I an an upstate New Yorker who was given a 98' Sebring by my Floridian sister 3 years ago. The car was in good shape with 157,000 miles -- having had new seals and valves installed at 148,000 miles with it's original engine that has never been in a wreck.
I am fanatical about changing the oil and keeping the other aspects (such as trans-mission) maintenanced - though I do use low octane gasoline. There was one oil leak - which I duly repaired. The engine light has come on sporadically all during this period. I have been told it was the catalytic converter, and also I have been told it is not. My feeling is that my main mechanic is honest, but simply doesn't know what it is. Nor do his referrals.
I can't afford a new car - nor can I afford the $2,500 the Midas guy said it would cost to replace the catalytic converter. My husband says the knocking is one of those knocks that is not fatal and he wishes that I weren't pulling my hair out over it. But I am.