This summer we had the rear catalytic converter replaced in our 2003 Camry. On December 4 we had the front one replaced along with the upstream and downstream O2 sensors. Immediately after we picked up the car two weeks ago we noticed a strong exhaust/burning smell. A day later the check enging light came on. So we brought it back in and our mechanic explained the smell as coming from the coating the manufacturer puts on the converter to keep it from rusting. He said it should burn off after a while, but he agreed the smell was very strong and said that he’d take a look.
They had the car for a day, said they tried to “burn off” some of the coating which appeared to be pretty think, but couldn’t figure out the check engine light since it seemed to be pointing to one of the new O2 sensors. They gave us the car back with a “freeze frame” on it to try and get more data about the O2 sensor. Then we brought it back and they had it for a couple days. They replaced one of the new O2 sensors, took apart the new cataylic converter, replaced “a gasket” and gave us the care back.
The check engine light is off but the strong exhaust smell is still there, although not so much a burning smell anymore. And it’s not a sulfur smell which I’ve read about in other people’s bad converter stories.
They’ve been gracious through this and didn’t charge us anything after installing the converter, but I am no longer confident that this smell will just “go away in time.” Isn’t two weeks enough time? I’ve been out of the car for an hour now and I can still feel/taste the smell in my mouth. I’m not a smoker but it reminds me of the way my mouth felt the few times I’ve had a cigar.
I’m hoping for advice as to what’s going on with the car, but maybe more importantly how to talk to my mechanic to get this fixed once and for all.