My check engine light came on last Sunday, which is never a good sign. So, I took it to the Chevy dealership this morning to have them fix the bum spark plug wires that I had received a recall notice for and to have them tell me why the check engine light was on. I was told that I needed a new catalytic converter and that it would cost me around $700 to replace, so I made an appointment to take it in on Thursday morning.
Since the catalytic converter was replaced in 2006 under warranty and I later discovered a recall notice in the glove compartment that had to do with the catalytic converter, I was having a hard time understanding why I had to pay to replace this part. When I told Father of Ken how much they wanted to charge me, he told me to make some phone calls and see if I could find a better deal. On a whim, I Googled "2002 Chevy Impala catalytic converter" and found out that there is more to the story than the dealership wanted to tell me.
I had asked them why I would need to replace a catalytic converter that is less than 3 years old and they told me that they couldn't find my records because the dealership has changed owners. The guy told me that it wasn't covered under warranty anyway and dismissed me, which was annoying.
Apparently, you just have to ask a few questions of the right people. GM has a "campaign" for catalytic converters--not a recall or an extended warranty. Basically, they know that the catalytic converters they put into some 2001-2002 model Chevrolets suck and they have extended the "free replacement period" to 10 years or 120,000 miles. In order to find out if you qualify, you have to call the GM Customer Assistance Center, give them your VIN and keep asking if you qualify for the "campaign" until they relent. The woman that I spoke to tried to tell me that I didn't qualify for a free replacement because the car is no longer under warranty. I kept telling her that I thought I qualified for the campaign and finally she put me on hold for about five minutes and came back to tell me that indeed, I do.
So, I just have to take my service request number to the dealership on Thursday when I take the car and they will replace it for free. Oh, and I'm at 119, 755 miles right now, so I'm getting in right under the wire.
The moral of the story is to keep asking questions and doing research if you think that you're right about something like this. It took some time, but it saved me a lot of money.