Catalytic Converter

Should a catalytic converter last the “life of a vehicle”? I have a 2002 Camry w/ 150,000 miles. Dx test says the converter needs to be replaced. Isn’t this caused by another underlying condition?

more info.

what diagnosis? how was it made? any engine malfunction lights, codes, why did you have it tested?

It should theoretically, but even an engine that’s only slightly out of tune can damage them over the long term, so in practice by the time cars get up there in miles they usually do end up needing to be replaced. However, you’re right that there’s probably another underlying condition-- post more info!

I hope you are aware that there is a federally mandated 8-year warranty on your cat. You may be entitled to a free replacement. Your dealer knows this but he won’t bring it up. You have to remind him.

The federal warranty is 8 years/80000 miles. The OP has exceeded the mileage limit.

Sometimes and sometimes not. It could last a lot longer.

Typically another problem causes the failure and overworks this component.

Of course everything has a design life and yours may have just been on the shorter end.

If you car is maintainedd regularly, and the spark plugs and injectors function as intended, it is not unusual for the converter to last the life of the vehicle. We had a 1984 Chevy Impala in the family from 1984 to 2004 and it had 300,000 miles on it when we sold it. The exhaust system (muffler, exhaust pipe, tailpipe) had been replaced 3 times, but it still had the original converter. It may still have it.

Thanks all who posted. Dx made in response to check engine light. No noticeable difference in the way it’s been running. Car is routinely maintained as I intend to double the current mileage.

I’ll inquire about the warranty and let everyone know how it turns out.

When the engine computer turns on the Check Engine Light, it sets a DTC (Diagnostic Trouble Code) to indicate that a circuit, which includes a sensor or other component, has a problem. It doesn’t single out a particular sensor, or component, as being defective.
The DTC on your car, does not say that the catalytic converter is bad, and need to be replaced. Only further diagnosis can determine that.
How well the engine seems to run, has nothing to do with the health of the catalytic converter.

Those old catalytic convertors were huuuuuge and, since they were designed to be run with carbureted vehicles, they were a lot more forgiving than the new ones. My '76 Chevy pickup still has the original catalytic convertor and, at least based on my smell-test, seems to still be working. It’s also so big that even though there’s no muffler anymore, it’s still pretty darn quiet.