What does this mean?
We’re reasonably sure the catalytic converter is clogged. The catalytic converter is part of the exhaust system and is generally right before the muffler. Exhaust coming straight of the engine has harmful chemicals in it (to both humans and environment). As it flows through the catalytic converter, harmful chemicals break down to make the exhaust fumes less toxic. The catalytic converter has lots of fine passages. Over time, these get clogged with soot in the exhaust stream. Once a mechanic arrives, they will verify the problem has been identified correctly. You won’t be charged for the repair unless it’s been verified.
On a scale of 1 to 10, we rate this to have an urgency of 8. Some repairs have very low urgency, and we give those a 1. With these repairs, you can wait for as long as you would like, because it will not ever result in harm to you or your vehicle. These are usually cosmetic damages.
We consider a 5 to be something that will eventually need to be done, but you can likely get away with holding off for a while if other things are more pressing. However, if a repair is close to a 10 (or at a 10), this means you should NOT be driving the vehicle, and should get this repaired as soon as possible.
What happens if I wait?
We’d always recommend trying the additive first as soon as you’ve confirmed the problem. There’s a good chance it will save you an enormous amount of money. There’s a 50% chance it won’t work. Given the potential savings, it’s worth the risk. Make sure you try the treatment with a relatively empty tank (as empty as you are comfortable). Also, make sure that you drive the car aggressively or at high speed right after you pour it into the tank. Running the car at idle will not work. The more aggressively it’s driven, the more likely the treatment will work. It will take approximately 50 miles of driving to know if the treatment worked and for your check engine light to turn off. If it doesn’t fix the problem, try a second or third treatment (until the above bottle is empty). If the treatments do not work, we would still recommend getting the catalytic converter removed and cleaned. Waiting until it’s unrepairable can become prohibitively expensive. Repairs costing more than $800 are common.
How complicated is this repair?
- This job has no tools required, and can be completed by just about anyone.
- This requires a relatively handy person, but little experience working on cars exclusively.
- This warrants an average person who’s done a fair amount of car repair. Think the weekend mechanic who’s done a brake job or two!
- At this difficulty, the average mechanic could do the job, but you wouldn't want to do it yourself without a fair amount of experience.
- This job is very specialized, requiring very expensive tools only a specialty shop has and a high level of expertise.