Ford Escape check engine light

I own a 2004 Ford Escape, auto, v6. I bought the car in 2007 and have had trouble with my check engine light ever since. It is usually on, but will turn off shortly after I wash it (then back on a week or so later). When mechanics test for the code, they say that my catalytic convertor needs to be replaced. In addition to the on/off strange behavior, I have been driving this car for 4 years now with no major mechanical trouble that I can only assume would result from not replacing the CC. This would be very expensive repair, one I am not interested in doing if this is possibly just an electrical problem. I am ready to get this problem solved and start driving check engine light free. Your advice would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!

That CEL (check engine light) is just a kid in class waving her hand trying to get you attention because she has the answer. You need to have the codes read. Some places will read them for FREE. Try Autozone or Advanced Auto Parts. Get the exact code (like P0123) not just their translation into English and post it back here.


Here is some info on that code:

A very large number of shops will see such a code and conclude that it means that a new converter is necessary without doing any further work. The only thing it really means is that the readings from your front (before the CC) and rear (after the CC) oxygen sensors are too similar. The O2 sensor voltage go up and down depending on how much oxygen is in the exhaust. The front one should go up & down a lot. The rear shouldn’t. This code happens when the rear sensor readings are also going up & down a lot.

These readings can be off because the CC is bad, or because the sensor is bad, or because the sensor’s wiring has a problem, or because of exhaust leaks. So before replacing a CC the other stuff has to be checked and you need a shop that will do the checking. Perhaps your shop already did the checking - we don’t know. You’ll want to find out.

IF you do need a new CC, AND IF you had dealt with it from the beginning it probably would have been covered by a mandated 8yr/80K mile warranty on this stuff. I think you waited too long.