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Good morning and happy mothers day to all the MOM'S. I have a 2002 Chevy Impala and some months ago I noticed my gas mileage wasn't as good as it used to be. The check engine light never came on.

Now this past week my check engine light came on but the car still ran ok but the gas was really leaving so I thought I May have a leak. Yesterday the car felt like it was stalling while I was driving and trying to run hot. I went to Oreillys and the guy said I didnt have any coolant in it and filled it up so that fixed the running hot issue but the check engine light remained on. So he used the machine and the code was catalytic converter.

  • How difficult is it to fix this?
  • Is it worth fixing or should I just trade it in?

Unfortunately it's Sunday and no one is open and I have to go to work in the A.M.

  • Is it safe to drive it to work?
  • How long can I drive it in this condition?
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tl dr: It isn't going to kill anything to drive to work in the AM.

As for your issue, it may or may not be the catalytic converter. You'd need to check to see if this is the issue or if the secondary O2 sensor(s) are giving a bad reading. Here is another answer I wrote which describes how to check the operation of the catalytic converter itself.

As for the gas mileage, depending on how many miles are on your Impala, it's probably way overdue for new O2 sensors. These should be changed out every ~100k miles. The first thing which you'll see which shows an issue here is, you guessed it, a drop in fuel mileage. O2 sensors become lazy when they get old, and then you will see the loss of fuel mileage. Best thing to do at this point is to replace the O2's and let the system work itself back into a good state.

While you won't kill anything to drive it into work, you won't be doing your car any favors to leave it like this for a long period of time. Whatever the final diagnosis is, you'll want to take care of it sooner rather than later. If you have the means to do it yourself, take care of it. If not, get it into the shop for diagnosis and repair as soon as you are able. BTW, to my way of thinking a bad cat or O2 sensors is no reason to trade off a car. Just doesn't make economic sense (in and of itself).

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