The P0420 code is another common diagnostic trouble code that can occur in most cars. It indicates that there is a problem with the catalytic converter, which is responsible for reducing the number of harmful pollutants in exhaust gas.
The P0420 error code can cause the check engine light to come on and can lead to several issues with your vehicle’s performance.
Causes of the P0420 Error Code
The P0420 error code is typically caused by a faulty catalytic converter or a problem with the oxygen sensors. The oxygen sensors are responsible for monitoring the amount of oxygen in the exhaust gas, and the catalytic converter uses this information to convert harmful pollutants into less harmful gases. If the catalytic converter is not functioning properly or if there is a problem with the oxygen sensors, the P0420 error code can be generated.
Common symptoms of the P0420 error
The P0420 error code is typically associated with several common symptoms that can indicate that there is an issue with the catalytic converter or oxygen sensors.
Here are some of the most common symptoms of the P0420 error code:
- Check Engine Light: The most obvious symptom of the P0420 error code is the check engine light illuminating on the dashboard. This light may be solid or flashing, depending on the severity of the issue.
- Reduced Power and Acceleration: A faulty catalytic converter or oxygen sensor can cause your vehicle to have reduced power and acceleration, making it more difficult to drive and pass other vehicles.
- Poor Fuel Economy: The catalytic converter is responsible for converting harmful pollutants into less harmful gases, and a faulty converter can cause your vehicle to burn more fuel than usual, resulting in poor fuel economy.
- Smell of Rotten Eggs: If the catalytic converter is not working properly, it may produce a foul smell, often described as a “rotten eggs” odor, due to the buildup of sulfur in the exhaust system.
- Failed Emissions Test: If your vehicle is due for an emissions test, a faulty catalytic converter or oxygen sensor may cause it to fail the test, as the converter is responsible for reducing the amount of harmful pollutants released into the environment.
- Rough Idle: A malfunctioning catalytic converter or oxygen sensor can cause your vehicle to idle roughly or stall, making it difficult to start or keep running.
If you notice any of these symptoms in your vehicle, it is important to have it diagnosed by a professional mechanic to determine the cause of the issue and prevent any further damage to your vehicle.
Diagnosis of the P0420 Error Code
To diagnose the P0420 error code, a mechanic will typically use a diagnostic scanner to read the code and determine the cause of the issue. They may also perform a visual inspection of the catalytic converter and oxygen sensors to check for any obvious signs of damage or wear.
Additionally, they may perform a test of the exhaust gas to determine if the catalytic converter is functioning properly.
Cost of Diagnosing the P0420 Error Code
The cost of diagnosing the P0420 error code can vary depending on the make and model of the vehicle. The following table shows the estimated cost of diagnosing this code in different car brands:
|Car Brand||Estimated Diagnosis Cost|
|Toyota||$80 – $100|
|Honda||$75 – $95|
|Ford||$90 – $120|
|Chevrolet||$95 – $125|
|BMW||$120 – $150|
|Mercedes||$140 – $170|
Fixing the P0420 Error Code
If the cause of the P0420 error code is a faulty catalytic converter, it will need to be replaced. This can be an expensive repair, as catalytic converters can cost several hundred dollars.
If the cause of the issue is a problem with the oxygen sensors, they may need to be replaced or recalibrated.
If you are not comfortable performing the repair yourself, it is recommended that you take your vehicle to a professional mechanic or dealership. They will have the necessary tools and expertise to fix the issue and ensure that your vehicle is running properly.
What happens when you don’t fix P0420 Error?
When the P0420 error code is not fixed, the problem with the catalytic converter or oxygen sensors will continue to persist, which can cause several issues with your vehicle’s performance and emissions. Here are some of the consequences of not fixing the P0420 error code:
- Poor Performance: A faulty catalytic converter or oxygen sensor can cause your vehicle’s engine to run poorly, resulting in decreased power and acceleration.
- Reduced Fuel Economy: A malfunctioning catalytic converter can also cause your vehicle to burn more fuel than usual, resulting in reduced fuel economy and increased expenses on fuel costs.
- Increased Emissions: The catalytic converter plays a crucial role in reducing the amount of harmful pollutants released into the environment.
If it is not working properly, your vehicle will emit more pollutants into the air, contributing to air pollution and environmental damage.
- Failed Emissions Test: In most states, vehicles are required to pass emissions tests to be considered roadworthy. If the P0420 error code is not fixed, your vehicle will not pass the emissions test, and you will not be able to renew your registration.
- Further Damage to Engine Components: If the issue with the catalytic converter or oxygen sensors is not fixed promptly, it can cause other engine components to malfunction and eventually fail, leading to costly repairs.
In summary, not fixing the P0420 error code can lead to decreased performance, reduced fuel economy, increased emissions, failed emissions tests, and potentially even further damage to other engine components.
In conclusion, the P0420 error code can be a frustrating issue for vehicle owners, but it can be diagnosed and fixed with the help of a professional mechanic. By understanding the causes and diagnosis process of this code, vehicle owners can ensure that their vehicle is running smoothly and avoid costly repairs in the future.