I ignored a check engine light and had to pay 800.00 for a plugged catalytic converter. Yes it matters. I should have not been cheap, and looked into the reason vs keep driving and driving.
So you break the law and drive with no tags? There are a lot of things I do not appreciate about government laws and regulations. You can avoid paying taxes and then sit it Lewisberg Pa Prison in my area. It's the law. I have an old car that runs fantastic with no catalytic converters. You go through inspection here with no cats on a late model; it's a brick sitting in a driveway with no tags. I do not know what your point is. If you want to drive on the street, you need tags. My state Delaware makes you return your metal plate as well on the back of your car. Then your insurance company sends a letter that you have zero insurance. I know as I went through this. If you have a legal way, other than moving from the Northeast area of the USA, by ignoring and doing nothing with your cars, let us know. I need tags so I can drive to work.
If you read some of 16:01's comments on other threads, you will see that their remedy for a check engine light is to put a piece of black tape over it!
No one is advocating driving without tags or legal registration. As I have stated, our area does not require unlit check engine lights because they are not related to safety issues, and emissions tests are a separate procedure. All three of my vehicles are legally registered and fully insured. And none of them are "beaters". All are like new and one is shown in local car shows.
My concern is the tremendous and unnecessary financial burden placed on people such as single mothers or elderly people on fixed incomes by corrupt repair shops. I have long been a staunch advocate of car owners learning a few basics about their cars in order to avoid being taken advantage of.
Although it is very easy to run the codes on check engine lights (and free) few people even know that. If you take your car to a shop, you will probably be told that you need hundreds or thousands of dollars in repairs even if the real problem is simply a poor seal on the gas cap. As a car enthusiast and mechanic, it grieves me to see elderly, single moms or hard-working but poor young people taken advantage of. In thirty years I've only seen one instance of a clogged catalytic converter (on a car with 300,000 miles), yet I see comment after comment on here about "clogged cats". That reeks of a dishonest diagnosis to me. A clogged converter will manifest very obvious symptoms, not just a lit check engine light.
In my own case I know precisely why my light is on and choose not to fix it because it is actually beneficial. It codes as "engine running cool". I didn't need the scanner to tell me that as the gauge clearly indicates 10-15 degrees cooler than the computer default setting. In our area summer temperatures routinely exceed 100 degrees so I'm not remotely concerned about LESS heat stress on my engine. It's better for it, and after 76,000 miles I see no reason to fix it. It obviously isn't hurting anything.
We trade cars only when we get bored with the ones we have. We have never traded a car because it was "worn out" or having problems. Some of our cars we have kept over 300,000 miles, some we have grown tired of very quickly. Our "quick trade" record is one that my wife bought new, drove a whopping 800 miles and traded because her friends made fun of it. All our cars are domestics because we have never had any problems with domestics. They just never break. Cars will last virtually forever if you take care of them.
I'd never, ever advise anyone to break the law. I just hate to see our working poor and elderly have to bear the burden of unscrupulous repair shops. A single mom being charged $275 to have a tail light bulb replaced is downright shameful. Many such people have to have a car to get to work, go for doctor visits, etc. And young people on a budget have a hard time paying $1500 for a muffler. A whole exhaust system for a Mustang can be bought and installed for $800.