Does The Dealer Have To Replace The Catalytic Converter On My 2003 Toyota Matrix

Question: Does The Dealer Have To Replace The Catalytic Converter On My 2003 Toyota Matrix,
The “check engine” light in my Matrix 2WD came on at 105,000 miles so I took it to my regular mechanic. He put it on a tester and said the cat converter needed to be replaced. I asked him what that would involve cost-wise and he said I should take it to the dealership because even if he were to replace it, only the dealer would be able to reset the car so it would start.

I asked him to explain this and he could only tell me that his mechanic said I would have to have it towed to the dealer to reset the car (I am assuming a chip of some sort). I took the car to Autozone for a free test where they also got the same code for catalytic converter. My mechanic said I should not continue driving it much longer because doing so can damage other components. Of course, the dealer is salavating at the prospect of getting the job.

After reading the other postings and the TOO big price of replacing these things, I find it hard to believe that I am trapped into having to fork over $1600 to the dealer for this repair! I can find the catalytic converters online for around $400 … and I think maybe $800 would include parts and labor.

Can somebody please provide some good information about this issue?

Best answer for Does The Dealer Have To Replace The Catalytic Converter On My 2003 Toyota Matrix

When it comes to catalytic converters, if it’s the original converter, the dealer MUST replace a defective converter free of charge if it’s still within the warranty range (8 -10 years depending on the manufacturer), doesn’t matter if you’re the original owner or the fifth owner. The dealer must put back in the exact same part whether it’s just the cat or if it’s part of an assembly. Muffler shops can just cut out the cat and replace it with the appropriate universal one or order the part from an auto parts store.

Since catalytic converters don’t have any moving parts to fail, if one goes bad it’s usually due to some other cause. The dealer probably won’t warranty the repair unless they fix what made the converter fail in the first place – which means they have to diagnose it ($$$) and then fix it ($$$). It might be something simple like the O-2 sensor(s), or something a little more involved. Whatever it is, you shouldn’t have to pay for the converter on a car that’s 5 years old.

If you have it handy, look in the Owner’s Manual, there should be something in there about the warranty on the emissions parts. If not, contact the service department at Toyota and ask them straight out what’s the duration of the warranty on the catalytic converter for your Matrix.

In this case, you’ll be better off taking it back to the dealer because if you go to a muffler shop, you’re gonna have to come out of your pocket for the converter, and then STILL fix whatever went wrong in the first place so you don’t kill the new converter (the muffler shop won’t honor any applicable warranty if the condition that made the first converter go bad still exists). If you go to the dealer, they’ll diagnose it and fix it, and the converter should be no charge. The dealer already has higher labor rates and since they use OEM parts, the price is at the premium already. The dealers don’t like warranty work because they don’t make money on them. They’re going to charge you to fix whatever (they think) is wrong, but they can’t charge you for the warranteed items.

When I ran a muffler shop, anybody that came in with converter trouble I let them know that if the car was less than 7 years old (back then) that they should go back to the dealer. The one’s that did got their converters replaced no charge, whether or not they had other work done I don’t know, but they were thankful they didn’t have to shell out $$$ for them because back then they were really expensive (in the early ’90’s, any Ford, Lincoln or Mercury with a V-8 in it had FOUR converters – if one or both of the front ones went, you had to change ALL four because it was an assembly). Hopefully the dealer won’t spend too much time diagnosing the problem and it’s just the O-2 sensors – they can be as cheap as 20 bucks, or cost over $120. Good luck.

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