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Toyota Camry Check Engine Light - Catalytic Converter

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  • The 02 Sensors on the 2002 Camrys go bad in two years (dirty and therefore don't read right and trip the CEL) in my experience. Before anyone buys a new catalytic convertor, replace both for about $250 and see if this doesn't turn the CEL off (until they get gunk on them again in two more years). This worked for me. My CEL has been off and on since the car was two years old. Always a problem when it came time for an inspection. At 142k miles I just changed them and the CEL is off and I passed my 9th inspection without purchasing a new catalytic convertor. A customer in a parts shop suggested this to me, then I found this blog with more info. Thanks a bunch!
  • retired_xeroidretired_xeroid Posts: 1
    edited May 2011
    I, too, just had my CEL come on. The culprit is also the catalytic converter and O2 sensor. The price I was quoted was pretty much spot on with the costs mentioned here. My car has 137K on it. I happened to stumble on this forum...glad I did! I appreciate all the imformation everyone provided here. I was all set to cancel my appointment for tomorrow morning, but will keep it. The one item that really caught my eye was having the two O2 sensors replaced at the same time to see if the CEL goes out. I'll have to call the mechanic first thing in the morning. Thank you, all, and keep up the good discussions and information!
  • azmustangazmustang Posts: 5
    My nephew has a 2006 Camry with a 6 cylinder engine. The car has about 40,000 miles. The engine light had come on, and the cause was determined to be the catalytic converter. Yesterday, our local Toyota dealership replaced the catalytic converter under warranty at no cost.
    The diagnosis was that the catalytic converter was inoperable. My curiosity is why would the catalytic converter fail at 40,000 miles? Is it inherent in the way that Toyota specs the manufacturer of these converters? Is it something in the function of the engine exhausts or computer?
    I work for a firm that has a fleet of 4 Chevrolet HHR's. They have mileages of 115,000, 136,000, 145,000 and 208,000. As far as I know, none has had a catalytic converter problem.
    This is not my first experience with Camry catalytic converter issues. I had a 2001 4 cylinder Camry which required replacement of the catalytic converter at about 100,000 miles. Replacement was necessary because the pipe in front of the converter had rusted and broke.
    Not knowing then what I know now, my mechanic replaced it with a non-Toyota after market converter. The engine light came back on, and I was looking at substantial costs ahead of me (front converter, replacing rear converter with Toyota converter) and I decided to cut my losses and trade it in.
    Based on people's experiences with Camrys around the 2006 model year, is my nephew going to be looking at converter failures every 40,000 miles? Needless to say, the converter
    is not under warranty forever.
    Thank you for whatever input that you may have.
  • saminnysaminny Posts: 2
    edited January 2012
    Hi, I have a 2005 PZEV (partial zero emission vehicle- California emission standard) Toyota Camry 4-cylinder in New York, and at 82K the check engine light came on with the Code P0420; upon checking it with my local mechanic I was told that I require a new front catalytic convertor. I contacted few dealers to check if it was under warranty but was told that the warranty for the catalytic convertor is 8 years/80,000 miles (which is the Federal emission warranty). I started googling for the warranty information (unfortunately my pre-owned camry does not have the warranty information hand book) and on few forums found out that for PZEV Honda the warranty is 15years/150,000 miles. I then went to the Toyota customer service website (http://toyota.custhelp.com/) and placed an inquiring about the warranty for the Cat. I got a reply from Toyota about 2 weeks later confirming that the warranty on my Camry is 15 years/150,000 miles because it is a PZEV Camry in New York. Below is the paragraph from the email I received from Toyota.

    “For Camry PZEV vehicles, (Partial Zero Emission Vehicles), the applicable warranty for the catalytic converter is extended to 15 years or 150,000 miles for vehicles operated in a state that has adopted California Emissions Coverage. New York adopted this guideline for the 2005 model year and your catalytic converter would be covered for this longer time frame.”

    Following weekend I went to the closest Toyota dealer in my area and gave him the copy of the email I received from Toyota and asked him to check his books for the warranty on the Cat. After arguing with him for few minutes he was able to find the paragraph in his manual (which I did not see) which stated this extended warranty for PZEV camry for 15 years/150,000 miles. He then told me I would need to pay diagnostic charges and if its indeed the Cat then the charges will be waived. I asked him to go ahead with fingers crossed and went home. 3 hours later I got a call from the dealer confirming my Cat needs replacement and that he has ordered one and will let me know when it has arrived for me to have it replaced :-).

    So for those of you who want to delay future cost on Catalytic convertor problem with Toyota, my advise is get a California emission vehicle IF AND ONLY IF your state has adopted California emission standard. That way you are covered for 15 years/150,000 miles.
  • aasanteaasante Posts: 2
    edited February 2012
    Hello,

    I've been having some noise coming from my engine. The car has only 54850 miles on it. It sounded like it was coming from the exhaust but when an exhaust specialist checked he told me it was from the engine and advised me to take it to the dealership.

    The dealership couldn't diagnose the problem either but told me that it could be from the intake manifold. They wanted to take the engine apart to be certain but then I wouldn't be able to drive the car. They didn't know how much it was going to cost me but when I insisted on an estimate they said it would cost me close to $1500.00. I thought that wasn't good enough since they didn't know exactly what the problem was. I have since gone to 2 other mechanics who couldn't tell me what the problem is. The last one said it could be from the timing chain being loose.

    A few times when I've driven the car for sometime I don't hear the noise but most of the time it's there; I've had this noise for about a year or so now.

    At this point I don't know what to believe. Has anyone had this problem? Any ideas? Any help would be greatly appreciated
  • aasanteaasante Posts: 2
    edited February 2012
    Hello,

    I've been having some noise coming from my engine. The car has only 54850 miles on it. It sounded like it was coming from the exhaust but when an exhaust specialist checked he told me it was from the engine and advised me to take it to the dealership.

    The dealership couldn't diagnose the problem either but told me that it could be from the intake manifold. They wanted to take the engine apart to be certain but then I wouldn't be able to drive the car. They didn't know how much it was going to cost me but when I insisted on an estimate they said it would cost me close to $1500.00. I thought that wasn't good enough since they didn't know exactly what the problem was. I have since gone to 2 other mechanics who couldn't tell me what the problem is. The last one said it could be from the timing chain being loose.

    A few times when I've driven the car for sometime I don't hear the noise but most of the time it's there; I've had this noise for about a year or so now.

    At this point I don't know what to believe. Has anyone had this problem? Any ideas? Any help would be greatly appreciated
  • Replacing catalytic converters and O2 sensors should be the last resort, not the first. These components in most cases are only providing feedback on the underlying issue. These components are very durable and should rarely need replacing. My experience is that they will last the life of the vehicle in most cases.

    The most common underlying issue is with excessive emmissions. So focus on the simple stuff first:
    o Gas cap - Inspect condition of cap ring gasket, if any doubt replace it
    o PCV valve - Replace it or thoroughly clean it with throttle body cleaner
    o Vacuum leak - Thoroughly check all hoses for looseness or cracks. Also check that each hose contains no clogs. Clogs are more common than you might think.
    o Clean fuel injectors - Add a good quality injector cleaner to a tank of gas such as Seafoam.
    Performing the above recommendations has resolved the P0420 code for me multiple times among 4 vehicles. And the great part was the small expense.

    Happy motoring!
  • Hi,

    is there a number I can call? I just spoke to Plaza Toyota and they are refusing to replace the cat as per manager Mike. I explained what I could but it does not seem to work. They claim its out of warranty. They quoted me $3140. This is crazy!

    Thank you!
  • It would be extremely rare if your issue is the CAT or O2 sensors. The service advisor knows that. It is most likely an emissions issue caused by something simple.

    Please focus on my previous recommendations. Then disconnect the battery which will reset the computer. If your battery has top terminals have them cleaned and treated while you have the cables off.

    I prefer not to post my phone number on this forum. Just send me additional questions as needed.
  • i am pretty sure it is cat converter. its 2006 148000 miles PZEV TOYOTA CAMRY. Dealer confirmed it is cat, but does not want to replace it under the extended warranty.
  • Cats are extremely durable and should easily last beyond 300K miles. The dealer needs to provide details of their findings. If a cat goes bad it is due to another underlying emissions issue or physical damage.

    If you do replace it be sure to use the OEM part and not a universal unit.

    Good luck with this!
  • Thank you very much teck jack!

    Plaza Toyota quoted me $3140 on the phone (they said both front and rear cats had to be replaced) and said the car is out of warranty as per service manager Michael Alvarez (despite the fact its PZEV). . I called 800 number and they easily pulled up warranty info and confirmed it is still under warranty. Cust service rep sent a ticket to Michael Alvarez so he can see its covered. After he saw a ticket he wanted to check the car again and they brought it back from their lot "to make sure". After checking the car the second time they finally changed the estimate to $1100 (changing the paperwork too) saying only front had to be replaced. (???) But this time claiming the air filter is "dirty" and the brakes are "low" so the car is "not properly maintained" and that's why its not covered under the warranty. I don't understand their reasoning at all. The car was checked out by a good mechanic yesterday and he said the car needed nothing else but cat converter. (air filter and brakes seemed fine to him).

    It is very upsetting that Toyota dealer will treat me like this. I am not going leave it like this and will fight it. Will keep you guys posted.
  • saminnysaminny Posts: 2
    Hi danny2030, sorry for the late response as i did not follow up on the posts. i had my cat replaced from westbury toyota. incase ur car has not crossed 150k miles provide me ur number and i will be glad to help.
  • cmackicmacki Posts: 3
    Hi Danny,

    My car has 154,000 miles and I have had my car checked before I hit the 154,000 at the dealer. They told me 8 years 80,000 miles. If you can give me any information please let me know.

    Thanks,
    Corene
  • Hi saminny!

    I am still trying to fight this system. Will def make an appointment with them. Its 148500 now.

    thank you!
  • Hi Corene,

    when i went to the dealership (Plaza Toyota) they told the warranty is 80000 miles. However I called toyota 800 number and they confirmed the warranty was extended to 150,000 miles.

    if I find the solution I will let you know.
    Good luck to you!
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 10,896
    Your other post was removed as we don't permit phone numbers to be posted here.

    MODERATOR
    Need help navigating? kirstie_h@edmunds.com - or send a private message by clicking on my name.
    Share your vehicle reviews

  • Thank you saminny for your help! westbury toyota is awesome! replaced the cat with no hassle. i would NEVER visit plaza toyota again. Two toyota dealerships and two completely opposite experiences. I am so happy.

    Good luck guys!
  • I replaced my catalytic converter in 2010 for around $800. I think my car was at about 160k miles. Yes, I drive a lot. The check engine light came back on recently and brought it to a different mechanic than the one that replaced it (there's a reason I don't go to him anymore) and he told me the CC needed to be replaced. I told him I had it done in 2010 and he said it was most likely an aftermarket and they don't last very long. It now has 205k and I've accepted the fact that it's time to get a new one. My car owes me nothing. 2 quirky repairs for about $1200 over 9 years. I can't complain and I won't. I'm just discouraged. I'm more than willing to an explanation on something and am open to suggestions if they're given to me. I just don't like be treated a child that doesn't need all the details. Should the mechanic have asked if I wanted an aftermarket or a geniune Toyota CC? Just curious. A new car is in my future. Will most likely be a Camry. Unless anyone wants to weigh in on that.....
  • It is true, when the Cat is replaced it needs to be a quality one that can pass California emissions which is the original manufacturer part. Cats normally last the lifetime of the car, 350K miles plus. The odds are the original check engine light was not the Cat but an underlying emissions issue such as a vacuum leak or a dirty PCV valve. Most likely something very simple and inexpensive.

    That minor underlying emissions issue was corrected by the first guy after he replaced the Cat by most likely replacing the PCV valve or correcting a vaccum leak. But he would not have shared that with you.

    Folks it is extremely rare that the Cat ever needs to be replaced and should only be the last resort after all other possible sources are eliminated.

    Happy motoring!
  • My Camry has 84,500 miles on it. Recently Check Engine Light went on. Mechanic (service station) said it was my cat. converter. I just had it replaced in June of 2009 - warranty for Bosal was 2 years so mechanic said I would have to buy a new one. The reason mechanic replaced it in 2009 was "flex pipe was broken." Mechanic said I didn't have to worry about it until I'm due for an emissions test (Illinois) which will be coming up in March of 2013. But he said I'll have to drive with my CEL on all the time and I wouldn't know if something else was wrong. So this was yesterday.
    Today car didn't have the CEL on. Went to the mechanic and asked him why the light went off? He couldn't offer an explanation.
    So now I don't need a new cat. converter? What is this ???
    The Bosal cost me $430.69, Front Flex-Catayltic Converter Pipe $19.46, plus $96.00 labor, plus $3.60 shop supply/haz mat, and sales tax of $44.24, for a total of $593.99.
  • Only replace the CAT as a last resort! It is very rare that the issue is the CAT itself but another underlying emissions issue. Remove and clean your PCV valve with throttle cleaner or just replace it. Then add a pint of Seafoam fuel treatment to your next full tank of gas. Also check for any vacuum hoses that are loose, cracked or clogged. Majority of the time this CEL can be resolved inexpensively. Good motoring!
  • starwhite2starwhite2 Posts: 2
    Thank you, tech jack. CEL is still off so I'm not doing anything. Still mystified why it went off. Will follow your advice once it comes back on.
  • sydneyjanesydneyjane Posts: 1
    Hey, starwhite. That same thing happened to me with my 2001 Camry and it went on for a few years. The CEL would go on and off, on and off. When I had to get my emissions tested in Maryland, I just waited around for the CEL to go off and passed the inspection with no problems, which led me to believe it wasn't really the cat converter to begin with, or at least the problem wasn't that bad. I figured I could go on like that forever.

    Except now I've got this awful noise and found out it's the pipe connected to the converter that's rusted and has a hole in it, so the car is very loud. Darn. So, now I have to get it replaced since the pipe and converter are all in one piece. They said charcoal canister needs to be replaced, too. And, now, the CEL stays on all the time.

    That's what brought me to this board (my first post!). I've got 210K on my Camry and everything else works well. Not sure if I should spend $2.5K (which is what the dealer quotes me) for cat and canister. I've always felt if the engine and transmission are good, stay with the car and I usually drive my cars until they die. But, $2.5K is a lot of money. What do do???
  • tdt5150tdt5150 Posts: 1
    How's the car? I have a 2002 Camry and last year the CEL was going on and off for no reason too. I also was fortunate that it turned off before inspection last sep. Then next day it came on and hasn't gone off since! Now it's time for inspection again. I just took it to an auto parts store that ran the free diagnostic. Said it was the CC or some other exhaust problem. Said it's a very generic code. I'm glad I found this post!
  • I have a 1999 Camry CE 5 speed with 85,000 miles on her - the check engine came on 6 months and had my mechanic diagnose it and turns out I need to replace the catalytic converter. He quoted me a price of $1070 for parts and labor. Since I live in Virginia the next emissions test due on her is May 31st 2013 and f I don't repair it by 5/13, she'll fail inspection. Since the car does 4,000 miles per year I can't justify is spending $1100 on a 13 year old car. She's had previous work done on her in the last 3 to 4 years.

    I'm thinking on either buying a new car or certified used in the Spring. Is it worth getting repaired and is the estimate too high?

    I welcome your comments and suggestions.
  • tristan8tristan8 Posts: 2
    edited August 2013
    I have a 2002 Camry XLE 2.4L with 130K miles. The check engine light came on and off during the past six month. It sometimes turned on when I drove a long way like 3 more hours and it turns off when I did not use car often.

    I have the car for a diagnosis with one trusted mechanic. He said the front cat converter is not working and the rear one appears to be lazy (it does not change much with an increasing RPM). He suggested me to change the front one first to see if it can fix the problem with a quote $770 including front cat converter and labor fee.

    He said he will use an original new converter and I have no idea where he can get an original one.

    After reading all the posts above, I think he may find the right problem. But I am not sure if he will use an authentic OEM part.

    My next inspection is still one year from now. But I also suspect this problem could affect the lifetime and power of engine, which is why I tend to fix it soon.

    Anyone has a suggestion for this?
  • Not sure what the light going on means.
    I will say that one time a few years back the engine light went on and my brother figured it out that I had something weighty sitting on my passenger side -- which the car "sensed" and it wanted the seatbelt used!
    Once I moved the object to the trunk, I was set to go again!

    I have a 2002 XLE Toyota Camry with 97,000 miles and it has been an absolutely wonderful car!
    All I have done to maintain it is put in new front brakes, new tires as needed, and lots of ROUTINE oil changes.
    I am going to have to have something done with a wheelbearing this fall, and they have advised me ahead so we can budget accordingly (but who can complain about something like that for a vehicle this age/mileage?)
    It has no rust whatsoever on the finish.
    I would love to be optimistic and think we can get 130,000 out of our car, too.
  • I am the 4th owner of the car. No idea how previous owners maintained the car. TO me, I always used the best oil and best gas.

    Some revision:
    I called the mechanic again, and he said his quote includes only OEM part. The Toyota original one will cost $1400 for front cat converter. I called a recommended dealer later, which confirmed the price for the original one.

    I did not replace it today anyway. The light is off now and I wait to see how soon it will come back again:)
  • go4mego4me Posts: 1

    I would like to know how I could get the service bulletin concerning the Catalytic converter please help

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