Should I drive my 2001 Prius with a broken catalytic converter?

Discussion in 'Generation 1 Prius Discussion' started by Haleyo, Feb 28, 2011.

  1. Haleyo

    Haleyo New Member

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    Hello, my name is Haley and I own a 2001 first generation Prius, with about 150,000 miles on it. The catalytic converter on it is broken, and has been for quite a few months. I've been driving it anyways, because I'm a broke college student (as in, I was sleeping in the car for a while kind of broke). Don't ask me why I have a Prius when I'm as poor as I am, it's a long story :) I have a room and everything now, so I'm not starving or anything, but I don't have money to throw at repairs.
    The check engine light is on, but otherwise I haven't noticed anything. The MPG might be a little lower than it was before. I think it was 44 MPG before the problem arose, now the screen is showing about 41. I took it into the shop, but it would cost at least $1,400 to fix, which is obviously money I don't have.
    Here's the thing, and this is where I am going to start sounding really ridiculous. My friends and I are what most people would call "groupies." We follow a band called 30 Seconds to Mars around, and call ourselves the Echelon. Pretty silly, right? But we all agree that seeing Mars in LA is more important than basic needs, and I've skipped a meal or two to spend a moment in their presence...It sounds pretty nerdy, and it is. But it's incredibly important to us.
    So over winter break we went to a number of their shows, from Las Vegas, to San Diego, up through to Seattle, etc. We couchsurf or sleep in the car, and pack lots of PB&J's to cut costs. One of the shows we were supposed to go to in Cali over winter break was postponed (due to "scheduling conflicts," that's all I could get out of the drummer...) and me and my crazy groupie friends all agree that if we miss the postponed date, our lives will end abruptly and horrifically. So we have to get back down to LA in April somehow. Last time we took Jolene's car, but it's olllddd and barely survived the trip. She's not willing to risk it again, and I'm the only other member of our cult...*ahem* group that owns a car. We've thought about renting one, but then only Jolene would be able to drive (as the rest of us are under 21), and when you live off of instant ramen noodles and spend all your money on Mars tickets, you don't have much cash to through around on rentals.
    The question is, should I offer to take my car? Other then the CC, everything else on it works fine. But driving a car with a faulty CC isn't too great for the environment, and I'm worried that it might do damage to the vehicle.
     
  2. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human - Animal Hybrid

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    Do you know the code that the shop read from the car when they gave you the $1400 estimate? P0402 is a common code for catalyst efficiency failure - it means that the cat is no longer able to "store" oxygen and therefore is not converting CO and NOx anymore.

    If that is the case, you aren't doing any damage to the car, but you are putting out more pollutants than you would with a working cat. Maybe almost as much as the average diesel powered pickup truck. :madgrin:
     
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  3. Patrick Wong

    Patrick Wong DIY Enthusiast

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    Actually, DTC P0420 is the code for catalytic converter failure. P0402 relates to an EGR problem which is not going to be a Prius engine issue.

    I agree that continued use of a vehicle that has logged DTC P0420 will not harm the powertrain, just the environment.
     
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  4. tochatihu

    tochatihu Senior Member

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    Greetings Haleyo, not every day does a unique Prius story get posted here. So congratulations on that. I haven't met any band-followers since the Doobie Brothers. You don't want to know how long ago that was.

    Please give no thought to the international concert dates. Your car is not seaworthy.
     
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  5. dogfriend

    dogfriend Human - Animal Hybrid

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    Oops, you are correct as usual. Dyslexics untie. :madgrin:
     
  6. Haleyo

    Haleyo New Member

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    @tochatihu and @dogfriend haha your posts actually literally made me lol

    @PatrickWong and the rest of you, thanks for the info! I can rest a little easier knowing that all my car is doing is spewing out massive amounts of pollutants...? :p
    Now that I know that my car should be able to make the trip, the only question remains is wether I should. Since that's a moral question, I guess I've gotta make it!

    -Hoodenpyle :)
     
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