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Catalytic converter problems

the converteron my 96 fordcrown vic failed can i run the car with out damaging the car

How do you know it failed? As long as it’s not plugged up, the car will run fine without it. If you are subject to emissions testing, that’s another story…

the repair shop said the converter was not working . the check engine light came on

If someone else says different, I’m probably wrong, but I think on an OBDII vehicle (1996 or later) that cruising around with a permanent Check Engine light and a dead catalytic converter will result in the computer running “open loop” with no information on how to tweak the fuel mixture. So it won’t try. Aside from the pollution thing, your gas mileage may not be great.

The good news is that a lot of shops apparently can’t diagnose emissions system problems very well. You might try another shop or two and see what they say. In principle, it could be something cheaper like an Oxygen sensor.