Quantcast
Jump to content


Catalytic Converter High Failure Rate


Recommended Posts

We sell a fair amount of catalytic of catalytic converters. In the past we have not had a real issue. We had 6 failures of replacement cats since fall 2009. Our supplier has told us he is not seeing a lot of failures. He actually recommended a seminar on diagnosing cats (a little insulting). I told him that after the second cat, the car is ok, so why is my shop and not his cat?

 

We don’t replace a cat just because we have a cat code; we go thru the diag procedures to insure that nothing killed the cat. We are now going to the dealer, RELUNTANTLY, to purchase our cats.

 

I know there are many cat companies out there and this may not be a valid question, but has anyone else seen a rise in replacement cat failures?

Link to comment
Share on other sites


general heavy-duty 728x90


general heavy-duty 468x60


general heavy-duty 250x250

Not a problem here but we do not have emissions testing here so we do not probably do as many as you do. The converters that are failing are they universals or direct fits? Is it different manufacturers or just one. The only time we ever go to the dealer for a cat is if we have to have a direct fit and there are no after market cats available yet. We use to do a lot of exhaust so we have a pipe bender, torches, mig welder, etc.

 

The cats we use are all direct fits. We have tried 2 different part supplier (I cannot mention their names, of course) and we have issues with both suppliers. I do not want to go the dealer, but I don't want comebacks either. The cats that were not available from the aftermarket and were purchased from the OE dealer, we never had an issue. Which leads to think, there may be a problem. What I need to do is ask other shops in the area. This may be a local problem.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I can tell you Joe working for Honda for so long that if you use anything but the OEM replacement, they will come back on for cat codes. I am not sure why but I think it has to do with the aftermarket ones not being efficient enough. I don't do a lot of cats here but whenever possible, I do try to sell the oem ones if they aren't too far out of range just for that reason.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You know we use mostly universal cats because we have all of the exhaust shop stuff and it is more profitable for us. Is the failure you are experiencing realted to triggering check engine soon light, performance, or failing emissions test. As I have stated earlier we do not have emissions testing or state inspections so that may be why we don't see as many problems. The issue we have to be concerned with is a rattling converter (coming apart) or performance. We do not experience very many issues. However, it is my understanding that there are only 3-4 converter manufacturers. Is that correct?

 

I don't know how many cat companies there are, but every time you pick up a trade magazine it seems a new company just sprout up. Many times we replace the cat due to rust through on the pipe, not for a check engine light. So, to have the cat come back with an efficiency code is a little upsetting.

It may take a month to turn the check engine light, but the only code we get is an efficiency code. And, many times we are replacing the O2 sensors too.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 2 months later...

We sell a fair amount of catalytic of catalytic converters. In the past we have not had a real issue. We had 6 failures of replacement cats since fall 2009. Our supplier has told us he is not seeing a lot of failures. He actually recommended a seminar on diagnosing cats (a little insulting). I told him that after the second cat, the car is ok, so why is my shop and not his cat?

 

We don’t replace a cat just because we have a cat code; we go thru the diag procedures to insure that nothing killed the cat. We are now going to the dealer, RELUNTANTLY, to purchase our cats.

 

I know there are many cat companies out there and this may not be a valid question, but has anyone else seen a rise in replacement cat failures?

 

 

I've had allot of luck with the Borla cats, I'm getting them from WorldPac, as well some of the hi-flow magnaflow cats... but as well we're a performance minded shop, although even on everyday drivers we'll try our best to offer something better, or explain its all we can get.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have replaced more catalytic converters in the last 6 weeks than at anytime in our history. Quite a few high end cars have been involved. What is going on? Do you think the extreme heat we have been having is part of the reason?

 

i don't think it's the heat. I have had seen a high failure rate too, that's why I posted my concern. What bothers me is that alot of these cats were not replaced due to cat failure, but rusted thru. There was no check engine light before, but they came back with a cat error.

 

Something is up and we need to find out.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Joe, I don't know if I am making myself clear. These are not cats that we have ever replaced before. Rather it is vehicle where we have diagnosed converter problems or where someone else (think dealer) has. Our exhaust sales the last two months have been higher than they have in years due to the number of bad converters.

 

Oh, sorry, misunderstood. I was concerned with the fact that we were using an aftermarket cat company and the replacememt cats we were installing were failing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Over the past 1 1/2 to 2 years we have had a pretty large failure rate with aftermarket cats using 2 different companies. We have now mostly gone with O.E. for most applications or if the customer is really strapped we will offer them and aftermarket unit at their gamble. If the unit fails within our warranty, I will install a O.E. one for the difference in price of the converter and they are responsible for the labor again. ( I will return the aftermarket cat to my supplier to get credit for it) Most times the customers go with OE and have had no issues but now at least it gives them an option. If they are just trying to get thru an emission test and do not plan on keeping the car long (which we all have heard that), they a a less expensive option.

 

That is our 2 cents, Tim

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Over the past 1 1/2 to 2 years we have had a pretty large failure rate with aftermarket cats using 2 different companies. We have now mostly gone with O.E. for most applications or if the customer is really strapped we will offer them and aftermarket unit at their gamble. If the unit fails within our warranty, I will install a O.E. one for the difference in price of the converter and they are responsible for the labor again. ( I will return the aftermarket cat to my supplier to get credit for it) Most times the customers go with OE and have had no issues but now at least it gives them an option. If they are just trying to get thru an emission test and do not plan on keeping the car long (which we all have heard that), they a a less expensive option.

 

That is our 2 cents, Tim

 

As much as I hate it, I am going to OE cats too. I will keep everyone informed and updated. We do a lot of cats, and not just for emssions failures but also for rust thru.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 5 months later...

I only use oe bolt in units. I have told a few customers to go to our one and only exhaust place in town and have seen repeat failures of aftermarket cats. We to properly test. I had one he did come in we tested and said it was bad and I advised they take it back to the previous installer. He said it tested fine there was something else wrong. I re-tested found nothing and called the shop. I went through what we tested and how a cat works and they were still saying it wasnt the cat. I believe they just do not know how to test. They only heat test which is one thing I do not do? How are others testing the cats? I monitor the before and after o2's. If its a pluged cat thats a pressure test. Sorry for the ramble.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I only use oe bolt in units. I have told a few customers to go to our one and only exhaust place in town and have seen repeat failures of aftermarket cats. We to properly test. I had one he did come in we tested and said it was bad and I advised they take it back to the previous installer. He said it tested fine there was something else wrong. I re-tested found nothing and called the shop. I went through what we tested and how a cat works and they were still saying it wasnt the cat. I believe they just do not know how to test. They only heat test which is one thing I do not do? How are others testing the cats? I monitor the before and after o2's. If its a pluged cat thats a pressure test. Sorry for the ramble.

 

Good information, I am lossing faith in aftermarket cats. WE DO test them right and have no failure with oe Cats, just aftermarket. And, many of the cats that come back were replaced becuase of rust thru, not for an emissions failure or check engine light. But, they return with a check engine light that was not on before.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Good information, I am lossing faith in aftermarket cats. WE DO test them right and have no failure with oe Cats, just aftermarket. And, many of the cats that come back were replaced becuase of rust thru, not for an emissions failure or check engine light. But, they return with a check engine light that was not on before.

Im sure you do test them right. Most exhaust shops dont understand it. Plus there sales reps feed them false info. I dont have rust in our area. Cat failure isnt a common issue. But I have seen nothing good about the aftermarket ones. Fodd for thought would be to get an oe from say worldpac? But ive found they dont list the gaskets occasionally :-( I will no longer use an aftermarket cat I dont like any comebacks even for a part failure. I kind of group it with aftermarket mass airflow sensors have you ever been in a bind and tried one? Bad news they are junk. Its like a needle in a hay stack to get a good one. I feel cats are in the same boat.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What I see is a oe cat failing at say 120 K then the aftermarket failing in the next 6k. I believe its the effiency of the cats. They dont seem to be made to the same standard. I dont think all oe parts are the best in all situations but due to the pattern of failures ive experienced ill never sell another aftermarket cat. It could have been a bad bnunch but it ruined me.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We use universal cats and have had almost no problems except one issue recently with a Buick. We are not getting check engine lights or a high number of converter failures. With that said emmission testing is not done in our market. If testing were done the results could possibly be different. We use both direct fit bolt on after market and cut and weld universal cats. However, overall we are seeing more converter failures than ever before. Do you think this is due to the government mandated percentage of ethanol in the fuel? That is our thoughts.

 

I am curious to know what company you use, but some part houses use different companies based on who they buy from in that particular part of the country. If the price differenence is extreme, we give the customer the option of OE vs. Aftermarket, with the understanding that we recommend the OE.

 

Let me tell you...the very last thing I want to do is buy from the OE or Dealer. I think we all need to support the aftermarket. But quality becomes an issue, not just with Cats, but with any part that does not meet quality standards. In this effort to keep prices down, we just may be hurting the industry.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

So far I have had no issues with aftermarket cats, but i am always leery of it. I use Magnaflow and IMCO cats. I get direct fir when I can, but have installed some universals as well. I got a good tip from my exhaust supplier. If the vehicle has a LEV or ULEV emissions tag which ALOT of cars do only use the California cats.

 

IMCO is the parent company of the revamped Cherrybomb. Their pricing on the direct fit and california cats is scarily competitive.

 

Like I stated before I am still leery of the aftermarket cats but so far so good.

 

Food for thought. OEM cats bring upwards of $80 apiece for scrap. Aftermarket cats are virtually worthless.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 3 months later...

Aftermarket cats have less paladium and platinum in them, they also have different substrate materials to make the lower content of precious metals a more workable solution. They have vastly lower services life due to this.

 

OEM cats in a market that demands 100% emissions conpliance is huge. Also alot of oil companies are adding nitrogen and more ethanol to the fuel. Ethanol leaves a very aggrevating residue lower tempature aftermarket cats may not be capable of burning off.

 

I don't replace many cats. Although I get lots of exhuast repairs lately where cats have been stolen and the customer refuss to replace the catalyst. Thats becomign very prevelant.

 

If you are in a area with lax enforcement you can also buy programming tools to remove the annoying codes if thats what your customers wish.

 

We also work on alot of race cars and street performance mcahicnes so my customer spectrum may widely vary from that of the average auto shop.

Edited by CollinsAutomotive
Link to comment
Share on other sites

In March at our Car-x trade show I talked to the Walker exhaust people about some of the problems we have had with aftermarket Goerlich/Catco converters. This problem has been most confined to some GMs for us. Here is what he told me. He said that there are certain vehicles that all of the after market converter manufacturers have had problems with. This is because the computers in those cars had a finer tolerance and these after market converters would thus trigger a code. He told me that all of the manufacturers had addressed this problem by coming up with a new design beefer converter loaded with more of the precious stuff and that now they pretty much had this problem licked as long as you go with the new design converters.

 

 

thats very beliveable actually. I remeber about 5 years ago replacement cats were a crap shoot. I don't replace many of them but I did notice less check engine lights on in recent years with replacement cats.

 

There are programming tools which will allow you to change the switching thresholds of the sensors. But it requires a good bit of knowledge to execute and you won't be able to do all cars.

 

chrysler trucks with the 5.2 and 5.9 and even some hmei models had cat efficiency checking that was so lax, you could take the cat off and it would likely not set a light.

Edited by CollinsAutomotive
Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have replaced more catalytic converters in the last 6 weeks than at anytime in our history. Quite a few high end cars have been involved. What is going on? Do you think the extreme heat we have been having is part of the reason?

 

Cat problems on high end cars often end up being the use of low octane fuel in something requiring 91 octane or higher. I've been seeing this more often lately on Audi's quite a bit and a few Mercedes. The key is that the cat is often not bad, just not working. Its clogged up with a velvet fluff of carbon. If you put a good quality high octane fuel in and perform the Italian tune up the cats will get hot enough and blow out most of that carbon. If maintained with good fuel the codes never come back. Sometimes upstream o2s will need replacing as they are also clogged up. If they are bad you'll often see a slow response/aging code also. Bosch, BMW and in some cases VW/Audi recommend replacement of upstream o2s after 100k anyway so its an easy sell and helps fuel economy too in a lot of cases.

 

 

On fitment issues with aftermarket cats, I'm done with Bosal, They're quality has gone in the crapper and they simply don't fit most cars. Hands down the most cat replacements we see are on Subarus. Bosal cats are a nightmare to fit on a subaru and they will always come back even if you get the "premium load" units. Last few units I put in were from CarQuest, I think were Goerlichs. Much better fitments, we'll see if they come back, oldest one is only in a few months or so now.

 

Like others have said, most cat codes do not require cat replacement, when they do though, like others I have not found an after-market solution that I'm satisfied with.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 7 months later...

i didnt see anyone mention this yet.

 

i wonder if the rise in Ethanol content has triggered this (p0420) outbreak, working in retail parts i have seen many more p0420 in the last 18 month than the first 18 i worked there.if i remember correctly Ethanol burns hotter than gas, could that be causing cat temps to be higher and possibly lowering there performance.

 

 

Joe, as we all know in NY rust thru is huge, especially in exhaust parts, i do notice that aftermarket (walker in my case) are built thinner and seem to rust quicker. the only thing i can see that would help is a coat of VHT/header paint to slow the process.

 

the ideal thing would for the OE to go stainless (would raise the cost by a grand or less) and stop the rust all together. same with brake lines.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Similar Topics

    • By Joe Marconi
      The word OSHA makes many shop owners cringe. 
      I was lucky enough years back to have my insurance agent suggest I perform a voluntary OSHA inspection. A private company did it at the time.   
      They found tons of violations; some we knew would be flagged, but most we did not. 
      Have you ever had an OSHA inspection? And what can shop owners do to protect themselves? 
    • By Joe Marconi
      I recently read an article in Auto Success online, a publication for dealerships. It states that there is a market for used tires. I was never a fan of selling used tires. Link to article below. 
      Your thoughts? Comments? 
       
       
    • By carmcapriotto
      How do your service advisors close their sales with a customer? Are they pre-scheduling for future maintenance appointments? Brett Beachler’s business has a 40% close rate for pre-scheduled maintenance appointments. He discusses how to make your current customers, your future customers.  Grab a pen and paper or head to the show notes on this episode. You don’t want to miss Brett’s closing presentation that can be implemented in your business.
      Brett Beachler, Beachler’s Vehicle Care & Repair, Peoria, IL. Listen to Brett’s previous episodes HERE
      Key Talking Points
      Customer close procedure/presentation Try to understand what the other person sees and not just what your shop wants Factory specified maintenance review on cars- review the history on Carfax, review what the car needs according to the factory maintenance specifications. The system will actually calculate a date when it thinks you'll be due. Ask what are your plans on the car?  Is the car paid for? Review with the customer what your technicians did. Solidify them saying “You guys are my guy.” Lay the groundwork for them to say “You know what? You just gave me all the right reasons to make an appointment 4, 5, 6, 7 months in advance” Send a text to them about a week ahead  What you don't want to do- run the actual credit card amount and then try to explain it to the customer the factory maintenance and review etc.. As soon as they run that transaction, they're done.  You must direct your advisors the best way they will get the highest batting average for pre-scheduling. Don't start with a closed transaction.  If you don't capture them at that closed sale then the next thing is the email and the text, if we don't catch 'em there, then they call up three weeks later and say, “Hey, I just wanna schedule an oil change. And we go, oh, whoa, whoa, whoa, wait, wait, wait, wait, wait, you got all this factory maintenance dude. You wanna do it?”   
      Connect with the Podcast:
      Aftermarket Radio Network
       
      Subscribe on YouTube
      Visit us on the Web
      Follow on Facebook
      Become an Insider
      Buy me a coffee
      Important Books
      Check out today's partners:
             
      Set your sights on Las Vegas in 2022. Mark your calendar now … November 1-3, 2022, AAPEX - Now more than ever. And don’t miss the next free AAPEX webinar. Register now at AAPEXSHOW.COM/WEBINAR.

      More Time. More Profit. Transform your shop at getshopware.com/carm


      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • By carmcapriotto
      Daniel Griffith, Wally's Precision Auto Care, Las Vegas, NV
      Key Talking Points
      Finding, identifying, and connecting with the ideal customer and naming them (Jennifer and Clara)- what books are they reading? Who are they following on social media? What are their expectations?  Build out each phase of the customer experience process, and look at the highs and lows What parts of the process are easy and what parts are hard? Simplify that down as much as possible If something's not working, change it. It's that simple Hiring new employees- asked his current employees what they like about their job, then used their words on the job descriptions “Culture eats strategies for breakfast.” The average tenure of his current team is over 12 years  
      Connect with the Podcast:
      Aftermarket Radio Network
       
      Subscribe on YouTube
      Visit us on the Web
      Follow on Facebook
      Become an Insider
      Buy me a coffee
      Important Books
      Check out today's partners:
             
      Set your sights on Las Vegas in 2022. Mark your calendar now … November 1-3, 2022, AAPEX - Now more than ever. And don’t miss the next free AAPEX webinar. Register now at AAPEXSHOW.COM/WEBINAR.

      More Time. More Profit. Transform your shop at getshopware.com/carm


      Click to go to the Podcast on Remarkable Results Radio
    • Advertise your services or products to passers-by attracting them towards your business
    • By Mike DelaCruz
      A topic that I’ve become more and more interested in is the future of our industry, specifically when it comes to Technicians.  I returned from the Spring Leadership Days in Orlando by Auto Care Association with an entirely new outlook, continuously reminding myself:  What can I do to help strengthen our future?
      As I scroll through my Facebook feed, reading through various forums and private group comments, I constantly hear about the Technician shortage and have been over the past few years.
      Does that raise any concern that we’re still talking about this after several years?  
      As I read through the comments in hopes to find solutions, regrettably the majority of the comments are not solutions to the problem.  So, my hope is to find a solution and identify what action I can personally take to help strengthen our future and do my part.  I don’t want to spend anymore time talking about what we already know (tech shortage), and watch our industry reduce to rubble in the years ahead.  Not on my watch… and I know a lot of you are with me!  Days turn into weeks, weeks turn into months and months turn into years.  Let’s not wait!
      As I visit shops around the country, which is my favorite thing to do, I notice a common pattern in the workflow.  Nearly 70% of the shops that I have visited in the past year have empty bays.  For example, a shop in the Bay Area I visited recently had 8 bays, but 4 were empty.  They had 2 Technicians, who both told me they’re extremely busy and this has become the “norm” until they hire more Technicians.  
      Of course, the owners have “tried everything”, but what does that mean?  Have they really tried “everything”, or are they looking for a band-aid to fix the short-term problem and not thinking about a long-term solution and preparing for the future?  
      Shops are busy right now and business is booming for most.  So even though they have the Tech shortage issue on their minds, it’s less of a priority right now because they’re busy!  It reminds me of what one of my favorite industry coaches (and friend) told me one time about “Panic Marketing”. Business slows down, then we expect our marketing company to step up some SEO or Ads and get cars in today, when in reality you have to plan out your marketing 6-months or a year in advance.  
      So what do we do when we have empty bays and a Tech shortage?  Many will simply place an Ad on Indeed, cross their fingers and hope for immediate applicants! That quick-fix strategy will never work.  But what will?  
      There are shops out there with effective strategies that actually work well.  Look at what they’re doing and get some ideas.  Joe Marconi has some awesome tips on hiring great people.  Having worked directly with Joe, I’ve seen the success firsthand.
      But for me personally, I’m more interested in the long-term and getting the “younger generation” interested in our trade.  I think this will help shape our future.  But how do we do this?  Someone once told me, if every shop ran an Apprenticeship program, this would help solve the problem.  
      Is that the silver bullet?  If not, what is?  
       


  • Our Sponsors


Flash Sale + Social Proof


Flash Sale + Social Proof


Flash Sale + Social Proof

×
×
  • Create New...