My engine light popped on in October and the dealership states the diagnotic check revealed I need a new catalytic converter. They priced me around $1200 out the door. However the engine light will stay on for about 2 weeks and go off for about 4 weeks and this has continued since. How do I know if it really needs to be replaced or if I have a faulty sensor? Also, I found out the car was covered by Chrysler up to 80,000 miles and my light came on at 82,000…go figure!
If you have the Diagnostic Trouble Code that the dealership pulled share that with us. If the code is the dreaded P0420 you may have catalytic converter inefficiency which would require replacement to get emissions back into compliance. But first have a mechanic verify that the precat and the postcat oxygen sensors are working and tracking each other. The problem may be marginal since you have the light coming on intermittently. You might be able to squeeze through mandatory emissions testing if the light has been off for a week.
The new car emissions warranty is usually 8 years or 80,000 miles which ever occurs first. So the manufacturer is legally off the hook. You might approach corporate Chrysler about a good will coverage but don’t hold your breath.
Hope this helps.
Get the code. I don’t know if it works on your model, but turning the key to ON-OFF-ON-OFF-(LEAVE)ON might result in the OBDII code being shown on the odometer display. Don’t confuse “ON” with “START”. Just ON.
The PCM counts the frequency of like states between the front and rear O2 sensors. When the readings are the same with just being separated by time, the catalyst is deemed inert. HOWEVER, a lazy front O2 sensor can make proper fuel response out of phase and allow the O2 that the cat soaks up to be depleted …or the continuation of lean conditions exist beyond the point where the injector pulse width needs correcting.
In any event, swap out the front O2 sensor before spending $1200. This has to be some California catalyst to cost that much on a domestic:domestic. An Asian domestic I could buy the figure.
I will look through my paperwork and retrieve the code. Thanks for the great info.
Thanks for the great insight, I will try this tonight and see what happens. I thought the quote was extremely high myself, got it in Highland, Indiana.
Change your O2 sensors first.