Skip the auto shop - Our mechanics make house calls

Q: Catalytic failure identifying the cause

asked by on

My 1996 Ford Taurus Wagon has Cat Efficiency code P202 I think!! Has been like this for years!! It is no longer my daily driver but I want to analyze the source of the failure!! Many mechanics state that Catalytic Converters don't just die, they are murdered?? If that is an appropriate assumption, what diagnostics must I perform to determine if the repair is justified. Engine starts immediately and does not appear to be burning oil.. ODO broke at approx 62K and car may have as much as 200K but well maintained. As of late when I drive the car you can smell an unusual odor as well as temp gauge swing..-
My car has an automatic transmission.

A: Hi there. It is possible for a catalytic co...

Hi there. It is possible for a catalytic converter to wear out over time and if the engine has misfires or oil consumption, sooner than later. The trouble code most likely is a P0420 and/or P0430. These are catalyst efficiency insufficient codes Bank (1) and (2) respectively. Most of the time, it is the catalyst that has failed, although an exhaust leak or faulty O2 sensor could set these codes. Justification for repairing this fault, would be to lower emission levels and turn off the check engine light. If the computer recognizes another fault, you would be unaware, as the check engine light is already on. The unusual odor and temperature swing may be a coolant leak has developed. I recommend having your vehicle’s possible coolant leak and check engine light on be diagnosed and repaired by a certified technician, such as one from YourMechanic.

Was this answer helpful?

Need advice from certified mechanic? Get help now!

Over 1000 mechanics are ready to answer your question.
The statements expressed above are only for informational purposes and should be independently verified. Please see our terms of service for more details

Get an instant quote for your car

Our certified mechanics come to you ・Backed by 12-month, 12,000-mile guarantee・Fair and transparent pricing

Get a quote

What others are asking

Q: Trouble with the traction control

As you may know, the traction control system monitors the steering stability of the vehicle and engages when loss of traction has been detected. This is done by the use of electronic sensors that communicate with the Power Train Control...

Q: Smoke coming from engine

Hello. There are two different types of fluid that would cause smoke to come out from the front of your car. If oil is leaking down from the valve cover gasket or oil filter, and onto the exhaust, this will...

Q: Power windows and blinkers don't work.

Hi there. The relay to the windows could have stopped working. Also, the flasher or relay could have stopped working as well. Since these are two different electrical circuits, it could be possible that both relays quit, but more an...

Related articles

P0052 OBD-II Trouble Code: HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1)
P0052 code definition HO2S Heater Control Circuit High (Bank 2 Sensor 1) What the P0052 code means This code is seen when the Engine Control Module (ECM) tries to control the...
What are the Car Pool Rules in Hawaii?
Hawaii is widely regarded as a land of vacation and relaxation, and as such, its scenic roads and routes are far better known than the state’s freeways. But, as with all...
P2428 OBD-II Trouble Code: Exhaust Gas Temperature Too High Bank 1
P2428 code definition A P2428 trouble code signifies that the PCM has detected a problem in the exhaust gas temperature sensor circuit in bank 1, which subsequently contains the number one...