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chris, Expert VW technician
Category: VW
Satisfied Customers: 704
Experience:  Almost 10 years experiance, top technician western region, Team leader
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2000 VW Passat: dashboard..catalytic converter..the check engine light

Resolved Question:

My 2000 VW Passat is lighting the check engine indicator and displaying "Emissions Workshop" in the dashboard display. Two mechanics told me the error codes indicated catalytic converter problems and also Oxygen sensor. My mechanic replaced Oxygen sensor and the check engine light went away for abou 2 months. Now it's coming back on again. The cost for the new sensor wasn't bad, but there are two catalytic converters and the cost to replace is just ridiculous. Any suggestions? What is the risk of not replacing catalytic converters if they are going bad? What if just one is bad and not the other, how can I find out?
Submitted: 7 years ago.
Category: VW
Expert:  chris replied 7 years ago.
If you do not repair your catalytic converter you will find a decrease in fuel mileage over time and also you will not be able to pass any emissions test to renew vehicle licenses. Each converter will throw a different code and it is common for them both to go around the same time. If you replace just one you will end needing to replace the other in the near future.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Well my car just passed CA SMOG check a few days before the light came on again, and my mileage and performance seem OK right now. I've read some online forums from other owners and it sounds like overly sensitive sensors are a common problem (and the converters might be OK). I was hoping for a more insightful answer than to recommend spending the several thousand bucks on the converters.
Expert:  chris replied 7 years ago.
Well my job on here is to off advice on how to properly fix Volkswagens. I can assure you that replacing O2 sensor after O2 sensor is not going to fix your car. If you just passed your smog test then you can drive around for while before your next one.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Relist: Answer quality.
Expert:  chris replied 7 years ago.
What other information are you looking for?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
Was hoping to find an expert who was familiar with the problem and could recommend a solution that does not involve replacing the cat. converters. I may have found what I need on the online forums, but these are not necessarily from experts -- was hoping to reach someone who really know the Passat's idiosyncrocies from experience....
Expert:  chris replied 7 years ago.
I work on nothing but Volkswagens all day everyday for the past 6 plus years. The only other option you have is that some passats engine computers can be updated through Volkswagen for this problem. To see if yours is eligible you would have to take it to a dealer and they would have to first scan the computer to get the ecm number and then they could see if it is eligible for the updated software.
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
OK, but if I'm not noticing significant performance problems or fuel economy issues then it sounds like the "Emissions workshop" warning can be ignored without me being in much danger of a major blowout. Do you agree? I've spent enough on this car and it's ten years old -- hate to pay $200+ just for a software update that turns out the yellow light!
Expert:  chris replied 7 years ago.
You will not notice any major differences in performance. Just be aware that there are after market cats that people weld in they are a quarter of the price but they are poor quality and I have replaced many of them so don't waste your money on those either.
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