P0420 — Test a catalytic converter? (Suits you)

  • Here’s the official definition of a P0420 trouble code: P0420 Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1). What the code is telling you is that the catalytic converter has failed an efficiency test. In 99.5% of the cases, this code means that the catalytic converter itself is bad and must be replaced.

How do I know if I have a bad o2 sensor or catalytic converter?

The check engine light often appears if your catalytic converter is clogged, although since the O2 sensor reports slower (because it measures efficiency over a longer period of time than other sensors), you might get a “check engine” light for something else like engine misfires, before you get a check engine light for

How do you diagnose a bad catalytic converter?

Diagnosing Catalytic Converter Issues

  1. step 1: obtain vehicle history.
  2. step 2: correct other engine codes.
  3. Step 3: Correct Exhaust System Leaks.
  4. Step 4: Check Converter Temperature.
  5. Step 5: check backpressure.
  6. step 6: check o2 (oxygen) sensor.
  7. step 7: examine cooling system.
  8. step 8: inspect fuel system.

How do you fix P0420 Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold Bank 1?

What repairs can fix the P0420 code?

  1. Replace muffler or repair leaks in the muffler.
  2. Replace exhaust manifold or repair leaks in the exhaust manifold.
  3. Replace exhaust pipe or repair exhaust pipe leaks.
  4. Replace catalytic converter (most common)
  5. Replace engine coolant temperature sensor.
  6. Replace front or rear oxygen sensor.

What codes will a bad catalytic converter cause?

Check engine light turns on Usually, an illuminated check engine light is the first and only sign of a bad catalytic converter. When the light pops on, your car’s engine control module (ECM) will also store a diagnostic trouble code (often a P0420 code ) in its memory.

How do you unclog a catalytic converter without removing it?

How to clean your catalytic converter without removing it

  1. Get Oxicat Catalytic converter cleaner. The easiest way to clean a catalytic converter without removing it is by using a catalytic converter cleaner product.
  2. Pour the Catalytic converter cleaner into the fuel tank.
  3. Take your car for a drive.

What is a bank 1 catalytic converter?

The P0420 Code indicates that your car’s computer has detected underperformance from the Bank 1 catalytic converter. Bank 1 refers to the side of the engine that houses the number one cylinder. The opposite side of the engine is Bank 2.

How do you clear a catalytic converter code?

Disconnect your cars battery. This will reset the computer and clear the existing error codes. Locate the oxygen sensor that is downstream (closer to the tailpipe) of the catalytic converter. Remove the sensor, and take to your local car parts store.

Does catalytic converter cleaner really work?

The short answer is no. Using one of these products likely results in ameliorated symptoms, mainly because they contain additives that will clean carbon deposits from your engine’s fuel and exhaust systems. Mind you, they won’t completely eliminate them or magically repair your damaged catalytic converter.

What are the 3 most leading failures of a catalytic converter?

Most catalytic converter failures fall under one of three categories:

  • Overheated, melted or broken converters.
  • Coated/oil-fouled substrate.

How well does Cataclean work?

Well basically if you have a vehicle, Cataclean is going to be worth the purchase. By using Cataclean and therefore removing the build-up of carbon deposits in the exhaust system, users have seen between 5-10% increase in fuel performance, some even 25%.

Will a bad catalytic converter throw a misfire code?

A bad catalytic converter wouldn’t in itself cause a misfire code, but if the cat. is partially blocked then exhaust gas flow will be impeded and that can cause an engine to misfire if all the old exhaust gas isn’t able to escape the cylinder before the new air/fuel charge is sucked in.

Code P0420: The Dreaded Diagnostics of Catalytic Converter Replacement and Oxygen Sensors

You’ve just retrieved a P0420 from a vehicle, which indicates that the catalyst system efficiency for one of the banks is below the acceptable level. What happens next? Is it possible that it’s simply the oxygen sensor? Or, is it possible that the catalytic converter is malfunctioning? These articles will assist you in understanding why the OBDII code was generated and what additional tests must be run in order to establish the source of the problem, which might be a coolant leak, oil blow by, or other issues with the vehicle’s engine.

Diagnostic Trouble Codes (OBDII) and Catalytic Converter/Oxygen Sensor Issues Before replacing an OBD II converter, always check the diagnostic memory for converter-related DTCs, such as a P0420, which indicate that the converter has to be replaced.

If this is not the case, the vehicle must be submitted to the nearest dealership for warranty services to be completed.

The settings for all of these monitors are “non-continuous,” meaning that they will not be activated until specified driving circumstances have been satisfied.

  1. It may be necessary to drive the vehicle at varied speeds and loads so that the OBD II system can get a good look at what’s going on.
  2. TWCs (triple-way catalysts) were developed and used in the 1980s to not only oxidize CO and HC, but also to reduce nitrogen oxides (NOx) into their constituent parts of nitrogen and oxygen by the use of a third chemical step termed reduction to break down nitrogen oxides (NOx).
  3. Shortly said, three-way converters may be set to allow for the injection of air upstream during the warming process.
  4. With the help of downstream air, the TWC or oxidation/reduction unit may run at its stoichiometric or chemically correct 14.7:1 air/fuel ratio while also providing the oxidizing catalyst with additional air for the purpose of reducing HC and CO.
  5. More Catalytic Converter is an abbreviation for Catalytic Converter.
  6. Emissions are maintained to a bare minimum thanks to fuel injection, oxygen sensors in the exhaust manifolds, and a feedback fuel management system.
  7. As a result, the converter must be in good operating order and perform properly in order to minimize tailpipe emissions to an absolute minimum.
  8. Then it’s likely that your customer’s vehicle will require a new converter.
  9. It is able to endure for such a long period of time because a catalyst is anything that, simply by being there, causes a reaction to occur between two or more components without itself being a participant in the process.
  10. One catalytic converter may last for 200,000 miles or more, whilst another may not even make it out of the car’s standard warranty, depending on the vehicle.

However, one thing is certain: as long as fossil fuels are used to power automobiles, they will continue to exist. So let’s talk about how they function, and then how to identify one that is acting inappropriately.

P0420 Diagnostic Trouble Code – Everything You Need to Know

The efficiency of the catalytic converter in decreasing pollutants has decreased with time.

What P0420 really means?

Carbon monoxide, nitrous oxide, and hydrocarbons are the three primary sources of pollution created by gasoline combustion, and a catalytic converter is designed to reduce these emissions (unburnt fuel). The hazardous exhaust goes through a succession of heated screens or honeycombs that have been coated with precious metals before exiting the system completely. A chemical reaction is precipitated by the heating of these metals, which converts hydrocarbons into carbon dioxide and water, and carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide and water, as well as nitrous oxide back into nitrogen and oxygen.

What are the causes of a P0420 code?

If your check engine light comes on as a result of this code, you might be looking at a significant repair expense. The majority of catalytic converters fail as a result of being overworked. The major reason for this is that there is too much unburned gasoline in the exhaust, which may be caused by a poorly functioning engine or by using a fuel with a low octane rating for the automobile. As a result of any unresolved coolant or oil leaks that pollute the combustion chamber, the converter’s life might be drastically reduced.

What is the severity of a P0420 code?

Minor. Make an appointment at a time when it is most convenient for you to be without your automobile for a day.

What repair is typically needed to resolve a P0420 code?

Replacement of the catalytic converter. When this code is set on most automobiles, the fault is usually connected to emissions, unless the engine is performing poorly at the time. However, your vehicle is not in risk of breaking down because of the code, which must be corrected before any state emission tests. Only the oxygen sensors’ functionality must be checked for proper operation; otherwise, no further diagnostics are required (remember they police converter efficiency). The cost of replacing a catalytic converter is frequently too high.

  • Openbay recommended that you replace your catalytic converter with an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) replacement.
  • Aftermarket or non-factory converters for domestic-market automobiles may be available, and they will often save you money over factory converters.
  • In most cases, aftermarket converters will not contain the same amount of precious metal as the original equipment manufacturer’s part, making them less effective — but they will keep the check engine light off.
  • Although aftermarket converters are available at a lower cost, the check engine light will most likely reappear sooner rather than later.

Save both time and money by comparing prices and scheduling an appointment with a service facility in your neighborhood with Openbay. Written by an ASE Master Technician, this service article provides information on Obtain price quotes from neighboring businesses.

Catalytic converter code(P0420)?Solution inside

  1. Date of joining:July 23, 20131590 Location:Miami,Florida Vehicle: 2004 Toyota Prius Model:-USA- Hello everyone, I just wanted to relate my recent experience with my gen 1 and the dreaded p0420 code, also known as the catalyst effiency code. As these vehicles age, this is becoming more and more typical. Purchasing a cat from Toyota will cost around $1200 for the part alone, and aftermarket cats are hit or miss and frequently require welding. Previously, when we removed the catalytic converters in order to install a test pipe for performance benefits, I did something similar on my Lancer Evolution 8 (AWD turbo). When I noticed that my Toyota prius had the code P0420 catalyst effiency below threshold, I decided to give it a shot on my car because it would only cost me $5 and around 30 minutes of my time. I’m pleased to report that I’ve driven around 300 miles so far without seeing the check engine light! All catalyst monitors are complete and pass, according to the tech stream program, which I used to examine them. Simply said, I wanted to share the information and how-to with my fellow gen 1 owners using items that are readily available at your local auto parts store. ****Disclaimer***** Because the catalytic converter is an emissions component, and if you have a code for it, it is likely that it has deteriorated and is no longer performing properly, and as a result, it will not pass emissions testing in your state. This is only to keep the ECM happy and the light turned off! So, if you are subjected to emissions testing using a sniffer, you will be required to repair your catalytic converter regardless. *** What you’ll need is the following: – Titanium 1/2-inch drill bit (multi-speed or high speed) An 18mm Spark Plug Non-Foulers Part No. 42009 drill bit, or a bit used for drilling steel, may be purchased at AutoZone for around $3.99 to $4.99 each pair. oxygen sensor socket (7/8″ deep well socket) with a 22mm or seven-eighth-inch wrench – WD-40 or some other rust-inhibiting product Step one will need you to use one of the Spark Plug Non-Foulers that you recently purchased. Using one of them, brace it against a firm surface, as you will need to drill off around 1/2 inch of the non-fouler in order for the Oxygen sensor to slip inside (approximately). When drilling metal, it is essential to go slowly and carefully. If possible, borrow a drill with many speeds that you can easily handle. Drilling will require the application of some type of oil to the metal a few times throughout the process in order to give lubrication
  2. If you attempt to drill without using oil, your drill bit will get very dull very soon. Second, after completing the drilling of one spark plug non-fouler, you will need to find your second oxygen sensor (usually right after the catalytic converter or the last one downstream on the exhaust pipe) Make sure you immerse the oxygen sensor with WD40 and allow it to soak for at least 15 minutes before attempting to free it from its enclosure. They normally fracture loose and screw off the rest of the way with relative ease once they have cracked loose. This will make your life a whole lot simpler if you get an Oxygen Sensor socket (available for $7.99 at AutoZone). Step 3: Attach the de-fouler to the oxygen sensor using a screwdriver or similar tool. Using the defouler you drilled out first, just put it on to the sensor, and then attach the o2 sensor and the drilled out defouler into the UNDRILLED defouler to complete the installation. After that, reinstall everything in the exhaust where the original oxygen was located. When it’s all said and done, it should look something like this. Because the harness to disconnect the oxygen sensor is located inside the car, beneath the carpet, it is preferable to leave it connected in. Always remember to utilize jack stands when working beneath your vehicle! If you clear the code, you should no longer have a check engine light. I hope this is of assistance to some of you
  3. Posted on: March 16, 2011 16:14:20 Location:Ohio Vehicle: 2001 Toyota PriusModel:IHHHMMMM, I’ll have to give this a go. I’m wondering as to how it operates
  4. Because the code is generated when the second Osensor reveals no difference from the first, the pipe may simply delay the gas exchange and mix it long and slowly enough to ‘fool’ the control computer into believing that the catalytic converter is operating. In this case, because of the phase change and drop in amplitude, mixing fresh with stale gas would seem to the sensor as though the catalytic converter had significantly reduced noxious gas emissions. It is possible that I would utilize a microcontroller to spoof the second Osensor in order to achieve the same result, but I would rather to ‘have a happy.’ In fact, I might as well spoof both sensors in order to run an even more lean mixture. even at high power. This would, of course, be completely unlawful, not to mention quite dangerous. Because we no longer hear much about carbon monoxide poisoning, we’ve grown less vigilant about following safety procedures. Theodore Wilson
  5. Bob Wilson
  6. Because of unseasonably high mid-day ambient temperatures combined with a highway lane closure on an uphill grade that caused all cars to be driven slowly and, most likely, with inadequate engine cooling, my 2001 (with more than 250K miles on the odometer) developed a check engine light with a P0420 code. I used a medium-quality OBD-II CAM tool to reset the check engine light and erase the P0420 code, and then I drove the exact same route later in the week in conditions with no traffic and normal seasonal low night-time temperatures, which included rain, and the check engine light and P0420 code DID NOT REAPPEAR. The 2001 was an unusual vehicle for me to use on that drive, as I usually travel in my 2012, and the east-bound climb up to the nearly 2,000-foot mountain pass is a relatively easy drive on the car, whereas the reverse climb is a very difficult drive on the car (for either car), but the 2012 is more than capable of handling this drive, whereas the 2001 has a difficult time. I’ve found that as long as I keep the 2001 in my coastal county and don’t try to drive into the interior county, which has a severe return gradient, the 2001 is up to the task, as demonstrated just the other day on an in-county journey that had just mild slopes and cool, coastal weather. Date of joining:July 7, 2018110 The location is on the east coast. The vehicle in question is a 2005 Prius Model II. I just finished doing this on my 2005 Prius last night. It was incredibly difficult to get everything to fit in there, but I managed it. I’m hoping it will keep my CEL from flashing. Date of joining:Oct 15, 20169814510 Tucson, Arizona is the location of this event. Vehicle: 2003 Toyota Prius Model:N/A Please accept my apologies for expressing this, but I despise this “solution.” This “solution” transforms an automobile that runs efficiently into a major polluter. How can one justify driving a Prius when one plans to circumvent the pollution controls? What’s that hazy brown haze? It’s ground ozone, and it’s extremely harmful to you, your family, and your pets. I replaced my faulty catalytic converter with a new aftermarket unit that cost around $200, including new oxygen sensors. The pipe was welded into the existing pipe by my buddies at Midas for around $100. Even people in California and New York may order them and have them transported to a UPS or Fedex location out of state, then take a short vacation and have a muffler shop do the installation while they are away. This is how WHCSCandLeeDlook
  7. Date of joining:April 18, 2012256580 Omaha, Nebraska is the location. Vehicle:2003 PriusModel:N/A That small CEL light on the dashboard doesn’t bother me at all. Why don’t we simply let it to rest? Date of joining:Oct 15, 20169814510 Tucson, Arizona is the location of this event. Vehicle:2003 PriusModel:N/AB Because it conceals the presence of additional codes? It is impossible for those of us who must undergo emissions testing every other year to pass inspection if there is an inspection code in place. Joined:Apr 1, 2018520
  8. PriusGuy32 andWHCSC like this Los Angeles is the location. Vehicle:2007 PriusModel:N/A
  9. The 2007 model was also a tight fit. I made it through the O2 sensor monitoring test without having to wait for the 0420, so I drove on over to the smog check station. Win
  10. Is it possible to utilize this to pass the California smog test? Joined:Oct 15, 20169814510Location:Tucson, AZ Joined:Oct 15, 20169814510 Vehicle:2003 PriusModel:N/A Yes. Make a quick journey to Phoenix or Reno during the week to get your converter replaced. If you can arrange for it ahead of time, you may have the converter transported to the location where the work will be carried out for you. CARB smogs your car in several ways
  11. I’m not sure what they are, but here in Tucson it’s as simple as connecting to the obd2 port and getting a reading (check for codes.) Last week, I got mine checked, and it came back with flying colors! It would be my pleasure if you did it, and I would have Midas perform the work
  12. My here in Tucson is great at pipe welding. Yesterday, I completed the installation of the spark plug non-foulers on my 2007 Prius downstream O2 sensor (with 212,500 miles). Removed P0420 code using my Techstream program, had a helper drive the car around while I saw live data from the passenger seat, and everything worked well
  13. After a couple hundred miles on the road, everything is fine. Date of joining: May 13, 201599347 SF Bay Area is the location of this event. The vehicle is a 2008 Prius. Model:II As far as I’m aware, having your cat replaced outside of California will still result in a violation of your Smog in California. California conducts a visual assessment of the catalytic converter to ensure that it bears the OEM mark and that the O2 has not been expanded. To be sure, there will always be techs that see a decent OBD scan and don’t merely perform a fast visual check to make sure you have a Cat
  14. But, this is rare. I only worked for a total of ten months. P0420 has only recently returned. That must imply that the catalytic effectiveness has deteriorated even further, to the point that the sensor still detects excessive fluctuation even when the spacers are used. So I suppose I’d need a better spacer, one with a smaller hole or one with a longer distance between the holes, in order to further buffer the gas exchange. Some spacers have incorporated mini-cats, but it’s unclear if these are much better. If you’re cheap and/or poor, you probably drive a prius to save money on gas and don’t care enough about the environment to spend money on expensive repairs. Typically, if your catalytic converter breaks, you’ll need to repair or replace your engine as well, or else your replacement will fail as well. When you could just hack it for a few bucks and forget about it, or put it off until later, why bother? I do agree that our car’s exhaust smells terrible when there is a dead cat in it, though. I believe that smog should always be checked using a tailpipe sniffer, because on-board diagnostics may always be manipulated to provide false results. Nobody would have an option but to get it properly fixed at that point in time. Nonetheless, because it is such a simple solution
  15. In the case of the cat, I had a non-california Honda CrV that passed smog test in 1997. Everything was OK, with the exception of the idle HC value, which was a little too high. Despite my efforts, it continued to fail, and it was only then that I found it contained a hollowed-out cat. It almost passed the California smog test without a catalytic converter, which only had an impact on idle emissions. This shocked me immensely. Now, it’s possible that the situation is different for other cars, but given that a prius doesn’t actually idle the engine very much, not having a functioning cat is unlikely to have much of an impact on air quality
  16. I don’t believe any such claims can be made without conducting the necessary testing. Anything else is only wishful thinking on our part.
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Unrelenting P0420 remains after catalytic converter, O2 sensors, and other parts replaced and modified – GenVibe

Whoa! It’s possible that the non-fouler method was what “fixed” the automobile. So far, I’ve drove the car three times, accumulating a total driving time of at least 40 minutes. Currently, there are no set or pending codes, and the catalytic converter and oxygen sensor drive cycle monitors are both displaying ready. Besides the evaporative system monitor, the only thing I’m lacking is a pressure gauge, and I read something recently that implies I could even be able to pass the emissions test here without one (in Missouri).

  • For your convenience, I’ve provided information and photographs below for your consideration.
  • The link directs you to the Dorman 42006, which has a 14mm thread size listed on it (outside diameter of theads).
  • picture of dorman42009.jpg (91.76 KiB) The page has been viewed 1500 times.
  • There’s a little hole, and then the interior diameter of the non-body fouler’s is greater than the small hole—both holes are drilled since the drilled hole was larger than the inside diameter of the non-body.
  • On the drill press, I used a wrench to center the non-fouler platedrilling.jpg on the table (195.7 KiB) The page has been viewed 1500 times.
  • My final, biggest bit had a diameter of around 0.48 inches “.
  • Threading an oxygen sensor into the first non-fouler reveals that the tip of the O2 sensor is virtually flush with the end of the non-fouler when the sensor is threaded in.
  • It was necessary to thread the changed non-fouler into the other non-fouler that had not been modified.assembled sensor.jpg (175.3 KiB) The page has been viewed 1500 times.
  • The extra unmodified non-fouler was to be removed and only the modified non-fouler was to be used if the two non-fouler applications were unable to prevent the P0420 codes from occurring.
  • It should be noted that while screwing this assembly into the catalytic converter assembly’s pipe hole, I utilized the crush washer/metal gasket on the end of the assembly, which resulted in the crush washer/metal gasket being crushed in an uneven manner.

If I hadn’t been so lazy, I would have backed out the assembly and utilized the assembly that didn’t have one. In the end, it’s unlikely that it will make much of a difference. Once again, thank you! nato

P0420 – Meaning, Causes, Symptoms, & Fixes

The efficiency of the catalyst system is below the threshold (Bank 1).

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What Does P0420 Mean?

When your vehicle’s combustion cycle is complete, the catalytic converter’s job is to break down the hazardous pollutants produced by the engine and transform them into less dangerous gases. The code P0420 indicates that the catalytic converter is not operating properly, resulting in an increase in the amount of dangerous pollutants emitted by the vehicle as a result.

What Are the Symptoms of Code P0420?

  • The Check Engine Light is illuminated
  • Power from the engine is not sufficient
  • Fuel efficiency has been reduced. A rotten egg smell or a sulfurous odor

What Is the Cause of P0420?

  • Faulty oxygen sensor
  • Faulty air-fuel sensor
  • Faulty oxygen sensor Catalytic converter that has become damaged or is internally deteriorating (the most common)
  • The presence of a leak in the exhaust system Converter failure is caused by a misfire (the fundamental cause of the problem). Air-fuel ratio that is either rich or too lean (this is the primary cause of converter failure)
  • Gasoline containing lead (the primary cause of converter failure)

How Serious Is Code P0420? – Moderate

Despite the fact that P0420 does not represent a hazard to the driver, it might create driveability issues such as a lack of power or poor acceleration if the problem is not addressed. If not treated in a timely manner, it has the potential to cause catastrophic damage to other components of your car. In order to reduce the expense of the repair to a minimal, it is advised that you handle P0420 as soon as feasible.

Common Diagnosis Mistakes for Code P0420

Most of the time, people assume that this code means that there is an issue with the O2 sensor or the A/F Sensor. While this might be true, the most typical problem is with the catalytic converter. Don’t forget about the additional codes that are associated with the P0420 code. Codes such as P0300, P0301, P0302, P0303, P0304, P0305, P0306, P0307, and P0308 are misfire codes, and misfire diagnosis is required for these codes. If the catalytic converter is changed without first addressing the misfire, the new catalytic converter will fail shortly after installation and must be replaced.

Identifying and addressing these or any other codes that are present should be the first order of business.

Tools Needed to Diagnose Code P0420:

Diagnosis is considered to be difficult on a scale of 1 to 5.

  1. Check to see if P0420 is the only code present on your car by scanning it. If there are any additional codes present, they must be dealt with first. Damage and leaks in the exhaust system should be looked for. Pre-catalytic converter components such as the exhaust manifold, gaskets, and exhaust pipes should be closely scrutinized. If any leaks are discovered, correct the leak, clear the code, and perform multiple drive cycles to ensure that the repair was successful. Check the voltage measurement of the downstream O2 sensor with the car running and at normal operating temperature using a digital multimeter while the vehicle is running. If the catalytic converter is operating properly, the downstream oxygen sensor generates a rather stable voltage value of roughly 0.45V. If the voltage of the downstream O2 sensor is consistently fluctuating between 0.1V and 0.9V, the catalyst is worn and the catalytic converter must be changed
  2. Otherwise, the catalyst must be replaced.

Estimated Cost of Repair

If you receive error number P0420, one or more of the fixes listed below may be required to resolve the underlying problem. The estimated cost of repair for each feasible repair includes the cost of the essential components as well as the cost of the labor required to complete the repair, if any.

  • Air fuel sensor replacement costs $200-$300
  • Oxygen sensor replacement costs $275-$500
  • Catalytic converter replacement costs $400-$2400
  • A leak in the exhaust costs $100-$200 (if the leak is welded shut).

PO420 Code – Catalytic Converter

What do you think of the sound? My 2006 is the original design, and it is more noisier than I would have expected from a “family SUV.” We recently had the flex pipe changed, and the exhaust noise below the front end has been completely eliminated. In the process of crawling beneath the engine and listening, I discovered that there is no exhaust noise and that the back cat is silent. The two rear mufflers, on the other hand, give it a little ahonk. In comparison, my 2006 Honda Accord V6 is hushed.

  • In the case of the flex pipe, we had a P0420 that was consistently entering the service, which I clearly wanted fixed first.
  • I was concerned that the shop had unplugged a lower O2 sensor as a result, but the wiring seemed to be fine.
  • WTF.
  • I’m currently on the lookout for a live-stream code reader so that I can see what’s really going on.

My 2006 Honda Accord V6 must be a unicorn since it never has a CEL until the gas cap is loose, and it has 226K miles on the odometer (and a similar overall cat usage from what I understand.) However, because I reside in a remote area, there are no safety and emissions tests conducted at any time of the year, which is ironic.

I could legally use NHRA headers and straight pipes and still be within the law. But, oh, that dreadful dash light.

Worn Out Catalytic Converter? Here’s How to Know For Sure

In your exhaust system, catalytic converters are located at the end of the system, right before the tailpipe (usually). Before releasing them into the environment, they absorb toxic gasses that are produced as a result of the combustion process and convert them into less damaging gasses through chemical processes. However, a deteriorated catalytic converter creates more problems than just greater emissions; it also has a negative impact on performance, sometimes to the point of causing the vehicle to not start.

Under (Back) Pressure

The loss of power, both at idle and during acceleration, is a common symptom of a failing engine. This is due to the fact that “cats” frequently fail when they become blocked. Because they are in direct contact with the exhaust system, a blocked cat will restrict essential airflow through the system all the way back to the combustion chamber, causing the appropriate air-fuel ratio to be thrown off. As a result, your fuel economy will be reduced, and you will notice a fall in miles per gallon.

It is also possible to hear rattling from within the catalytic converter when it is shook, which is a very simple indicator of failure.

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There Must Be Another Way

In order to carry out the simplest test, which requires the fewest special tools, the oxygen sensor must be removed and the exhaust pipe connection to the catalytic converter must be loosened. If you temporarily run the engine with these disengaged (oxygen sensor) or loose (pipe) and the issue improves, you are most likely dealing with a faulty catalytic converter. When you allow for these extra air channels, you are providing an alternate path for air and exhaust than the cat would normally use.

Too Darn Hot

An infrared thermometer will be required if you want to do more thorough testing. Run the engine for approximately 10 minutes, or until it reaches normal operating temperature. Once you’ve done that, hold the thermometer upstream (don’t touch it, it’s hot!) and downstream of the cat and take note of any differences in temperature between the two. If there is a substantial temperature difference between the engine and the rest of the vehicle, this indicates that the gasses are not flowing through.

Existing in a Vacuum

Finally, you may use a vacuum gauge to check your pressure. It should be connected to a direct intake vacuum line (such as from the brake booster). To begin, ensure that the car is in park with the parking brake engaged, and have a buddy increase the engine speed to around 2500–3000 RPMs and hold it there while you monitor the gauge. When the engine is running normally, you should notice a vacuum pressure of 16–21. When the RPMs increase, the vacuum should decrease, but it should quickly restore within a few seconds of the increase.

Even if you’ve determined that your vehicle’s catalytic converter is faulty, it’s crucial to investigate any underlying reasons of the failure.

Make careful to address this underlying issue as well, or you may be setting yourself up for a subsequent poor cat diagnosis.

Contact a qualified specialist at your local NAPA AUTO PARTS shop for further information on how to diagnose a worn out catalytic converter. Blair Lampe provided the photographs.

Blair LampeView All

Blair Lampe is a professional mechanic, blogger, theater technician, and wordsmith residing in New York City’s Flatiron District. Backpacking anywhere her boots will take her, rock climbing, experimental theater, a fresh rosé wine, and showering love on her 2001 Sierra truck are some of her favorite pastimes in her spare time.

P0420 First catalytic converter failed check emission system

It should have been stated or reinforced that the excursions are brief on cold starts and that the vehicle does not achieve operational temperature. As a pizza delivery driver, I’m assuming you were out and about regularly and continuously despite the several starts, thus the cat is already scorching. In such situation, the brief excursions will have little effect on it. Cold starts, short distance driving before shutting down, and then restarting the process when cold or not yet at operating temperature are involved.

  1. When I worked for the company that delivered pizzas, there was a constant turnover of drivers, and drivers also worked in the rear kitchen and dining rooms.
  2. We only have a few minutes to warm up, but we have plenty of time to cool down.
  3. I discovered the coverage for emission parts under the CRZ’s warranty (attached for anyone else who may benefit from it).
  4. You are accurate in stating that I have a 15/150 converter on my vehicle.
  5. As a result, I was shifted to sales by the front desk.
  6. – The service department placed me on wait for five minutes before sending me to the finance department for more assistance.
  7. – Last but not least, finance referred me back to service, who booked a visit for me for the following Tuesday morning to have my car “looked at to ascertain what is wrong.” But hold just a minute, there is more!
  8. He placed an order for the component, and it arrived at his business today.

But wait, there’s even MORE to it than that! The CEL has been turned off for five days and about 300 miles, and my car is displaying no signs of trouble. This has evolved into an exceedingly irritating issue, and I’m expecting the light to come back on in the next day or two.

Three catalytic converters in a month (P0420)

This could be included—especially the 100 degree difference, which could be readily demonstrated by a low-cost IR sensor— “Examples of troubleshooting and repair procedures for the P0420 error code include the following: Make that there are no leaks in the exhaust system at the manifold, pipes, or catalytic converter. Make any necessary repairs. Use a scope to diagnose the operation of the oxygen sensor in front of the catalytic converter (Tip: The oxygen sensor in front of the catalytic converter often exhibits a fluctuating waveform).

  1. Make a visual inspection of the downstream heated oxygen sensor and replace it if necessary.
  2. Suggestions for Diagnosis Generally speaking, you may use an infrared temperature gun to check the temperature of the exhaust immediately before and just after the converter to determine how hot the exhaust is.
  3. In general, the most common error that car owners do when they have a P0420 code is to simply replace one oxygen sensor with another one (02 sensor).
  4. If you need to replace your catalytic converter, we highly advise that you do so using a unit that is manufactured by the original equipment manufacturer (i.e.
  5. The second option would be a high-quality replacement item, such as a legal cat that is legal in all 50 states.
  6. One thing to keep in mind is that many car manufacturers provide a longer warranty on items that are connected to emissions.
  7. The majority of manufacturers provide a five-year, unlimited-mileage guarantee on these products.

Catalytic converter needs replacing but may be under warranty

Q: I have a 2010 Honda CR-V. What should I do? The check engine light turned on in the car last month. The code P0420, which signals a problem with the catalytic converter efficiency, was discovered by a retired technician who used his diagnostic scanner to discover the problem. I attempted to clean my catalytic converter with a cleaner. It provided temporary relief for nearly two weeks, but the light eventually turned back on. After that, I changed the oxygen sensor, but the problem reappeared the next day.

  • But then it comes back a few days later and does it all over again.
  • A:No.
  • Alternatively, if the system does not detect this decrease of efficiency for two further drive cycles, the light will turn off, but the code will be saved instead.
  • As a result, the catalytic converter must be replaced.
  • If your Honda has fewer than 80,000 miles on the odometer, the emissions warranty should cover the repair or replacement of the part.
  • On rare occasions, my automobile will not turn over and will not begin to run properly.
  • The car won’t start after a 15-minute stop at the store.

I’ll then wait 15 to 20 minutes, and in the vast majority of situations, it will begin to work.

They determined that the problem was with the starter and replaced it.

The store has given up the ghost.

Whatever insight you have, I would really enjoy hearing it.

However, in order for the starter to work effectively, the battery voltage must be sent to the beginning motor with low or no resistance.

Contrary to expectations, the repair is time-consuming, entailing the cutting and rebuilding of connections at the starting motor and alternator, as well as the fuse block.

Q: My 1997 GMC Sierra 2500 with the 5.7-liter V-8 engine is causing me a lot of problems.

The next day, it will start, but it will only run properly for 30 seconds before shutting off.

It had to be hauled twice, which cost me a lot of money.

When it’s running, mine is just fantastic.

A:While it’s difficult not to concentrate on the exhaust gas recirculation system, it’s important not to neglect other probable reasons, such as stuck sequential fuel injectors, loss of fuel pressure, fuel contamination, and so on.

The EGR valve itself contains a control module that gives feedback, similar to the function of an oxygen sensor, in order to correctly manage exhaust recirculation and so improve fuel efficiency.

During one of these stalling episodes, softly and carefully tap on the EGR valve, which is situated on the upper front of the engine’s block.

Readers can write to him at the following address: Star Tribune, 425 Portland Ave.

S., Minneapolis, Minn., 55488, or send him an email [email protected] Please include a detailed description of the situation as well as a daytime phone number. We are unable to respond to individual emails due to the amount of correspondence we get.

If I don’t replace a ‘failing’ catalytic converter right away, will it harm the engine?

My 2005 Nissan Altima’s “Service Engine Soon” light has on twice in the last month, indicating that it requires maintenance. According to the results of a diagnostic test, my catalytic converter is “failed.” Is it possible for my engine to be harmed if I don’t get the converter fixed immediately away? – When the catalytic converter efficiency falls below the manufacturer’s specified threshold, the generic code MarkP0420 is placed in your vehicle’s computer, which indicates that the converter is inefficient.

The fuel management system keeps track of the converter’s performance by analyzing the signals from both the upstream (pre-converter) and downstream (post converter) oxygen sensor arrays.

The computer does these computations by watching the changing voltage of the upstream sensor and comparing it to the voltage of the downstream sensor.

When the converter begins to exhibit indications of failure for the first time, it will not have an immediate impact on the engine.

Lou Trottier is the owner and operator of All About Imports in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

Send an email to [email protected] with the subject line “Lou’s Garage” in the body of the message.

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