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Catalytic converter

I have a 2002 VW Passat V-6. I am getting close to 100,000 miles. My mechanic said I will need to replace it shortly.It’s basically preventive care. The approximate cost will be just over a $1000.00 dollars. I’m wondering if I really do need to get this work done. I would appreciate some other knowledgable people’s opinions.


The ODB-II system on this car will let you know when there is a problem with the cat. This system uses a second oxygen sensor on the outlet of the cat to constantly check the efficiency. If the cat goes bad, the ‘Check Engine’ light will glow, and it will post the proper trouble code. For most cars, the cat will last the life of the car, as long as proper maintenance is done.

The one for my 1990 Toyota P/U was still good after 325K miles and 15 years! I had to replace the exhaust seals, and pulled the cat when I did. Looking through it, the grids were in good shape, and I could see daylight. Emissions testing also showed the cat was working just fine.

My 2000 Ford Explorer has 165K miles, and has never had a problem with the cats. I just drove it on vacation, and was getting 23 MPG with the cruise control set on 60 mph.

If the tech. told you to replace the convertor because it’s preventative maintenance he trying to steal from you! You need to find a different shop if this is true. Cat. convertors normally, but not always, last the life of the car. They can go bad because of faulty engine performance and sometimes they go bad simply because stuff happens/nothing is perfect.

Warning Warning Warning Will Rogers!! Rip off time. Fine a new mechanic. This was not at a quick lube place was it?

The original converter may well last the life of the car or go out in a month.

My car is 21 yrs old and still has the original cats.
My work van has over 400K miles and still has the original cats.

Everybody’s right- replacing cats is NOT a preventative maintenance thing. Replacing the TIMING BELT is important though. If you haven’t done that yet, then you may want to think about getting it done.
…Though I’d find a different, honest mechanic first.

I agree with all of the previous posts, and I would say that your mechanic’s advice should be considered to be a red flag warning you to find a new mechanic. Replacing a catalytic converter as preventive maintenance would be like having your appendix surgically removed just in case you might develop appendicitis some day.

I would suggest that you use the Mechan-X files on the home page of this site for recommended mechanics in your area. Also, ask friends, neighbors, relatives, and co-workers for recommended mechanics.

Your current wrench-turner should be wearing a mask, just like other kinds of thieves.

My '88 Accord has 217k miles and the original cat. It still passes emissions by a wide margin. If you keep your engine running clean the cat will have nine lives.

Agree that converter replacement has to be proven by testing if it is still performing. This has nothing to do with mileage. EPA requires these units to good for 100,000 miles; that’s maybe where your “mechanic” got the idea!

I have owned converter equipped cars since 1976 and have never replaced one; some kept performing well to very high mileage, and I never failed an emission test because of a converter failing.

Actually, many people do have their appendix removed to prevent any chance of appendicitis, especially if they’re about to go travel somewhere.

I think a better analogy would be replacing your liver in case it might get cirrosis some day.

There will be a very small increase in air pollution and noise when your catalytic converter fails, but it will not cause any other problems. Please let us know whether you find a new mechanic or just tell this one that you will wait until the converter fails.

Don’t replace it until a check engine light illuminates.

You likely won’t get 200k-300k like other posters state since their cars(pre OBD-II) have more primitive emmission systems that are not as sensitive to error conditions and running outside design parameters.


where did you get this advice from?

this is curious and curiouser.

if you got this advice from a dealership service writer, then run (don’t walk, RUN) to find another mechanic.

unless you got specific reasons for replacing it, (and share them here) be suspicious of the ‘mechanics’ advice.

There will be a very small increase in air pollution and noise when your catalytic converter fails

Gee…I consider a 100-200% increase in pollution to be pretty significant.

Actually, many people do have their appendix removed to prevent any chance of appendicitis, especially if they’re about to go travel somewhere.

Then I would have to say that many people have their converters replaced as preventive measures. I can remember when they removed kids tonsils as a preventive measure. Lucky for me, I was the youngest in my family and the only one that did not suffer than one. I am 60 now and they have not caused me any problems. People can be stupid.

they said it was a v6, so it probably has a chain instead of a belt.

Tell us you have been “listening”! Yes, you do need to change something, as preventative maintenance. Change that mechanic, and those of his ilk. Enjoy your vacation (savings) on us. Bonney Voyage!

clever… but I remember it as Wil Robinson, Lost In Space. Will Rogers I believe was a poet and an orator.