Hyundai Tucson Catalytic Converter Questions--Please help!

Hi Experts,
I own a 2005 Hyundai Tucson with 92k miles. Last week the check engine light came on during normal highway use. Brought in to dealership for diagnostic.
The service coordinator (who i’m not a fan of to begin with) starts with, “it’s the cat converter, it will be $3600.” I am 31 years old, but am blessed with the face of a younger person; i’m not new to being treated like i know nothing. My questions were met with convoluted explanations. I asked if it could be the sensors, not the CAT, and all they said was it’s unlikely. Now from reading on forums, i feel like i’m a little more educated but still have a few questions. On the print out from the dealership, i can see the error code is in fact P0420, the CAT. Could it still be the O2 sensors even with this code being generated? I have experienced no loss in acceleration or power for the moment. My biggest concern is that all the topics i researched described replacements costing around $1000. The invoice i was given has two manifolds ($703 ea), 2 gaskets ($40 and $21) and one line labeled converter which is $1227. If someone could explain to me what the dealership is proposing to do based on this, i would really appreciate it. It seems most forums with the $1000 repair cost describe only replacing the rear or front CAT. Could someone explain the difference and why i should replace one or both in order to get the engine light off? I am taking it to another dealership immediately for a second opinion but would love to have some insight from one of you experts first!

Thank you,

It looks as if the 2 pre cats are separate from the exhaust manifolds. Then there is a rear cat. I would not use the dealer, prices for parts are crazy. I would ask what they want to replace. Here is a pic of the pre cats.

Did the guy at the service desk hit you with the converter diagnosis right off the bat before any diagnostics were done or did he do a quick code pull and hit you with the 3600 dollar news?

The price is about right for dealer parts but you should consider getting another opinion from a reputable independent; and say nothing about what the dealer told you.

For what it’s worth, I have a dim view of service writers/service advisors, or service coordinator as you refer to them as. Probably 90% of the ones I’ve worked around should not even be allowed to drive a car much less dispense any service advice. There’s been a few good ones but the majority should be sitting in an empty boxcar leaving town.

I’m with OK4450 on this one.
Even a good and honest mechanic at a dealership is going to have to use the approved parts from the manufacturer’s parts distribution system, and those are often two to 2-1/2 times the cost of comparable aftermarket parts, so you still end up paying more.

A 2005 car no longer needs a dealership except for a very unusual problem (this one doesn’t qualify). A reputable independently owned and operated shop will save you hundreds… maybe thousands… and do just as good a job helping you keep your car running right.

Is this car burning a lot of oil? I don’t see the cat going out at that low mileage. Are you in a rust belt area?

I agree with a 2nd and 3rd op before shelling out for a new cat.

The P0420 was thrown by the rear oxygen sensor (s) not the cat. I would replace that sensor first (at an independent shop) reset the computer and see what happens…If your vehicle is not subject to emissions testing, there is no pressing need to change the CAT (s)…

Start by reseting the code and see if it comes back. Then get a piece of paper, roll it into a tapered cone and stick the small end in your ear. With the engine running, point the open end of the tube to the exhaust system and listen for a fttt or psstt or puffing sound around any of the seams. If you can hear an exhaust leak, fix that first.

Exhaust leaks are listed as the #1 cause for this code. Next is the rear O2 sensor as suggested by Caddyman.

The exhaust leak would exlpain 2 manifolds. I would take it to get it evaluated.

THANK YOU all for the great advice! I am definitely going to try the tapered cone to listen to the exhaust first and foremost. I 'm also going to call my independent service place; where I get my tires rotated and oil changed, as I should of done in the first place. I’ll ask them to check the exhaust system for leaks as well and replace the rear sensor to see if that shuts the light off, before I move to replacing the rear converter, as opposed to replacing all three like dealer suggested. Really appreciate the responses!

You can also hold a gloved hand over the tailpipe to see if it builds pressure.
This will often make a leak hiss more loudly.
Won’t tell you where the leak is, but it’s a quick check.