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Check engine light, 1999 Honda CRV

My husband just got an estimate from Midas for more than $1,000 to fix an emissions problem (or problems). They say we need a new catalytic converter (my husband replaced one 2-3 years ago), exhaust pipe, etc., plus maybe a new oxygen sensor. This is more than the car is worth - and yet we can’t afford to replace it and need to be able to pass an emissions test in two weeks. Anyone have a clue how to fix the problem for less? There may also be an EVAP leak…

Take it out of Midas and to a locally owned, independent shop. Ask around among people that you know for a trustworthy & reliable place.

Find out what the exact codes are that Midas pulled out of the computer. They look like “P1234” - post the exact codes along with whatever details you have about the last catalytic converter replacement.

If you are actually having multiple, successive catalytic converter failures then it is time to have someone find out why.

A '99 CRV is worth more than $1000.

Thanks! I’m working on getting the codes now.

Apparently there’s no question we need a new converter - it’s broken off and so is the pipe behind it. Code is P0420. It was replaced by a backyard mechanic and my husband has kept no records of that repair. But the EVAP leak (code 1456) may just be because my husband keeps losing the gas cap. The Midas mechanic says he can try clearing the EVAP code. Does that make sense?

Yes, it makes sense to start by clearing the codes. Obviously though - you make sure the gas cap is on & tight.

Your cat problem sounds like the kind you get when you use the backyard mechanic type - especially for something like exhaust work. However, are you sure that the cat itself is broken - or just the pipes before & after? Perhaps the converter you bought a couple of years back can still be used.

I was wondering that, too. I’m not too keen on backyard mechanics myself, although we’re pretty broke. The Midas mechanic (somebody I’ve dealt with for years and trust, btw) said the cat was broken off in the front and the pipe behind was also broken. You might be right that the converter itself is fine, although if it’s broken off in front, can it be re-attached?

If the cat is broken off in front, you should be hearing a VERY loud exhaust sound. If they mean that it is broken off inside, then it cannot be saved, but I’d be curious how the figured that out without taking it apart, not something normally done for an estimate.

a P0420 can be the result of any leak in the exhaust system before the cat. In fact, that is the first thing to be checked.

The evap code can be cleared. Does your husband also keep filling the gas tank after the pump first click off, you keeps working the pump handle to get every last drop in? If so, he needs to stop that. It can cause the canister to become saturated with gas.

it could be that someone was trying to steal your converter, but someone caught them in the act

The car does NOT have a very loud exhaust sound. But the mechanic said nothing about the inside - just that it was broken off in front. Yes, someone might have been trying to steal it. So would it be worth asking the mechanic to see if he can re-attach it and replace the broken pipe first? To see if that clears the P0420 code?

Thanks to everyone for all this advice! This is enormously helpful…