Our 2001 Honda Civic Sedan runs like a dream but last year 08/23/07, the dealership accidentally filled it with oil twice, causing it to billow smoke and breakdown on the freeway. The “check-engine” light has been going on and off since this time and the same dealer is now telling us it’s because our catalytic converter needs to be replaced at $1,200. We have a feeling had they not filled our vehicle with oil twice…we would not have to make this costly repair. I was even told this is a standard repair for the year of my vehicle. Any suggestions?
Catalytic converters don’t wear out because of age. It depends on how many miles you have driven the car. However, I have to agree that the mess they made could easily have contributed to the failure of the converter. You should go up the ladder of the dealership, through the service manager to the general manager and the owner. In my view a compromise would be for you to pay dealer cost for the new converter and they put it in for free. Yours was well used and you would have a new one. If they refuse then take it to an independent shop and tell them the story. If they confirm your suspicions, sue the dealer in Small Claims court for the independent guy’s estimate to replace the converter, along with his statement that the overfill caused the failure. You can add in the cost of his appraisal, if he charges you.
And stop going to a dealer for an oil change.
Their error is the cause of teh cat converter failure. It coated the platinum palladium coating (the catalyst) with residue of oil. The catalyst does not wear out, but it cannot do its job if coated. It needs to come in contact with the NOx molecules to weaken their bonds and get them to seperate into nitrogen and oxygen.
If you are under 80k miles and 8 years from purchase Honda will cover the cost of replacement.