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Help I think I'm being Cheated - Catalytic Converter 2008 Hyundai Accent

I have a 2008 Hyundai Accent with about 96,000 miles on it. A couple of days ago it started losing power when I gave it gas, like it was dragging or gasping for air. I could barely get it to 60 on the highway unless going down hill and when going up even a low grade I could barely maintain 40 mph. I took it to Hyundai dealership and the mechanic confirmed it seemed to have a “suction” problem. After about 20 minutes I was told that the catalytic converter had broke apart and been sucked into the engine. A new catalytic converter would be $754 plus this and that coming to an estimated repair bill of $1224.00. I was told told when I dropped off on Friday at 2:30 that it would be ready on Tuesday as they had to order the part. Less than 24 hours later, about 10:30 Saturday morning I was called and told the car was ready! I think I’m being cheated, any help/suggestions/questions I need to ask dealership? Thanks!

After about 20 minutes I was told that the catalytic converter had broke apart and been sucked into the engine.

That makes no sense what-so-ever. Either you misunderstood what they were saying or this is one screwed up mechanic.

The catalytic converter is on the other end of the engine. The engine will suck in air and gas…and then expel carbon monoxide. The converter is at the end where the carbon monoxide expelled from the engine.

It does sound like it could be a catalytic converter. But if the mechanic actually told you this…then I’d find another mechanic.

If your catalytic converter was actually replaced, it is entirely possible that the parts department didn’t have it in stock and gave you an estimate based on normal delivery time. However, the parts department manager may have called around and located it either at a parts store or at another dealer. I’ve taken my car in to my indpendent shop in the morning and have had them tell me it would probably be late afternoon by the time the job would be completed. Sometimes, I receive a call before noon saying that the car is ready. The fastest time that I ever had was when my old car stopped and wouldn’t restart. I determined that it wasn’t getting fuel to the carburetor. My independent shop had replaced the fuel pump for me and so I suspected that problem again. I called the shop and told them that the car was coming in via wrecker and was told they would get to it the next day. Fifteen minutes after the car left my driveway, my shop called and said that the car was ready and that the charge would be $10. When I picked up the car, they explained that the neoprene fuel line down at the pump had split and when the rear end of the car was hoisted up by the wrecker, the gasoline leaked out of the split fuel hose. The mechanic saw it leaking the gas while the car was still on the wrecker.

It sounds like a cat converter. Take a look under the car if its silver and shiney it was replaced. They rust over time, and turn brown/blue (from heat)… It should be easy to spot… As for price a factory cat is expencive, so it sounds about right for the part… Not sure where the other $500 is comeing from… The real question is what caused it to go?? It should have lasted longer then 96K unless the car was running rich or something. What else did they do??

Also factory warranty on the cat is 8yrs/80K so you were in on time, but out on mileage. If you are the original owner, by calling Hyundai you maybe able to get them to help with the repair a little. Its a long shot but worth the price of the call.

I’m not sure why you’re suspicious. Is it because they had it ready 3 days earlier than expected? Most people would be happy. Perhaps they just go the part sooner than they thought they could - or found they actually had one in stock when they thought they didn’t.

Your symptoms do fit with a clogged converter, though as MikeInNH said the whole sucking into the engine part is bogus. It basically just clogs up the exhaust so the car can’t “breathe” out.

Its not very common for a converter this young to fail like this. The car needs to be checked out for the cause of this issue.

NIssan Altima’s were famous for having parts of the convertor break off, and actually get sucked back into the combustion chamber during the EGR phasing of the camshafts.

But yes, most convertors get clogged up when they are dealing with large amounts of unburned gas and oil mixture, or they get torn apart when the combustion temps are too high from an overly lean and hot mixture.

Or if you’re really lucky, you have an RX-8, which can kill a convertor due to high exhaust temps at high rpms, then later run overly rich when an ignition coil or two fails, and the convertor gets flooded with excess raw fuel, which then ignites in the convertor, and to top it all off, it sends fairly decent amount of unburned oil into the convertor under normal operating conditions, due to the design of the rotary engine.

No car kills convertors as effortlessly as an RX-8 can.

BC.

Crumbling of the ceramic substrate in the converter core is not an unknown phenominon, and it can reduce the capacity of the converter (plug it up) and cause power loss. Generally this occurs as a result of excess unburned fuel entering the hot hobeycomb, like from not keeping the car tuned up and plugs getting bad, and causing internal damage.

I don’t see anything in your post that makes me suspect that the mechanc is being less than honest. If the car runs well now, mourne the loss of the cash, but don’t blame the mechanic. Stuff happens.

I don’t see anything there that would lead me to suspect something crooked is going on as long as the converter was changed. As mentioned by gsragtop, this should be very apparent to the naked eye.

Could this be the PCV valve, I noticed there has been some minor oil leaking. Could this be caused from pressure build up in a clogged PCV valve?

A clogged PCV will give you oil consumption, but its unlikely to account for your symptoms. Your symptoms, as described, are somewhat textbook for either a clogged converter or a weak fuel pump.