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My Car Started Roaring Like a Lion This Morning. Could it Be My Muffler?

My Car Started Roaring Like a Lion This Morning. Could it Be My Muffler?

By Jack Bulko, AutoAid

The other morning a young man drove his 2006 Toyota Prius into the shop complaining of a very loud sound that he didn't hear when he parked it last evening. He recently moved to the area and found our repair shop on Yelp. His first question to me was, why is my Prius roaring like a lion? Could it be my muffler? I wasn't sure if it was his muffler or not, but I knew we needed to look at it before diagnosing the problem.

It could have been something as simple as a damaged muffler or something much more complicated such as a leak or crack in the exhaust system's manifold. But first we had to take a look at it. We began by isolating the problem. That didn't take long as it was evident that someone had removed the catalytic converter. We needed to install a new one on the car, but first I had to tell my customer what had happened and what it would cost to replace it. 

The young man shook his head and seemed bewildered as to why someone would steal the catalytic converter. "Okay, what is it going to cost to replace it?" he asked.

Before answering his question, I inquired whether he had comprehensive coverage on his car insurance and what his deductible was because he should submit a claim. Catalytic converters are required on passenger cars as a way to cut down on dangerous emissions such as hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxide, and can be costly. So, although his Prius will function without a converter, he can be fined if his car doesn't have one. He wasn't happy about the situation he found himself in, especially after I told him that the last one we had replaced for a customer cost about $2800. The price can go even higher depending on the vehicle. Thieves can easily reach under the car and cut off the converter. Apparently, stolen catalytic converters have become a serious issue in the San Fernando Valley even though it's illegal to buy or sell used converters in CA.

The customer knew he had to have it fixed but was very concerned about the cost of the repair. I felt for the guy and suggested he sign up for our Auto Pass card, which will give him six months to pay off the work without interest charges. He agreed, realizing that he didn't have much choice at that point.

Before we replaced the converter, we performed our courtesy Car & Truck Courtesy Check, allowing our technicians to visually inspect seven major areas of the vehicle, including more than 38 separate points. We looked at the wiper and washer system, exterior lights, AC, and battery to your car's filters,oils and fluids, belts and hoses, tiresbrakes, steering, and suspension, etc.We determined that outside of the missing converter everything else was in working order.

On his way out that day, the young man stopped by the office and told me how impressed he was with our diagnostics and service and was glad that he found us on Yelp. Customers return to us time and again because we treat them with respect, care for their vehicles as if they were our own, and offer fair pricing. They are also impressed by our reviews on Facebook and Google and our long-standing AAA recognition as an Approved Auto Repair and Customer Service Winner

As I'm typing this blog, my son David informed me of a phone call he received from another customer, who is also the owner of a Prius, noting the same thing happened to him the previous evening. There appears to be a hot run on Prius catalytic converters.

If your converter or any other part of your vehicle needs repair, our trained technicians are here to serve you. Our shop is in the heart of the San Fernando Valley at 14852 Vanowen St., Van Nuys, CA 91405. To make an appointment, call us at 818-305-6632 or visit our website. AutoAid and has been serving the community since 1979.

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