Is it illegal to sell a car without a catalytic convertor?

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  #1  
Old 05-13-08, 11:28 AM
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Is it illegal to sell a car without a catalytic convertor?

My fiance traded his bike with a friend for a 95 honda accord and come to find out when we got pulled over for the exhaust we went to get a quote to see how much to replace and was told by the shop the car had no catalytic convertor and therefore that should be breach of contract and we should be able to get the bike back? Do you know if this is true? I know its illegal to NOT have a catalytic convertor on the car as we were told by the shop but did his friend unlawfully sell us this car knowing there was no convertor attached? Please advise ... any help will do ???

PS - I live in Washington state if that helps?
 
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  #2  
Old 05-13-08, 12:31 PM
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Catalytic Converter Laws

Rules for Replacing Converters
In 1986, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency issued new guidelines for the construction, efficiency and installation of aftermarket catalytic converters. All CleanAir converters listed in this catalog have been designed, tested and manufactured to meet this policy.
In addition, CleanAir converter listed in this catalog is appropriate for use under the current requirements of the California Air Resources Board (C.A.R.B.).
E.P.A. guidelines state that replacement converters may be installed only in the following situations:
1. The vehicle is missing a converter
2. A state or local inspection program has determined that the existing converter needs replacement
3. Vehicles manufactured prior to 1996 must have more than 50,000 miles, and a legitimate need for replacement must be established and documented
4. In cases of OBD Il-equipped vehicles (1996 and later), the O.E. manufacturer's 8-year/80,000-mile warranty must have expired and a legitimate need for replacement must be established and documented.
Please note that Federal law prohibits removal or replacement of a properly functioning O.E. converter.
When replacement of the converter is appropriate (as outlined above), the E.P.A. further requires that:
1. It be installed in the same location as the original
2. It be the same type as the original (i.e., two-way, three-way, three-way plus air/three-way plus oxidation)
3. It be the proper model for the vehicle application as determined and specified by the manufacturer
4. It be properly connected to any existing air injection components on the vehicle
5. It be installed with any other required converter for a particular application
6. It be accompanied by a warranty information card to be completed by the installer.
http://www.catalyticconverter.org/law/index.htm

It is possible that the catalytic converter was stolen and the seller was unaware of this. Stealing catalytic converters seems to be the latest craze among thieves. They contain valuable metals for recyclers.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/29/us...rssnyt&emc=rss

Driving a car without a catalytic converter is illegal unless age of vehicle is exempt. Car will not pass emissions test. It is illegal to sell a car with tampered emissions system.
 
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Old 05-13-08, 01:01 PM
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Depends, how close of a friend is he?
 
  #4  
Old 05-13-08, 01:36 PM
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The seller of the car told us he was not aware the convertor was not on the car when he sold it to us. He says he talked to the D.O.L. and they told him he did not do anything wrong. The body shop that checked out the car said it is the sellers responsibilty to know what is on or not on the car at time of sale. Does this mean we can pursue legal action against this guy for selling us the car without a convertor even though he's claiming he was not aware? Thanks for your help
 
  #5  
Old 05-13-08, 01:39 PM
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He was supposedly a best friend of his. We think he was trying to pull a fast one on us and get an almost brand new bike for a fraction of the cost of the car and basically took advantage of our situation knowing we were in desperate need of a car. He claims he wasn't aware the convertor wasn't on there but he also told us when he first sold it to us that he did all repairs on the car and it was good to go so if thats the case then he would have noticed there was no convertor and sold it to us anyways. We want to take legal action if we have a case? What do you think?
 
  #6  
Old 05-13-08, 02:05 PM
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Consider cost of legal action versus new catalytic converter. It may be best to chalk it up to a lesson learned that one should have a used car checked out by the mechanic prior to purchase.

If the 'friend' did his own mechanic work, then it appears that he would notice the converter was missing. Of course, he could have sold it to a recycler for some extra cash. Or, someone could have stolen it without his knowledge and sold to a recycler.
 
  #7  
Old 05-13-08, 05:50 PM
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The truth be told, since the car in question is not OBD2 compliant, it will likely run fine without the converter.

If it WAS OBD2 compliant, it never would. It would be impossible to negate the Onboard Diagnostics that monitor the converter efficiency. What it means is there would be an O2 sensor in front and behind the converter in the exhaust.

As far as it being illegal to sell the car, that will depend upon the state laws.
 
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Old 05-13-08, 06:39 PM
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I have been poring over Washington statutes and have found nothing that would allow you to rescind the sale based upon the missing converter.

I also found no support in any Washington DOL literature that would support such action either.

Ask the mechanic if he can support his statement with any statutory support.

It is illegal per federal law to tamper with an emissions control system but unless you can prove your friend did this or had it done and then concealed the action, you are going to spend way more than you would ever gain in proving it.

Other than that, his claim of ignorance will go a long way in his defense.
 
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Old 05-14-08, 12:42 PM
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Originally Posted by twelvepole View Post
Or, someone could have stolen it without his knowledge and sold to a recycler.
How can you not know it wasn't there? It would have an open exhaust and make a heck of a noise.
I'm sure a thief would take the time to install a test pipe after stealing the converter.
Either buddy took it off himself, or he bought the car without one.
 
  #10  
Old 05-17-08, 02:56 PM
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Was there a written contract? What does it say? Is there anywhere on the contract that states: "As is?" This woud be the final word of the outcome of this issue.

No sales contract but pink slips were exchanged at the DMV? ...then you will lose in a court of law. However, If he did not sign over the car to you at the DMV and vice versa (your bike), then legally you are still the rightful owner of your bike. Get your bike back and lose friend over something stupid.

What would I do? I would just get a catalyc converter installed (under 100 bucks) and move on with life. I would not break a friendship over stupid stuff like this. I don't think your friend sold/traded you the car to intentionally screw you over. I really don't.

A stolen catalytic converter? You must be kidding or that robber must've been of the dumbest criminals in the world. To think a robber laying on his back in your driveway, with a hacksaw making more noise than the morning train, for at least a 1/2 hour would seem hilarious to me. (give or take another 15-20 minutes to slip in a straight pipe). In fact, I would pay big miney to watch this event just for laughs . A used catalytic converter has no $value what so ever. Someone stealing a cat would be the first i've heard of it.
 
  #11  
Old 05-17-08, 04:27 PM
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"A used catalytic converter has no $value what so ever. Someone stealing a cat would be the first i've heard of it."

Thieves can remove a catalytic converter in less than a minute with a metal cutting tool. Toyota's are held on with four bolts.

Converters bring big money at the metal recycler.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23117250/

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...0/ai_n16143183
 
  #12  
Old 05-17-08, 07:01 PM
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Originally Posted by twelvepole View Post
"A used catalytic converter has no $value what so ever. Someone stealing a cat would be the first i've heard of it."

Thieves can remove a catalytic converter in less than a minute with a metal cutting tool. Toyota's are held on with four bolts.

Converters bring big money at the metal recycler.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/23117250/

http://findarticles.com/p/articles/m...0/ai_n16143183
Wow! I had no clue. Thanks for the update. But I still see no big money if a brand new Honda cat costs around a hundred bucks. What would the salvage $ be?
 
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Old 05-18-08, 04:38 AM
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I don't know what the salvage value is on a used cat but junk yards look on them as gold

There was a rash of catalytic convertors stolen around here about a yr or so ago. They used a battery operated saws all - only takes a minute. Most were stolen from car lots - after hours.
 
  #14  
Old 05-20-08, 12:42 PM
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I bought a 2001 Toyota Corolla in March from a small used car dealer in Auburn, Washington. It had a cat on it, but when my mechanic looked at it (after the purchase, much to my embarrassment), he said it was not the correct model, was not meant to fit on the engine, had been rigged in some idiosyncratic way, and was completely nonfunctional. The O2 levels were exactly the same before and after it.

It will cost me about $1,000 to replace it (c. $750 for the cat and the rest for labor). He suggested that perhaps it was illegal for the dealer to sell the car to me like this, even if I did sign and "As Is" agreement.

My sense from this discussion is that he was wrong - that my signing the "As is" means I'm stuck paying to have it repaired before the next time I have to pass emissions. But this will NOT be "under $100."

Live and learn, I guess . . .
 
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Old 05-20-08, 01:27 PM
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Originally Posted by norajpercival View Post
IIt will cost me about $1,000 to replace it (c. $750 for the cat and the rest for labor).
I check around and get a few more prices. 5-6 yrs ago I had a complete exhaust system put on my jeep [including cat] and it was only a little over $200. I wouldn't think prices would have jumped that much.
 
  #16  
Old 05-20-08, 02:52 PM
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Nora

Ouch, unless I'm really way out in left field, something isn't right. Autozone shows a cat for a 2001 corolla at $70.00 Maybe someone accidently added a zero on the estimate

I second and third the check around for other prices! And maybe a new mechanic, who doesn't own a boat. lol
 
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