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#2379768 - 09/17/11 10:08 AM How long should a catalytic converter last?
Patman Offline



Registered: 05/27/02
Posts: 19307
Loc: Oakville, Ontario
I'm curious as to how long most catalytic converters last? I've never had one fail on any car I've ever owned, but my ex wife's 2000 Civic needs a new one and it's got only 122k on it. That seems kinda early for replacement to me. What would cause a converter to fail so early? I always kept up the maintenance on that car, and we've always run fuel from the major gas stations here (usually Shell or Esso)
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#2379783 - 09/17/11 10:23 AM Re: How long should a catalytic converter last? [Re: Patman]
Bill in Utah Offline



Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 12786
Loc: UT
I'd never had one that had to be replaced on my personal vehicles (so up to 400,000 miles and still working) but have seen quite a few needing to be replaced at my ex-work.

Seems that idling is not good as the Crown-Vics seem to be the top replacement candidate that I've seen.

122k is too early for my book. My Corolla has almost twice that and still good. Dad's ex-2001 Civic has around 170k and its still on the original.

Bill

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#2379787 - 09/17/11 10:24 AM Re: How long should a catalytic converter last? [Re: Patman]
Merkava_4 Online   content


Registered: 01/30/07
Posts: 9569
Loc: Clovis, CA
Originally Posted By: Patman
What would cause a converter to fail so early?


The number one cause would be a misfire - causing the engine to run rich - which can overheat the converter.
The second most common cause would be using a fuel additive measured in the wrong proportions.

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#2379789 - 09/17/11 10:27 AM Re: How long should a catalytic converter last? [Re: Patman]
mopar_monkey Offline


Registered: 06/08/10
Posts: 750
Loc: oregon
is the cat efficiency below acceptable range or is it cracked? these year civics tend to crack the cats causing exhaust leaks.

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#2379790 - 09/17/11 10:30 AM Re: How long should a catalytic converter last? [Re: Patman]
cmf Offline


Registered: 05/07/11
Posts: 415
Loc: Florida
The most common thing is ZDDP, either from normal volatilizing or from oil burning. Other than that silicon from poor air filtering would be an extremely distant #2 and I have heard some fuel additives can foul the catalyst.

I've heard around 100k as a catalyst related failure point for vehicles using SJ/SL oil for most of their lives.

Edit: I just gave reasons for the catalyst no longer functioning, the reasons for actual failure are different and generally related to ignition (or rather failure of ignition). Also 100k is early for an actual failure, the information I heard was 100k for the point at which it needs to be replaced to pass emissions.

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#2379792 - 09/17/11 10:30 AM Re: How long should a catalytic converter last? [Re: Merkava_4]
HyundaiGuy Offline


Registered: 05/03/10
Posts: 430
Loc: Orlando, FL
I don't think there is an answer. My first BMW had 250K on it when I sold it, my second BMW had 194K. Both had the original cats.

I had a Rabbit GTI back in the day that had the cat replaced at about 120K.
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#2379797 - 09/17/11 10:33 AM Re: How long should a catalytic converter last? [Re: Patman]
daves66nova Offline


Registered: 04/11/04
Posts: 3126
Loc: los angeles
I believe also running a fuel tank very low.It would also suck in some air along with the mixture,then having the O2 sensor read as lean,then it adjusts richer,etc,etc.I read that somewhere.
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#2379804 - 09/17/11 10:40 AM Re: How long should a catalytic converter last? [Re: daves66nova]
Bill in Utah Offline



Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 12786
Loc: UT
Originally Posted By: daves66nova
I believe also running a fuel tank very low.It would also suck in some air along with the mixture,then having the O2 sensor read as lean,then it adjusts richer,etc,etc.I read that somewhere.


Boy if that is true then I'm in trouble!

I run my Corolla to the light EVERY tank and its got 215k with nothing ever wrong. In fact I've done that for decades (well to 1/8th of a tank when there was no idiot lights for gas) and never an issue on cat equipped vehicles.



Bill shrug

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#2379805 - 09/17/11 10:41 AM Re: How long should a catalytic converter last? [Re: Merkava_4]
beanoil Offline


Registered: 10/17/04
Posts: 1981
Loc: Midwest, Illinois
Originally Posted By: Merkava_4
Originally Posted By: Patman
What would cause a converter to fail so early?


The number one cause would be a misfire - causing the engine to run rich - which can overheat the converter.
The second most common cause would be using a fuel additive measured in the wrong proportions.

Second this. Misfire causes the converter to overheat, making a mess of the internals. At least there is a glut of converters on the market for that. Check a ricer board for a lightly used one. Most of those guys take them off and put a straight through fake converter in.


Edited by beanoil (09/17/11 10:42 AM)
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#2379814 - 09/17/11 10:49 AM Re: How long should a catalytic converter last? [Re: Patman]
RI_RS4 Offline


Registered: 07/18/06
Posts: 1175
Loc: Rhode Island
By law the catalytic converter has a warranty of 8 years or 80,000 miles.

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#2379817 - 09/17/11 10:51 AM Re: How long should a catalytic converter last? [Re: RI_RS4]
Bill in Utah Offline



Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 12786
Loc: UT
Originally Posted By: RI_RS4
By law the catalytic converter has a warranty of 8 years or 80,000 miles.


Patman is in Canada. I'm sure their LAW is different?

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#2379843 - 09/17/11 11:11 AM Re: How long should a catalytic converter last? [Re: Patman]
bullwinkle Offline


Registered: 10/09/04
Posts: 4170
Loc: Cincinnati, OH, USA
I've seen a few where the catalyst cracked and shifted, as well, in addition to oil consumption problems.
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#2379844 - 09/17/11 11:14 AM Re: How long should a catalytic converter last? [Re: Patman]
Warstud Offline


Registered: 09/02/05
Posts: 2915
Loc: MIchigan
How do you know it needs replacing?

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#2379846 - 09/17/11 11:14 AM Re: How long should a catalytic converter last? [Re: Patman]
hr1940 Online   content
BITOG Owner/Operator


Registered: 02/13/07
Posts: 1222
Loc: arkansas
My catalytic converter had to be replaced this year at 78,000 miles. It is a 2000 Mazda. The spark plugs and wires were replaced last year as a result of letting someone detail my car and he got water in the spark plugs. I use a synthetic oil and wix filters. I change the oil every 5,000 miles. When I use any additive I am careful about the measurements. I try to always fill the tank when it is between 1/3 and 1/4 tank. I do not understand why it happened but I guess some cars are more prone to failure than others.

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#2379866 - 09/17/11 11:30 AM Re: How long should a catalytic converter last? [Re: Patman]
Bill in Utah Offline



Registered: 11/11/02
Posts: 12786
Loc: UT
I think also Helen that when ANYONE is making thousands and thousands of anything that you may have got one of those "made on Friday/Monday" cats that failed.

We probably could have taken another CAT or Mazda and its just fine at twice the mileage.

Just got "lucky". MY Uncle has a 2005 F150 and has had to replace pretty well everything dealing with the power window in his left door this last month. Sad for a 5 year old vehicle. But I'd bet there are many F150 that have more window cycles with no issues.

Just the luck of the draw... Like my Dad says;

"You pay your money and take your chances"

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