Chevy

Chevrolet Repair Questions? Ask a Chevy Mechanic for Answers ASAP

Ask an Expert,
Get an Answer ASAP!

Chevy

2002 Chevy Cavalier: a Check-Engine light on..Catalytic converter

Customer Question
Writing about our 2002 Chevy...
Writing about our 2002 Chevy Cavalier that has NOT been hassle-free. The latest is a Check-Engine light on. AutoZone use their troubleshooting meter and it produced the following info:

Definition: Catalyst Efficiency low-bank 1
Explaination: The oxygen sensors monitor the Catalystic Converters abilty to store oxygen
Probable Cause: Catalytic converter defective (failure possibly due to #2, 3, or 4), Engine misfire or running condition, large vacuum leak, Engine oil leakage into Exhaust-valve guide seals, piston rings.

Most recent repair on this car was early March. Included remove/replace A/C pressure sensor & harness and an oil change (nearly $500!). No idea if there is any connection to this, but thought I'd mention. We also had a tune-up done in NOvember 2010.
Cooincidentally, just today, I had the Oxygen Sensor changed on our 2001 Subaru Forester. We never get a break with these 2 cars lately!

Could you please point me in the right direction?

Ann
Newport, RI
Submitted: 6 years ago.Category: Chevy
Show More
Show Less
Ask Your Own Chevy Question
Answered in 5 minutes by:
4/26/2011
Chevy Mechanic: Ron Z., - Chevy Tech - replied 6 years ago
Ron Z.
Ron Z., - Chevy Tech -
Category: Chevy
Satisfied Customers: 19,305
Experience: 18+yrs experience. State Inspector and Chevy Diagnostics
Verified

Welcome to JustAnswer.com! My name is DriveFast71(Ron) and I will do my best to answer all of your questions completely and accurately.


 

The Catalyst Efficiency low-bank 1 (P0420) is a fairly straight forward code, and as staed above- the oxygen sensor monitor the exhaust oing into, then out of the converter. When they see the converter is not "cleaning" the exhaust the way it should, the engine light is set, and the converter is deemed to be faulty. Unfortunately- you are going to need to replace the converter. Keep in mind, those "universal" or "cheap" converters they sell at aftermarket parts stores do NOT meet OE standards and will not solve the problem. You will need to get a "good quality" converter (i've had fairly good luck on GM with the "Walker" brand).

graphic

Ron Z.
Ron Z., - Chevy Tech -
Category: Chevy
Satisfied Customers: 19,305
Experience: 18+yrs experience. State Inspector and Chevy Diagnostics
Verified
Ron Z. and 87 other Chevy Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Thanks for your swift and clear reply.

I do have a follow up question for your. Am I able to buy a quality replacement converter, such as what you recommend above via an outfit like AutoZone, or must I rely on an "official" dealer/repair shop to buy/replace? Every time we drive into the Chevy dealer/service place it seems to cost $500. Today, I had a local body shop replace my Subaru's oxygen sensor with a quality Bosch product and simply paid them $60/hour. Can I do the same for this Chevy (i.e. find a quality part at Autozone and have the body shop handle, OR is this a "big job" requiring the services and access-to-official parts that only the dealer can do?

 

Chevy Mechanic: Ron Z., - Chevy Tech - replied 6 years ago

I would suggest staying away from AutoZone, as the converters they have in stock aren't the best quality. However, NAPA will have good quality converters readily available in stock. No need to have the Dealer do this. Any local shop can take care of this repair with no issues. It simply bolts into the exhaust system. It should take around 45min to and hour to complete the job.

Ask Your Own Chevy Question
Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Thanks for your suggestion to steer clear of Auto Zone for this part.

 

I did go to the Napa website, as we have a store nearby. There was a myriad of Catalytic Converters for our make/model/year (2002 Chevy Cavalier/2.2L L4 MPI OHV 8V), with a LARGE variation in retail price. Frankly, I don't want to pay more than I have to and it's hard to know which is THE ONE to go with. Here is a link to the Napa webpage showing the parts:

https://www.napaonline.com/Catalog/Result.aspx

 

Can you suggest a particular part, or should I ask Napa what they suggest?

Also, how long is it "safe" to drive with this check engine light on (repair NOT made)?

If I can push it off until first week of May I would prefer to do that, but this car is currently being driven 60 miles/day, round-trip to work (my husband's). If this is a problem we could trade cars, I guess.

Thank you! Ann

Chevy Mechanic: Ron Z., - Chevy Tech - replied 6 years ago

The link above you provided, came up as "page not found for me" (i don't know why). NAPA has great, knowledgeable employees- so simply telling them you need a better quality converter should do it. Like I say previously- I've had good success with "Walker" brand. And if the converter hints to "Universal" - stay away. A "good" converter is going to run in the neighborhood of $500.

 

As for how long you can safely drive the vehicle- as long as you are not experiencing any drivability issues like lack of power or stalling, it should be ok. Keep in mind the converter's internal make-up can deteriorate quickly. This usually leads to exhaust clogging and will present as a lack of power symptom. If this happens, try not to drive to far or too long as this will create other engine problems.

 

Ron Z.
Ron Z., - Chevy Tech -
Category: Chevy
Satisfied Customers: 19,305
Experience: 18+yrs experience. State Inspector and Chevy Diagnostics
Verified
Ron Z. and 87 other Chevy Specialists are ready to help you
Ask your own question now
Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Hi Again,

I just paid another $18 as I have an additional question, to follow up on the above discussion. My husband left his headlights on over night, resulting in a dead battery (he took my car to work and left me with the problem...). Anyway, AAA just finished jumping the car and it's still running in the driveway for a few more minutes. Since I have his car for the day, I figured I'd deal with the Catalytic Converter problem and run over to Nappa to buy the part and then have it installed. HOWEVER, I was surprised to notice that the "Check" engine light is no longer on?! So I'm confused as to whether it's related to the temporarily dead battery, or what. Your thoughts?

Ann

Chevy Mechanic: Ron Z., - Chevy Tech - replied 6 years ago
Ok- the reason the Engine light is Off, is becasue the battery "died". When the battery looses all power OR you remove the "NEG" cable for 15 minutes or more, this "re-boots" the vehicle's on-board computer (very similar to when you first turn on your home computer- it takes a few minutes to get to your desktop. Same idea). The on-board computer will now do a system-wide re-check, and re-assess any problems. The light WILL return within 50-75 miles of normal driving.
Ask Your Own Chevy Question
Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Thanks for confirming my suspicion. Clearly, the repair still needs to be made. You've saved me a "dicussion" with my husband, who would possibly insist that the problem has "gone away". I wish!

BTW, what is an "NEG" cable? And how can I self-identify if this car is a single- or dual-cam engine? This will determine which of the 2 Walker brand C.C.s I need to buy.

Chevy Mechanic: Ron Z., - Chevy Tech - replied 6 years ago

The "NEG" cable is the black cable going to your battery (there is red (positive) and black (negative)). "Removing the NEG cable" is jsut another method of "code clearing" - which SHOULD be done for you after the repair is made.

 

To identify your engine, I will need the 8th digit of your VIN#

 

Ask Your Own Chevy Question
Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Here is our Vin # XXXXX its entirety. There were spaces between the sets of digits, so I didn't want to mis-identify the 8th digit:

 

1 G1 JC524327322725

 

I had this info. with me when I first went to Napa, driving my Forester, to inquire about Catyletic Converter parts for the Cavalier. The guy behind the counter said he'd have to look at the Cavalier's engine to identify dual vs. single cam, and when I asked him if he could figure it out from the VIN # XXXXX other paperwork I had with me, he said "No". He seemed annoyed and impatient when I asked questions about the various CC part options (no, there was not a line behind me). While they may not have as high quality parts, I've never been treated rudely by the AutoZone staff.

Perhaps this guy was just having a bad morning (he did seem a little hung over!).

Ann

Chevy Mechanic: Ron Z., - Chevy Tech - replied 6 years ago

Wow! That's odd. Sorry to hear. I do a TON of business with NAPA. Probably an "off" day.

 

At any rate, yes, with the VIN# XXXXX can tell the engine size. The 8th digit here is a "4" (don't count spaces) which means you have the 2.2L - SINGLE overhead cam.

 

 

Ask Your Own Chevy Question
Customer reply replied 6 years ago

Thanks!

For whatever reason, the SINGLE cam C.C. price (Walker) is more expensive than the DUAL cam ($366.49 + tax vs. $303.49+ tax) , so I was crossing my fingers for a dual.

WIsh me luck with "Mr. Charm" over at Napa!

FInally, since I already paid an additional $18 this mornign BEFORE writing the question, I don't think I can click "Accept Answer" or I'll be charged again.

Chevy Mechanic: Ron Z., - Chevy Tech - replied 6 years ago

No worries. It's all good. We're even. Glad I could help! Good luck with Mr. Charm! hahahaha!

 

Ask Your Own Chevy Question
Customer reply replied 6 years ago

After all that, Napa did NOT have the part in stock. They offered to order in, of course, but I had time lined up to have it installed, so I phoned AutoZone, which is right down the street. They too had to order it, but had the identical Walker part and for $77 LESS -- go figure!?

Thought you'd find this of interest. Anyway, the work if finally done on the C.C.. Thanks for your input.

Chevy Mechanic: Ron Z., - Chevy Tech - replied 6 years ago
Excellent! Glad to hear!
Ask Your Own Chevy Question
Ask Ron Z. Your Own Question
Ron Z.
Ron Z.
Ron Z., - Chevy Tech -
Category: Chevy
Satisfied Customers: 19,305
19,305 Satisfied Customers
Experience: 18+yrs experience. State Inspector and Chevy Diagnostics

Ron Z. is online now

A new question is answered every 9 seconds

How JustAnswer works:

  • Ask an ExpertExperts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional AnswerVia email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site. Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction GuaranteeRate the answer you receive.

JustAnswer in the News:

Ask-a-doc Web sites: If you've got a quick question, you can try to get an answer from sites that say they have various specialists on hand to give quick answers... Justanswer.com.
JustAnswer.com...has seen a spike since October in legal questions from readers about layoffs, unemployment and severance.
Web sites like justanswer.com/legal
...leave nothing to chance.
Traffic on JustAnswer rose 14 percent...and had nearly 400,000 page views in 30 days...inquiries related to stress, high blood pressure, drinking and heart pain jumped 33 percent.
Tory Johnson, GMA Workplace Contributor, discusses work-from-home jobs, such as JustAnswer in which verified Experts answer people’s questions.
I will tell you that...the things you have to go through to be an Expert are quite rigorous.

What Customers are Saying:

I was having a terrible problem with the wheel bearings on my 98 Chevy Cavalier and I suspect that using this website saved me plenty of time and money.

Todd LRochester NY

Wonderful service, prompt, efficient, and accurate. Couldn't have asked for more. I cannot thank you enough for your help.

Mary C.Freshfield, Liverpool, UK

This expert is wonderful. They truly know what they are talking about, and they actually care about you. They really helped put my nerves at ease. Thank you so much!!!!

AlexLos Angeles, CA

Thank you for all your help. It is nice to know that this service is here for people like myself, who need answers fast and are not sure who to consult.

GPHesperia, CA

I couldn't be more satisfied! This is the site I will always come to when I need a second opinion.

JustinKernersville, NC

Just let me say that this encounter has been entirely professional and most helpful. I liked that I could ask additional questions and get answered in a very short turn around.

EstherWoodstock, NY

Thank you so much for taking your time and knowledge to support my concerns. Not only did you answer my questions, you even took it a step further with replying with more pertinent information I needed to know.

RobinElkton, Maryland

< Previous | Next >

Meet the Experts:

GM Tech (Cam)

GM Tech (Cam)

Chevy Technician

15,289 satisfied customers

GM Grand Master Technician 2007. 14 years experience.

Gary

Gary

Chevy Technician

9,357 satisfied customers

15 years GM master tech

Tim&#039;s Auto Repair

Tim's Auto Repair

mechanic

8,866 satisfied customers

Have owned a repair shop for 25 yrs.

Dave Nova

Dave Nova

Chevrolet Technician

7,092 satisfied customers

ASE Master Certification. GM World Class Certification

John

John

Master A.S.E Automotive technician

4,071 satisfied customers

A.S.E MasterTechnician A1-A8 w/L1,38 years experience General Motors Master Technician

Don - Mo Lurch

Don - Mo Lurch

Auto Mech / Electronics

2,918 satisfied customers

Chevrolet Cert., Heavy Line Mech, Race Shop Owner, Mobile Electronics.

Ron Z.

Ron Z.

- Chevy Tech -

19,305 satisfied customers

18+yrs experience. State Inspector and Chevy Diagnostics

< Previous | Next >

Related Chevy Questions
Exhaust fluid light 2011 gmc minus 9 degrees this morning
exhaust fluid light 2011 gmc minus 9 degrees this morning does this freeze … read more
Eric
Eric
Retired
N/A
14,436 satisfied customers
Same issue, as on this screen. 2011 duramax, service exhaust
same issue, as on this screen. 2011 duramax, service exhaust system - see owners manual. Have snap on code reader, no error codes present. 162k miles.… read more
Eric
Eric
Retired
N/A
14,436 satisfied customers
Fuel coming out exhaust. Turned into a gas hog. Chevy half
they changed plugs plug wires injectors and the truck runs rough and mileage is down and holding your hand at the exhaust you can feel droplet of unburent fuel … read more
Expert
Expert
15 satisfied customers
My engine light went on yesterday The code is P0013. Exhaust
My engine light went on yesterday The code is P0013 … read more
fordguy4u
fordguy4u
Automotive Tech
Vocational, Technical or Trade Scho
70 satisfied customers
Engine light on" clean exhaust filter continue to dric. Ve
engine light on " clean exhaust filter continue to dric … read more
BOBBYSS
BOBBYSS
TECHNICIAN/ADVISOR
Associate Degree
8,343 satisfied customers
I get a bad odor like rich exhaust from the car. No exhaust
I get a bad odor like rich exhaust from the car. No exhaust leaks, no check engine light all engine data seems normal … read more
rpmdiag
rpmdiag
High school
7,263 satisfied customers
My catalytic converter went on my 2008 Impala I think
My catalytic converter went on my 2008 Impala I think because I had a wiring problem that made the fuse blow that controlled the circuit for the O2 sensors. Also I had a AIR valve that was stuck in th… read more
Chris (aka - Moose)
Chris (aka - Moose)
Vocational, Technical or Trade Scho
108 satisfied customers
My catalytic converter failed a couple of years ago. I think
My catalytic converter failed a couple of years ago. I think it was a combination of a stuck AIR valve and a wiring problem that kept causing the fuse that controls both O2 sensors and the EVAP soleno… read more
fordguy4u
fordguy4u
Automotive Tech
Vocational, Technical or Trade Scho
70 satisfied customers
Where is the Exhaust Cam Position Actuator Solenoid located
Where is the Exhaust Cam Position Actuator Solenoid located on 93 GMC Serra Trunk ? … read more
Joecamel90
Joecamel90
Technician
Associate Degree
24 satisfied customers
P0420 bank 1. 06 malibu maxx 3.5. Checked for exhaust leaks
Checked for exhaust leaks sprayed around intake looking for vaccume leakes … read more
Ron Z.
Ron Z.
- Chevy Tech -
19,305 satisfied customers
Exhaust smell with a/c on and windows closed. No it has been
we have mechanics at the factory they checked the exhaust mnaifold and a/c intake but could not pinpoint it we can take it to the dealer if needed … read more
Jerry Newton
Jerry Newton
Vocational, Technical or Trade Scho
2,066 satisfied customers
There is some exhaust fumes getting in the car, 1988 Chevy
Hi, there is some exhaust fumes getting in the car, 1988 Chevy Coup, need a mechanic to fix it… read more
eauto
eauto
self employed
High School or GED
74 satisfied customers
Cleaning exhaust fluid message then goes into engine power
Cleaning exhaust fluid message then goes into engine power reduced. Anything I can do we are in the boonies … read more
Eric
Eric
Retired
N/A
14,436 satisfied customers
2008 Silverado 3500 HD 6.6 question can I do a exhaust
2008 Silverado 3500 HD 6.6 question can I do a exhaust filter delete just the filter I don't want to remove my catalytic converter im in California so I don't want any problems please let me know than… read more
Jerry Newton
Jerry Newton
Vocational, Technical or Trade Scho
2,066 satisfied customers
I Want To Take Out The CATALYTIC CONVERTERS on my 2005 chevy
I Want To Take Out The CATALYTIC CONVERTERS on my 2005 chevy malibu can i disconect the stabilyzer ends and tist it to remove the cat … read more
AMEDEE
AMEDEE
AUTOMOTIVE TECHNICIAN
Vocational, Technical or Trade Scho
9,105 satisfied customers
Pete again, lack of power like a catalytic converter is
Hey Pete again, lack of power like a catalytic converter is stopped up or air filter stopped up, no codes, checked back pressure on pre-cat 02 sensors and after cats, doesnt appear to have stopped up … read more
Pete
Pete
Independent Auto Technician
Vocational, Technical or Trade Scho
138 satisfied customers
Knock sensor on bank 2, catalytic converter on bank 2 codes
knock sensor on bank 2, catalytic converter on bank 2 codes on 4.3 liter 2011express van … read more
Ron Z.
Ron Z.
- Chevy Tech -
19,305 satisfied customers
The catalytic converter. Is it worth the cost to replace it?
the catalytic converter. Is it worth the cost to replace it? … read more
Ron Z.
Ron Z.
- Chevy Tech -
19,305 satisfied customers
Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Disclaimer: Information in questions, answers, and other posts on this site ("Posts") comes from individual users, not JustAnswer; JustAnswer is not responsible for Posts. Posts are for general information, are not intended to substitute for informed professional advice (medical, legal, veterinary, financial, etc.), or to establish a professional-client relationship. The site and services are provided "as is" with no warranty or representations by JustAnswer regarding the qualifications of Experts. To see what credentials have been verified by a third-party service, please click on the "Verified" symbol in some Experts' profiles. JustAnswer is not intended or designed for EMERGENCY questions which should be directed immediately by telephone or in-person to qualified professionals.

Show MoreShow Less

Ask Your Question

x