Quick Catalytic Converter Question

Hi All-

My car had its check engine light come on a few days ago, and the engine started to get extremely loud whenever I was accelerating. I would also smell gas whenever I would start the car. I decided to take it to a mechanic, who did a diagnostic check and told me that my catalytic converter was busted. This troubled me, because I had just had the part replaced a little over two years ago. I figured the part would still be under warranty, but the mechanic that I had used to replace the cat told me that it was only under warranty for one year or 12,000 miles, according to the distributer. Well, I got a hold of the distributer, and he told me that he didn’t have the information for the specific part that he used (he just told me that he “figured” it would be one year or 12,000 miles because most of the parts that they receive have warranties of that length…). Shops are closed now for the weekend, and I am getting worried about my bank account here…should I be?

Well, my questions for you all are as follows:

  1. Have you all ever heard of a catalytic converter ever having only a 1 year or 12,000 mile warranty? My current mechanic tells me he has never heard of one being so short, and that usually they are 5 years or 50,000 miles. I did minimal research on the internet and also found similar results.
  2. Who do I need to get into contact with in order to find out how long the warranty is, and how I redeem the warranty?

Thanks for all your help!

My exhaust guy welded my split catalytic converter for 10 bucks. Passed all emissions tests and screenings. If you get your codes read post them, free at many auto parts stores, I think you may need other maintenance.

It isn’t an unusual thing to hear of this complaint on this forum, a replacement cat failing in just a year or two. Two possibilities, one is that there are cats, then there are CATS. Some replacement cats are just plain inferior to the original equipment. Second possibility, there is something wrong with your engine that is resulting in rich operation. The extra gasoline in the exhaust stream will soon damage the cat, no matter how robust it is. One symptom of this would be poor mpg. Have you been tracking your mpg’s of late?

Also, does your state require emissions testing? If so, phone that office. There may a warranty requirement imposed on the manufacturer that affects all cats sold in the state. You will need to know the manufacturer and part number of the 2 year old cat to make much progress probably.

A one year/12K warranty is typical for aftermarket replacement parts.

If your mechanic can tell you by his records the manufacturer of the converter, you can always look them up on the internet and write them. But, in all honesty, I doubt seriously if he’ll be able to, and you’ve already said that the distributor couldn’t tell you anything.

Honestly, I think all you can do is ask the mechanic why the cat converter might have failed so soon and if there’s anything you can do about it. If it failed due to carbon deposition, he may have a suggestion or two.

But don’t let my statement stop you from filing a claim with the distributor or manufacturer. Just don’t get your hopes too high.

Aftermarket catalytic converters are warranted for 5 years/50,000 miles.