Bad o2 sensor or cat

According to the blinking light my 96 Integra its telling me the cat is operating below efficiency. Here in the great state of PA we need emissions tests every year and next month is time for mine. Is there a
way to tell if the o2 sensors are bad or a new cat is really needed? I don't feel like paying for a new cat.
O2 sensors output a voltage that the computer reads, correct? I wonder if the voltage starts to drop off it will say the sensor is bad. Maybe make a voltage divider to fool the computer?
Adam
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This error shows up mostly on cars that are primarily city-driven.
Take the car out to the highway for a good, hard, hour's run. Longer if you can. Highest speed you can get away with (legally of course...). Turn on headlights, A/C, rear window defroster, also open all the windows, anything to increase load on the engine. You want to heat up the cat good and hot to help it burn off the contaminants.
Problem might go away, believe it or not.
If PA's smog just plugs the car in instead of subjecting it to a dyno, you'll need to wait at least three ignition on/off drive cycles for the ECM's memory to clear. Then book a new smog check.
You also might want to check the car's original purchase date. The Federally-mandated eight-year cat warranty is measured from that.

Not quite. The secondary sensor is supposed to flatline at reference voltage (about .45V). If it starts flip-flopping like the primary sensor, the efficiency code will eventually be set.
Your ECM conducts regular 5-minute checks on secondary sensor operation. If it gets three failures in a row, it will also set a code.
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TeGGeR®

The Unofficial Honda/Acura FAQ
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I have had many cats, and only one or two of them have been bad: Grandkitty and Mousehound. Grandkitty is just plain mean sometimes, and Mousehoud used to pee in my shoes.
My TSX however doesn't have any blinking lights which inform me of the status of my cats, good or bad. I don't know, but I'm pretty sure that there's no interface between the car and the cats. None of the cats have Bluetooth. Sometimes they have redtooth when they eats mices or birdies.
I wish you luck with your 96 Integra and your cats.
Peedunkle X. Quaffno
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