I have a '99 Saturn SL2. It needs a new catalitic converter and possibly the whole exhaust system. Its got about 155,000 miles. Should I go ahead and get it fixed or should I just sell it as is?

How do you know it needs converter?
Make sure it is not ox sensors

Not enough information. We can’t see the car, so we can’t determine it’s overall condition, and we know nothing about the car’s maintenance history.

You will get very little if you sell the car as is, assuming you can find a buyer for it, which will not be easy.

You can’t replace the car for the cost of an exhaust system. Do you like this car? Would you continue driving it if it were repaired, or were you thinking of getting another car? This is really a decision only you can make.

Many people spend money for a new catalytic converter only to discover they needed new oxygen sensors, which are much less expensive. Are you positive the cat is bad?

I would like to see more information, but I believe the question can be answered with the available information.

You have a car that needs some work. You have three choices:

  • Do the work and keep the car.

  • Do the work and sell the car.

  • Don’t do the work and sell the car.

If you are looking for the cheapest transportation the first choice is the answer. (note you may want a second opinion on what is needed)

If you want a new car consider that just one monthly car payment could cover the new exhaust system.

If you want to sell it, then it depends on why you think it needs the new converter and/or exhaust system and how much the repairs will cost and if you are planning or selling it yourself or using it as a trade.

And if the catalytic converter has really failed, you have to find out why. Sometimes they do just fall apart from age, but sometimes there is an underlying cause (engine putting out too much bad stuff) that you should fix before it causes a new converter to fail.

So part of your fix-or-replace decision depends on how much you trust your mechanic to fix it right rather than just replace parts on the basis of “this is most often the cause” or “this is what I always guess first”. And remember: it’s fair that you have to pay the mechanic the same rate for thinking and diagnosing as you do for replacing parts.

(This advice is from the guy who put too much money into fixing a '94 Taurus because the driver was comfortable with the car, but now the driver has decided that a newer car would be OK.)

Well, the car is in great shape…its just the fact of the converter…When I move the cat back and forth it rattles and my coolant temp lights both go on when I drive it. How would I find out what the issue is with the converter(ie its running rich). Also, how can I tell if its just the sensors or converter since the converter rattles when I accelerate.

You should be getting a Check Engine Light and there should be an error code stored which many auto parts stores will read for you for free. Just post the actual code (format: P1234) and let us see.

nope. no engine light. just the 2 for the coolant. I’ll see tomarrow if i can get the code tomorrow then the stores open.