Rick's Free Auto Repair Advice

Posts Tagged: catalytic converter

Which catalytic converter is best?

Should you buy an OEM catalytic converter or aftermarket catalytic converter? There’s a HUGE difference in price between an OEM (dealer) and aftermarket catalytic converter so you may be wondering if they’re really different, and if so, how so? The answer is yes, there is a difference. But first, understand that OEM catalytic converters are designed to meet Federal emissions standards for NEW cars, which is 8-years or 80,000 miles. Plus, they’re designed to last the life of the vehicle. So factory OEM catalytic converters have a larger ceramic structure … Read More

What does a catalytic converter do?

What is a catalytic converter and how does it work? A catalytic converter is a metal container that houses a honeycomb ceramic structure that’s coated with certain precious metals like platinum, palladium or rhodium. The converter’s job is to transform harmful exhaust into Carbon Dioxide (CO2), Water (H20) and Nitrogen (N2). There are two types of catalytic converters: • Two-way catalytic converter— The precious metals store excess oxygen from the exhaust and use it to convert carbon monoxide (C0) into carbon dioxide by adding one oxygen atom. The metals also … Read More

Overheated catalytic converter

How does a catalytic converter work

What a catalytic converter does Any time someone experiences lack of power, some non-mechanic expert will suggest gutting the catalytic converter since they assume it’s plugged and causing an exhaust restriction. But a catalytic converter doesn’t plug up with normal use (with just a few exceptions pertaining to defective designs). A catalytic converter fails because its been abused. This article is a summary of how a catalytic converter works and how it can be destroyed. This article is one in a series. If you want to know more about the … Read More


Fix code P2098 trouble code on Dodge Stratus, Sebring Trouble code P2098 on a Dodge Sebring or Dodge Stratus indicates that the downstream (post catalytic converter) is reporting a reading that’s consistently above or below center for a predetermined amount of time. Most DIYers replace the oxygen sensor and wonder why they still get the same code. In effect they’re treating the messenger and not the message. An exhaust system has two oxygen sensors. The first sensor tests how well the computer did in calculating air/fuel mixture. The second sensor … Read More

How to fix Code P0420

What is code P0420 Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold When attach a trouble code reader and come up with a P0420, your first assumption may be that you need a new catalytic converter, simply because the words catalytic converter are mentioned in the code. After the tests you may indeed discover that the catalytic converter is bad. But first you have to understand how the air/fuel and emissions systems work. How the air and fuel mixtures are calculated The powertrain control module (PCM) receives inputs from the engine coolant temp … Read More

Black smoke from tailpipe Saturn Vue and Oulook

Black Smoke from Tailpipe If you own a 2009-10 Saturn Outlook or VUE with the 3.6L engine, you may notice black smoke coming from the tailpipe on cold startups. Don’t flip out—it’s normal. Saturn is purposely running a rich mixture right after a cold start to get the catalytic converter operating faster. A rich mixture gooses the catalytic process. Of course, that’s exactly why misfires set off the flashing Check Engine light, to warn you that the converter is rapidly approaching meltdown. However, in this case, Saturn won’t let it … Read More

Fix code P0430

Code P0430 Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 2) NOTE: Codes P0420 and code P0430 are similar. I wrote a much more detailed explanation of how an emission system works and what causes these codes. Read this post and then refer to this more detailed post. Code P0430 means the catalytic converter that treats the exhaust for Bank 1 has failed it’s testing. The oxygen sensor in front of the catalytic converter switches back and forth between rich and lean as the computer constantly changes air fuel mixture. But after … Read More

Catalytic Converter

Catalytic converter contain precious metals and are worth big money at recycling yards. Read More

P0420 after Catalytic Converter Replacement

Why do I get P0420 after Catalytic Converter Replacement Trouble Code P0420 is “Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold.” This coded sets if the computer see similar readings from both the pre- and post- converter oxy gen sensors. The pre-cat sensor should switch rich/lean. But the post-cat sensor should give a fairly steady reading, indicating that the converter is doing it’s job. Independent repair shops report that the majority of these P0420 codes after converter replacement are due to the installation of AFTERMARKET converters. They’re less expensive than original equipment, well, … Read More

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