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Code P0420 is it an oxygen sensor or the catalytic converter?

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The code po420 is the cat efficencey which means the cat is bad but it could be a bad sensor, you will need to have the o2 sensors checked to see but lots of techs say a good tech should know if an o2 is bad but i will tell you i have had some that test good and end up being bad. they tested good at the time i checked them, a good rule that i follow any car with over 80,000 miles on it with a bad converter gets new o2 sensors, this is to help customer and us from comebacks, a weak or slow o2 will destroy the new converter, it may test good at the time of the new converter but then a few months down the road it gets lazy and after a while some ones not going to be happy having to buy another converter after just doing one a few months ago or even a year ago, seen it ,done it, many times,if i were you i would replace the o2 sensors and reset the light and go from there , if light stays out good if not replace the converter, all you are doing is doing it in two steps and you may get lucky and not have to replace the converter good luck.

Posted on Mar 19, 2011

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Code p0420 acura m'dx


1996-newer (OBD-II) vehicles use oxygen sensors and a catalytic converter to reduce emissions. There is one O2 (oxygen) sensor in front of the catalytic converter (called upstream), and one behind it (downstream). When the engine is warmed up and running normally the upstream oxygen sensor reading fluctuates and the downstream one is fairly steady. In the case where both readings are fairly steady, a P0420 check engine light code is set.
Possible Causes: Oxygen (O2) sensor not working correctly
Damaged or leaking exhuast (pipe, manifold, catalytic converter)
Damaged catalytic converter
Diagnostic Help:
To diagnose a P0420 trouble code we begin by checking for exhaust leaks under the vehicle. Then use an oscilliscope to check the waveforms of both upstream and downstream O2 sensors. The front reading should vary, the rear should be steady. Replace as necessary. Check the rear Heated O2 Sensor. Check the catalytic converter, replace if necessary. If necessary, check for wiring and component concerns. See our article "Automotive Circuit Testing 101", if you need more assistance with this. Remember to refer to an model-specific repair manual for proper instruction.

Jan 20, 2014 | 2005 Acura MDX

2 Answers

What is engine code P0420


P0420 - Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)
The catalytic converter has an oxygen sensor in front and behind it. When the vehicle is warm and running in closed loop mode, the upstream oxygen sensor waveform reading should fluctuate. The downstream O2 sensor reading should be fairly steady. Typically the P0420 code triggers the Check Engine Light if the readings of the two sensors are similar. This is indicative of (among other things) a converter that is not working as efficiently as it should be (according to specs). It is part of the vehicle emissions system.

You will likely not notice any drivability problems, although there may be symptoms.

Causes: A code P0420 may mean that one or more of the following has happened:
Leaded fuel was used where unleaded was called for
An oxygen sensor is not reading (functioning) properly
The engine coolant temperature sensor is not working properly
Damaged or leaking exhaust manifold / catalytic converter / exhaust pipe
Retarded spark timing
The oxygen sensors in front and behind the converter are reporting too similar of readings


Some suggested steps for troubleshooting a P0420 error code include:
Check for exhaust leaks at the manifold, pipes, catalytic converter. Repair as required.
Use a scope to diagnose the oxygen sensor operation (Tip: The oxygen sensor in front of the catalytic converter normally has a fluctuating waveform. The waveform of the sensor behind the converter should be more steady).
Inspect the downstream heated oxygen sensor (HO2), replace if necessary
Replace the catalytic converter

One thing to note is that many vehicle manufacturers offer a longer warranty on emissions-related parts. So if you have a newer car but it's out of it's bumper-to-bumper warranty, there still may be warranty on this type of problem. Many manufacturers give a five year, unlimited mileage warranty on these items. It's worth checking into.

Hope this helps (remember to rate and comment this answer).

Jun 28, 2011 | 2005 Chevrolet Cobalt

1 Answer

DTC P0420 on 99 Toyota Corolla Which oxygen sensor to replace- before or after the catalytic converter?


The catalytic converter has an oxygen sensor in front and behind it. When the vehicle is warm and running in closed loop mode, the upstream oxygen sensor waveform reading should fluctuate. The downstream O2 sensor reading should be fairly steady. Typically the P0420 code triggers the Check Engine Light if the readings of the two sensors are similar. This is indicative of (among other things) a converter that is not working as efficiently as it should be (according to specs). It is part of the vehicle emissions system.
Symptoms You will likely not notice any drivability problems, although there may be symptoms.
Causes A code P0420 may mean that one or more of the following has happened:
  • Leaded fuel was used where unleaded was called for
  • An oxygen sensor is not reading (functioning) properly
  • The engine coolant temperature sensor is not working properly
  • Damaged or leaking exhaust manifold / catalytic converter / exhaust pipe
  • Retarded spark timing
  • The oxygen sensors in front and behind the converter are reporting too similar of readings
Possible Solutions Some suggested steps for troubleshooting a P0420 error code include:
  • Check for exhaust leaks at the manifold, pipes, catalytic converter. Repair as required.
  • Use a scope to diagnose the oxygen sensor operation (Tip: The oxygen sensor in front of the catalytic converter normally has a fluctuating waveform. The waveform of the sensor behind the converter should be more steady).
  • Inspect the downstream heated oxygen sensor (HO2), replace if necessary
  • Replace the catalytic converter
One thing to note is that many vehicle manufacturers offer a longer warranty on emissions-related parts. So if you have a newer car but it's out of it's bumper-to-bumper warranty, there still may be warranty on this type of problem. Many manufacturers give a five year, unlimited mileage warranty on these items. It's worth checking into.

May 26, 2011 | 1999 Toyota Corolla

1 Answer

Code p0420 says cat system below threhold


P0420 - Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)
The catalytic converter has an oxygen sensor in front and behind it. When the vehicle is warm and running in closed loop mode, the upstream oxygen sensor waveform reading should fluctuate. The downstream O2 sensor reading should be fairly steady. Typically the P0420 code triggers the Check Engine Light if the readings of the two sensors are similar. This is indicative of (among other things) a converter that is not working as efficiently as it should be (according to specs). It is part of the vehicle emissions system.

Symptoms: You will likely not notice any drivability problems, although there may be symptoms.

Causes: A code P0420 may mean that one or more of the following has happened:
Leaded fuel was used where unleaded was called for
An oxygen sensor is not reading (functioning) properly
The engine coolant temperature sensor is not working properly
Damaged or leaking exhaust manifold / catalytic converter / exhaust pipe
Retarded spark timing
The oxygen sensors in front and behind the converter are reporting too similar of readings

Possible Solutions: Some suggested steps for troubleshooting a P0420 error code include:
Check for exhaust leaks at the manifold, pipes, catalytic converter. Repair as required.
Use a scope to diagnose the oxygen sensor operation (Tip: The oxygen sensor in front of the catalytic converter normally has a fluctuating waveform. The waveform of the sensor behind the converter should be more steady).
Inspect the downstream heated oxygen sensor (HO2), replace if necessary
Replace the catalytic converter

One thing to note is that many vehicle manufacturers offer a longer warranty on emissions-related parts. So if you have a newer car but it's out of it's bumper-to-bumper warranty, there still may be warranty on this type of problem. Many manufacturers give a five year, unlimited mileage warranty on these items. It's worth checking into.

Hope this helps (remember to rate this answer)

May 17, 2011 | 1998 Mercury Mystique

1 Answer

Getting P0420 code & P0303 code...why?


A code P0420 may mean that one or more of the following has happened:
  • Leaded fuel was used where unleaded was called for
  • An oxygen sensor is not reading (functioning) properly
  • The engine coolant temperature sensor is not working properly
  • Damaged or leaking exhaust manifold / catalytic converter / exhaust pipe
  • Retarded spark timing
  • The oxygen sensors in front and behind the converter are reporting too similar of readings
Possible SolutionsSome suggested steps for troubleshooting a P0420 error code include:
  • Check for exhaust leaks at the manifold, pipes, catalytic converter. Repair as required.
  • Use a scope to diagnose the oxygen sensor operation (Tip: The oxygen sensor in front of the catalytic converter normally has a fluctuating waveform. The waveform of the sensor behind the converter should be more steady).
  • Inspect the downstream heated oxygen sensor (HO2), replace if necessary
  • Replace the catalytic converter

Code p0303 means one cyliner is misfireing. Check spark plugs and wiring cables. If one cylinder isn't working good that could be the possible couse for the first code P0420 and all other engine problems.

Feb 25, 2011 | 2005 Isuzu Ascender

1 Answer

Getting OBD codes p0420 and p0430, how to fix these issue with my 2001 Audi A6


2001 Audi A6
EOBD code: P0420
Fault location: Catalytic converter system, bank 1 - efficiency below threshold
Probable cause: Catalytic converter, wiring, heated oxygen sensor 2 (downstream)

EOBD code: P0430
Fault location: Catalytic converter system, bank 2 - efficiency below threshold
Probable cause: Catalytic converter, wiring, heated oxygen sensor 2 (downstream)

Sep 14, 2010 | 2001 Audi A6

1 Answer

P0420P


We are assumingn that you are talking about DTC P0420

P0420 OBD-II Trouble Code - Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)

What does that mean? The catalytic converter has an oxygen sensor in front and behind it. When the vehicle is warm and running in closed loop mode, the upstream oxygen sensor waveform reading should fluctuate. The downstream O2 sensor reading should be fairly steady. Typically the P0420 code triggers the Check Engine Light if the readings of the two sensors are similar. This is indicative of (among other things) a converter that is not working as efficiently as it should be (according to specs). It is part of the vehicle emissions system.

Symptoms: You will likely not notice any drivability problems, although there may be symptoms.

Causes: A code P0420 may mean that one or more of the following has happened:
* Leaded fuel was used where unleaded was called for
* An oxygen sensor is not reading (functioning) properly
* The engine coolant temperature sensor is not working properly
* Damaged or leaking exhaust manifold / catalytic converter / exhaust pipe
* Retarded spark timing
* The oxygen sensors in front and behind the converter are reporting too similar of readings

Possible Solutions: Need a catalytic converter? Visit our catalytic converter shopping area for the lowest price on your replacement converter!

Some suggested steps for troubleshooting a P0420 error code include:
* Check for exhaust leaks at the manifold, pipes, catalytic converter. Repair as required.
* Use a scope to diagnose the oxygen sensor operation (Tip: The oxygen sensor in front of the catalytic converter normally has a fluctuating waveform. The waveform of the sensor behind the converter should be more steady).
* Inspect the downstream heated oxygen sensor (HO2), replace if necessary
* Replace the catalytic converter

One thing to note is that many vehicle manufacturers offer a longer warranty on emissions-related parts. So if you have a newer car but it's out of it's bumper-to-bumper warranty, there still may be warranty on this type of problem. Many manufacturers give a five year, unlimited mileage warranty on these items. It's worth checking into.

Hope helps (remember rated this).

Jul 15, 2010 | 2004 Chevrolet Cavalier

2 Answers

Code p0420 appears what does it mean engine lite came on


P0420 Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)

What does that mean? The catalytic converter has an oxygen sensor in front and behind it. When the vehicle is warm and running in closed loop mode, the upstream oxygen sensor waveform reading should fluctuate. The downstream O2 sensor reading should be fairly steady. Typically the P0420 code triggers the Check Engine Light if the readings of the two sensors are similar. This is indicative of (among other things) a converter that is not working as efficiently as it should be (according to specs). It is part of the vehicle emissions system.


Symptoms You will likely not notice any drivability problems, although there may be symptoms.
Causes A code P0420 may mean that one or more of the following has happened:
  • Leaded fuel was used where unleaded was called for
  • An oxygen sensor is not reading (functioning) properly
  • The engine coolant temperature sensor is not working properly
  • Damaged or leaking exhaust manifold / catalytic converter / exhaust pipe
  • Retarded spark timing
  • The oxygen sensors in front and behind the converter are reporting too similar of readings
Possible Solutions Need a catalytic converter? Visit our catalytic converter shopping area for the lowest price on your replacement converter!
Some suggested steps for troubleshooting a P0420 error code include:
  • Check for exhaust leaks at the manifold, pipes, catalytic converter. Repair as required.
  • Use a scope to diagnose the oxygen sensor operation (Tip: The oxygen sensor in front of the catalytic converter normally has a fluctuating waveform. The waveform of the sensor behind the converter should be more steady).
  • Inspect the downstream heated oxygen sensor (HO2), replace if necessary
  • Replace the catalytic converter
One thing to note is that many vehicle manufacturers offer a longer warranty on emissions-related parts. So if you have a newer car but it's out of it's bumper-to-bumper warranty, there still may be warranty on this type of problem. Many manufacturers give a five year, unlimited mileage warranty on these items. It's worth checking into.

Nov 03, 2009 | 2007 Chrysler Town & Country LX New Cars

1 Answer

Po420" Problems 1996 plymouth van


A code P0420 may mean that one or more of the following has happened:
  • Leaded fuel was used where unleaded was called for
  • An oxygen sensor is not reading (functioning) properly
  • The engine coolant temperature sensor is not working properly
  • Damaged or leaking exhaust manifold / catalytic converter / exhaust pipe
  • Retarded spark timing
  • The oxygen sensors in front and behind the converter are reporting too similar of readings

Some suggested steps for troubleshooting a P0420 code include:
  • Check for exhaust leaks at the manifold, pipes, catalytic converter. Repair as required.
  • Use a scope to diagnose the oxygen sensor operation (Tip: The oxygen sensor in front of the catalytic converter normally has a fluctuating waveform. The waveform of the sensor behind the converter should be more steady).
  • Inspect the downstream heated oxygen sensor (HO2), replace if necessary
  • Replace the catalytic converter

Oct 19, 2009 | 1996 Plymouth Voyager

1 Answer

Check engine light-on OBD code's P0420 & P0430


The codes are Catalyst System Efficiency Below Threshold (Bank 1)&(Bank 2).

The catalytic converter has an oxygen sensor in front and behind it. When the vehicle is warm and running in closed loop mode, the upstream oxygen sensor waveform reading should fluctuate. The downstream O2 sensor reading should be fairly steady. Typically the P0420 code triggers the Check Engine light if the readings of the two sensors are similar. This is indicative of (among other things) a converter that is not working as efficiently as it should be (according to specs). It is part of the vehicle emissions system.

A code P0420 may mean that one or more of the following has happened:
  • Leaded fuel was used where unleaded was called for
  • An oxygen sensor is not reading (functioning) properly
  • The engine coolant temperature sensor is not working properly
  • Damaged or leaking exhaust manifold / catalytic converter / exhaust pipe
  • Retarded spark timing
  • The oxygen sensors in front and behind the converter are reporting too similar of readings
Some suggested steps for troubleshooting a P0420 code include:
  • Check for exhaust leaks at the manifold, pipes, catalytic converter. Repair as required.
  • Use a scope to diagnose the oxygen sensor operation (Tip: The oxygen sensor in front of the catalytic converter normally has a fluctuating waveform. The waveform of the sensor behind the converter should be more steady).
  • Inspect the downstream heated oxygen sensor (HO2), replace if necessary
  • Replace the catalytic converter
One thing to note is that many vehicle manufacturers offer a longer warranty on emissions-related parts. So if you have a newer car but it's out of it's bumper-to-bumper warranty, there still may be warranty on this type of problem.

Oct 06, 2009 | 1997 Ford Taurus

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