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Catalytic converter repair

THE “COMPUTER” COST TO TELL ME THAT THERE WAS A PROBLEM (P0430-ON BANK 2 CONVERTER) WAS $550. IS THIS CORRECT? I COULDN’T BELIEVE IT! For $550. I thought they replaced the converter! Then bill read replace front (b) $100. 2 oxygen sensors for front, upper & lower $239. each & rear oxygen sensor $169. Bill then read replace both (b) for $125. I was so upset over this cost, (& the b’s) I just stared at the bill, too confused and intimidated to ask any questions. In all honesty I was on my way to a hospice to visit a dear friend, a young woman & was a little emotional. I’m usually more about asking questions. After looking on line at various prices I am sure the sensors are too high…even Bosch were $215. (sale). I will talk to service guy and ask him questions but hoped to get some here just to perhaps either confirm or not, my suspicions. (Or unanswered questions). Thanks for any clarity.

These are simply dealership prices. You cannot compare the prices with those you find online, because dealers will us only OEM parts purchased and processed through their authorized manufacturer’s distribution system. Often these will cost two to 2-1/2 times comparable (and often exactly the same) aftermarket parts.

Changing an oxygen sensor first for such a code would be normal for a shadetree mechanic, but the dealer should be able to read the signal trace from the oxygen sensor and tell if it appears normal or bad. And if I understand correctly (?) they changed the upstream sensors and the bank 1 sensors as well… why I don’t know.

Did you authorize the work? If so, the only thing you can do is swallow hard and consider this the price of an education: never take a 10 year old car to a dealer unless absolutely necessary.

Consider yourself lucky, If they’d changed the cat converter the price probably would have been $3,000. Now find an independently owned and operated shop and ask that they use aftermarket parts not from the dealer. If you don’t plan to keep the car forever, ask him about “aluminized steel” instead of stainless steel. It’ll keep the cost down for you. If he recommends the SS instead, he’s being honest. Stainless will last a lot longer. But the aluminized steel unit should get you a good 5 years anyway, and the car’s already 10 years old. Besides, cat converters usually fail because of prolonged low level oil burning (perfectly normal) coating the catalyst rather than because of rot.

I am completely confused by your post. I have no idea what your total bill was and have no idea what the (b)s were. Did the bill really say $550 for the computer diagnosis?

My mechanic does not charge a fee for reading the codes if you have work done. I asked him why once and he said " I have a lot more money tied up in wrenches,lifts and torches and I don’t charge a fee for them either.

Oh no. If the converter was replaced it might have cost more than that alone. It’s kind of early to complain. If the code comes back in four days or four weeks it will be OK to think badly about the shop work.

They changed all the O2 sensors because of customers who want all the problems solved all the time. For example: If you were to have a similar problem with the other converter in seven months the mechanics know that you might blame them for it. If they get your money right now, at least they won’t lose THAT money later.

They, like many other shops, are tired of the scenario that causes misunderstandings between them and their customers. They are covering themselves with your money now because they don’t want to go around naked in the future. They don’t want another shop to be dressing up in the pile of Jacksons that they could be strutting around with right now. They refused to lose the $275 to those other guys.

If your emission problem is solved you can be happy that your money is having a positive impact instead of just being blown around everywhere. There’s more than just the mechanical side to this question.

The CEL system only gives you a hint to what is actually wrong. Price a few catalytic converters and you will see what you could have paid. It takes an experienced mechanic to actually fix what is wrong when the CEL comes on. Most will just throw parts at the problem hoping it will go away and leave you stuck with the bill. If your vehicle was actually repaired…you got off rather cheaply.

Sounds like the code of ONE bad O2 sensor prompted the shop to replace all FOUR figuring if one went, the others are not far behind. I don’t agree with this but the shop didn’t want the check engine light to return causing you to bring the car back in. The work is a little pricey but not completely out of line for what they did. Did it fix the problem? If so, accept it and move on.

I concur w/Mustangman above, if this fixed the problem, then it is worth it to have the problem solved. If it doesn’t fix the original problem, then the OP may have a right to complain a bit. Not about the price so much, but about the diagnostic method. Even so, you don’t get much for $550 in auto shops these days, especially when it involves replacing pricy sensors.