey by bus, plane or train.

Many years ago a classmate of my wife wanted to drive her Sunbeam sports car across the continent, returning through Canada. She left it somewhere in Northern Ontario and sold it for parts.

If you’re getting rid of it anyway, why not do it now, get yourself out to SF, and buy a replacement car there? No repairs, no worry driving a problem car.

Yes, repairing the Cats is the deal breaker for me. The car is not worth the repair bill. I suppose a better question is: Will the catalytic converter affect any the drivability and safety of the car?


I’m confused. If you have a CEL, than why would they tell you the car is fine for now? If not, why do you think you need new converters?

Is the car a Ca car originally ?
If not don’t even bother taking it into the state . I’m not sure you could ever sell or register it there .

And how does your mechanic know the cats are bad? Sometimes its only the oxygen sensors that are bad.

There is a code, usually p0420 for poor cat efficiency. Which means failed cat. A motor with other issues like too rich fuel mixture can dump excess fuel into mix and cause cat to fail. I had old car with balky choke and ruined cat. My mileage dropped by 30% after that. Was at end of cars life so it was driven very little. Some cars have failed cats and actually run ok. U may see no drop in performance and economy so ur drive out to Cali may be fine.

@Cavell, code P0420 can often be produced by a bad oxygen sensor. So P0420 does not necessarily mean a failed cat. Unfortunately it seems many mechanics automatically assume that’s the case and replace the cat without first checking the sensors.

Code P0420 and P0430. I did replace both O2 sensors.

typically the codes for bad 02 sensors are in the 1XX range. the 4XX codes are usually more expensive. and, many folks replace sensors with budget brands. you can get away with that on gm cars but most foreign cars like oem sensors. usually.