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Old 01-26-2010, 11:11 AM
8,894 posts, read 15,514,469 times
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My wife just received word from her dealership on the check engine light that recently popped up on her 2003 Corolla .... they say they need to replace the catalytic converter - should also note mileage is about 125k

The toyota part is pretty expensive - but built with an 80,000 mile warranty and it will definitely work well when it comes to emissions

However, we can save a solid $800 by having a magnaflow put in by our local mechanic

We are only looking to have her car for another year or two, but don't want to run into this issue or any related issues to aftermarkets.

From what I can read it sounds like magnaflow is pretty well regarded - although the warranty details seem murky.

There has been no smoke, smell or other tell tale issues of something being off in the whole exhaust chain.

Since we are $100 in to the dealership for the diagnostic (which can be applied to service) we are thinking of having them switch out the O2 Sensors and then having our guy replace the converter.

Anyone run into this issue or have any advice? Not really a car guy by any means so this is always a bit of foreign ground.

I must also note that the check engine light came on the day between when I received my w2 and my wife her w2..............
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Old 01-26-2010, 03:31 PM
Location: Planet Eaarth
8,957 posts, read 16,565,221 times
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"IF" the correct converter was installed and O2 sensor is ok sounds like whoever installed the converter messed up somehow.
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Old 01-26-2010, 04:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Tightwad View Post
"IF" the correct converter was installed and O2 sensor is ok sounds like whoever installed the converter messed up somehow.

To the OP, you'll be fine with an aftermarket converter as long as you stick with a brand name part. Magnaflow is a good product. Saving $800 is another good reason to go aftermarket. You should have your local mechanic confirm the dealer's diagnosis before replacing any parts.

If the dealer's diagnosis was a bad converter, will they still apply the $100 toward a different part (oxygen sensor)?
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Old 01-26-2010, 11:42 PM
Location: Chicago
38,691 posts, read 85,305,592 times
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There's a reason why you're saving a good $800, and that's because the cheap aftermarket converters use just enough catalyzing materials (which are very expensive) to get your car to pass emissions testing by the skin of its teeth. That's why many come with disclaimers that they won't sell you one if you live in California. Also, because the catalytic material partially acts as a muffler and there there is less of it inside a cheapie aftermarket converter, you might notice that your car becomes a bit louder.

Since you only plan to have the car for a year or two, you should be fine. But I'd make sure you fill out and send in the warranty card that comes with the converter just in case you don't pass your next emissions test.
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