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Yellow check engine came on--stayed on--gargae said not to worry about it

My check engine soon (yellow)came on today. I called my garage as soon as I got home. They hooked it up to the little hand held computer thingy and said, "It’ just the catalytic converter. If it hasn’t been acting weird, you don’t need it replaced until next inspection (that’s next June!) Should I take it somewhere else?? I told them I have a long trip this week-end and they said it’s fine,a nd not to worry about it. Can’t that cause it to break down or stall or something??

How many miles are on the Suzuki? How many miles do you drive each year? Does the mechanic you saw do exhaust work?

If the Suzuki has 100,000+ miles and there are no driveability issues and the mechanic interpreted a downstream O2 signal as indicating a marginal catalytic converter I would be inclined to agree with his advice. Maybe if you had questioned the mechanic he would have given a good explanation. It sounds like he’s trying to save you some money. But remember, when the check engine light is on for that reason and you ignore it a serious problem might go unseen.

when the check engine light is on for that reason and you ignore it a serious problem might go unseen

Worth repeating!

The car is a 2003 and has about 111,000 on it. I put a lot of miles on it the first 5 years, but honestly, for the last few, I really don’t drive much at all. Just local stuff–I’d say less than a 100 per week…most weeks much less. I usually only drive every 3 or 4 days now–I moved to a more “walking friendly” area. I do the regular maintenance stuff–oil changes, just got all new tires last week etc.

It has 111,000 miles on it. It still drives very well and has had very few issues. I’m pretty sure they do exhaust work–it’s my neighborhood mechanic and they are usually very thorough, but honestly, I’ve never seen the guy I dealt with before today.

I questioned the mechanic --with the knowledge I had at the time. He said "it’s only bad for the environment not the car and I should keep an eye out for the car “not running right.” I explained that I am taking a bunch of kids on a trip this week-end I can’t afford to get stuck on the side of the road with them–he said not to worry about it. I’m still worried.

I am thinking I should call back and talk to the owner. I just need to know what I’m talking about first! I just don’t think something like this should be ignored. Am I right??

I Don’t know that the previous owner will be able to add any significant information. The Catalytic converter code could be resulting from a bad sensor, so if you end up replacing the expensive converter, you may still have future problems. I would suggest a new mechanic to check out the sensors and make sure they are not the cause of your current problem.

I’m the original owner of the car. I was talking about the owner/head mechanic of the garage.
He is usually the person that works on my car, apparently he was gone for the day, and I had never met the guy who checked my car this time.

I will call the owner of the shop and if he can’t shed any light on why he thinks one of his mechanics told me not to worry about it–I’ll take it somewhere else. Thanks!

Garage wrong. Go elsewhere.

As Waterboy pointed out, it might be only the sensor. Any decent shop can find out for sure.

Besides that, the CEL light can advise you of any number of serious problems developing…but not if it’s rendered unable to by simply leaving it illuminated. If you do so you’re allowing an important warning system to go unusable.

Find another garage. This one is giving you bad advice.

If you have an Advance Auto or Auto Zone nearby, go there and ask them to scan your car to get the codes your computer has stored. After you’ve gotten the codes(P####), post them on here. And yes, you should take it to a different mechanic

Thanks! There is a brand new Auto Zone about a half mile from me. I’ll have them scan it and I’ll post them soon.

I don’t know about ditching the shop/mechanic. If he was a thief, he’d have brought you in and told you anything for the work, instead the wrench made a decision. It may be one you may not want him to or have wanted him to, but we just don’t know what his justifications are/were.

Keep in mind you have a group of geezers here that are so gun shy from compressing 50 years of hazards into a 5 sentence post. They’re 100% “afraid” of anything going wrong.

I refer to them as the “You’ll shoot your eye out, kid!” crowd. I’m surprised half of them have the courage to leave the garage without a titanium head liner because, “Well, you might be in the wrong place when a meteor shower occurs. Then what will you do?”. It’s kinda funny to read.

Their advice isn’t bad, it would be more rational if they didn’t instill “fear” and instead ran off the likelihood of the marginal/random “bad things” occurring. Instead they always look at anything but wearing a Depends as “running commando” (naked- implies vulnerability -unprotected).

NEVER OPERATE OUT OF FEAR. It’s a surrender.

Thanks for the input. I still plan to talk to the owner of the shop for clarification. As I mentioned, I was not familiar with mechanic that was on duty today, I usually deal with owner himself-- and he is usually quite picky and on top of things. The guy I worked with today may have been perfectly right–but I’m wondering why he didn’t reset the light or anything. Anyway–thanks to all of you. I’ll let you know what happens.

I have to respectfully disagree on this one. I may be a geezer (wait - I AM a geezer! It’s true! I made it this far!), but I maintain that any shop that sends someone on their way telling them to ignore the CEL without even checking the O2 sensor is giving bad advice and should be avoided.

But I respect your point that we weren’t there and don’t really know the whole of what was done…

The customer’s obvious concern after a trip to the shop to get the problem taken care of indicates that the mechanic was either too rushed, not qualified, or he was incapable of dealing directly with a customer. There are a many good mechanics who don’t have good ‘people’ skills and rushed seems normal these days. But we are Monday morning quarterbacking here. And I rarely lose a game on Monday morning.