99 Ford Taurus early failure

I’ve just learned my 45K mi. 99 Tuarus wagon needs a new catalytic converter. Seems way too early for this. Any advice?

It certainly is early. Normally they last the life of the car. I would make really sure it is the converter that needs replacing. Did a qualified mechanic perform an engine analyis and determined that the exhaust was not being cleaned up by the econverter? Or, was the converter damaged somehow?

Please provide more details if you can. Then some of us will be likely be able to give you better advice.

Engine problems, especially misfires, can cause an early death for the converters.

That does seem to be a very early demise for your catalytic converter. However, if your car has begun burning oil (again, this would be very early unless the oil was changed very infrequently or if the engine was allowed to run on with a very low oil level), the excess oil in the exhaust stream could knock out the converter prematurely.

That being said, all I can advise is:

  1. Check the terms of the Federal Emissions Warranty in your Owner’s Manual. While I doubt that the converter is still covered under that warranty, it is worth checking.
  2. Whether it is warranteed or not, replace the converter, as you will not be able to pass the emissions portion of your motor vehicle inspection with a bad catalytic converter.
  3. If you are not covered by warranty, avoid the dealership, go to an independent mechanic, and ask if a “generic” converter, rather than the OEM converter can be used. This would save you a lot of money.

Make sure you find and fix the reason it is bad before putting a new one in.

Absolutely correct, or you’ll be replacing it again in another 45K miles, or sooner. If this is the 3.8L engine, have it checked for a failed headgasket.

Have you been driving the car for a extended amount of time with the check engine light on? If so it was trying to tell you something.

I was told this by a very reputable garage, not the dealership. Check engine light has not been on and, the car is not burning oil. I’ve owned this car from the start and oil changes and routine maintenance are performed regularly. I am taking it to the dealership to see what they may diagnose in order to open dialog about possible coverage. I’ve been told it’s 8 yrs. or 80K mi. A couple of other things have also gone seemingly early: rear brakes at 35K and front end at 40K. Perhaps this one was built on a Monday or Friday…
Thanks, all, for the info. If there’s more to be shared I’d appreciate it.

What was your result, if you don’t mind me asking? I’ve got a '99 Taurus that I’m told needs cat, but doesn’t appear to have any major issues & was told runs fine, but have to clear engine light/emmissions.

The 3.8L was discontinued after the 1995 model year…