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Safe to drive needing a new catalytic converter?

My son’s 02 Pathfinder’s ( 73 K miles) ‘service engine soon’ light is on. The dealership says he needs a new catalytic converter but can drive the car until it comes in. He is in college 300 miles away and has to return there Saturday, and will be back home for Christmas. Any risk to the car by doing this? It drives fine and has suffered no loss of performance or change in gas mileage. I’ve had a few Nissan’s and Honda’s pass 100 K without the converter going bad. Is this a problem with Pathfinders?

The dealer must cover the catalytic converter for 8 years/80,000 miles. If it does indeed require a new converter, the dealer must install one on their dime.


Thanks! I just went to the EPA website to verify this. I’ll give my dealer the benefit of the doubt and assume they didn’t know this . I’ve printed up copies of the policy for their benefit. Thanks again. Bob Shelley

Good luck getting a freebi… They will decide you didn’t need a new converter after all. Perhaps just a new oxygen sensor…

IF, the catalytic converter really is bad (it’s doubtful that the dealer’s mechanics did ANY checks, for shame!), there is something wrong in the engine which made it bad. The responsible mechanic should follow this check-list, as a minimum :

Just back from the dealer and they said ‘oh, yea, I guess it is covered’ Thanks again Tester-

Even after the dealer replaces the catalytic converter has been replaced, and when the warranty runs out, and the underlying cause of the failed catalytic converter hasn’t been repaired, then what?

I doubt very much if the converter is the problem

What makes you think they care?? What makes you think ANYONE cares?? You’re talking about a disposable consumer product here…

I’ll go along with hellokit on this. A 73k miles converter really should not have failed without an underlying reason; poor state of tune, running excessively rich, possible coolant leakage into the intake tract or combustion chambers, etc.

Just curious. When was the last time this vehicle had new spark plugs, air filter, etc.?
Buy the vehicle new or used?
Any history of the engine light being on? Just wonderin’.

Dr Bob Kids,
Oh, the dealer ( his service personnel, and mechanics) know (and, knew) about the Federally mandated 80,000 mile/8 year warranty. They didn’t really need your reminder.
A dealer gets less money for warranty work than non-warranty work. That’s one reason they prefer to not perform warranty work when they can do something else. Since most people aren’t mechanics, or, not that knowledgeable, they readily abuse their customers’ confidence.
When the catalytic converter is replaced, only the symptom is removed, for a while (for days, weeks, or months). The problems are still there. The dealer knows this, too; but, will “discover” new (not!) causes.
After the dealer is done installing the new catalytic converter, it’s up to you (or, your son) to find, and employ a conscientious, capable, honest mechanic to repair the engine (where the causes of the bad catalytic converter are).
The question was, “Who cares?”. Me, Hellokit, cares about all these abuses by unscrupulous repairers.

Will the vehicle be good until Christmas? Probably. Tell your son to change the spark plugs and air filter. That action might slow some of the problems (which we don’t know what they are) with the catalytic converter.