When it comes to scrap car parts, catalytic converters prove to be especially valuable, as they contain precious metals like platinum, palladium, and rhodium.
Considering how expensive they can be, you’d definitely want to get the price for your catalytic converter when selling one. However, this is often difficult, as the scrap value may vary significantly.
You can use the serial number of your catalytic converter to know its scrap value before you start looking for buyers. Let’s explore how to go about it and what factors determine the scrap value.
How To Find Catalytic Converter Scrap Value By Serial Number?
Each catalytic converter comes with a specific serial number that reveals plenty of details about it. In fact, the serial number of your catalytic converter would give you most of the information needed to estimate its cost.
As long as you can find the serial number, determining the scrap value will be easy. Here are the steps to find out the scrap value of a catalytic converter from its serial number:
- Start by finding out the serial number. Different manufacturers have their own patterns and locations for adding the serial number, so this might be a little tricky. For instance, Ford keeps the number under a metal shield, which you’d have to cut through to access the number. In Chrysler and Dodge cars, you’ll find the serial number near the edge of the catalytic converter. Audi and VW place the number next to their engraved logos.
- Once you know the serial number, you can find out the price of the catalytic converter from an online database. Accessing this information is easy, thanks to the internet. Simply visit a catalytic converter database web app online or download an app on your phone. Once you input the serial number, the app or the website will provide you with the necessary information. You may also find a live feed of the current market prices of platinum, palladium, and rhodium.
- You will now have a fairly close idea of how much money your catalytic converter can fetch as scrap. This reduces the chances of the buyer tricking you into selling the component at a much lower price. However, several other factors come into play too, on which the scrap value depends.
What is the average scrap value of a catalytic converter?
The scrap value of a catalytic converter actually depends on several factors and varies from one car model to another. For instance, certain luxury car manufacturers use palladium instead of platinum in their high-end models.
Palladium is even more expensive than platinum, which naturally warrants a better scrap value. The volume of precious metals in the component also affects the price.
On average, catalytic converters’ scrap value can be between USD 300 and USD 1500. However, certain catalytic converters are much more expensive and can fetch you a far better cost. This is why it is necessary to research the scrap value of your cat converter before you try to sell it.
Which catalytic converters bring the highest scrap price?
As you would expect, the most expensive catalytic converters come from the top manufacturers of high-end cars. Here is a list of the costliest cat converters, as per 2021 prices, from low to high:
- Ford Mustang: USD 1800
- Ford F250: USD 3300
- Lamborghini Aventador: USD 3700
- Dodge Ram 2500: USD 4100
- Ferrari F430: USD 4500
Of course, the scrap value of these cat converters would be significantly lower, but you can still expect a nice price. For instance, you may be able to sell a Ferrari F430 cat converter for USD 3000.
Do note that Ferrari F430 and Lamborghini Aventador actually have two catalytic converters.
Hence, although the Lamborghini Aventador has the third most expensive cat convertor, it actually holds second place if you consider the total cat converter value. Other cars with expensive catalytic converters include Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe 63, Toyota Prius, etc.
Factors that determine the price of the catalytic converter?
You might wonder why catalytic converters’ scrap value varies so widely. In fact, you can actually get different quotations even for cat converters of the same car model. Factors influencing the scrap value include:
1. The metals present
The high scrap value of catalytic converters comes from the precious metals present in these components. Hence, the exact amount of each metal is the biggest factor behind the scrap value that a catalytic converter will fetch you.
2. Engine volume
This factor is somewhat related to the previous point. The engine volume of a catalytic converter is proportional to its weight. The heavier the cat converter, the more metals it would contain. Hence, catalytic converters with greater engine volume are generally more expensive.
3. Country of origin
Another factor that influences the scrap value of a catalytic converter is its country of origin. You might notice that two catalytic converters from the same car model but with different origins have different prices.
This is due to the varying environmental standards across different countries. For instance, Japan has very strict regulations regarding car emissions.
Catalytic converters made in Japan are manufactured accordingly to meet these regulations. Hence, these are higher quality products and command a relatively better price than cat converters made in most countries.
As with any other product, the condition of a catalytic converter plays a role in determining its scrap value. The worse the condition, the more the price would diminish. Broken or chipped catalytic converters fetch a relatively lower price.
5. The buyer
While it is normal for different buyers to offer different quotations, there’s more to it. The role of the buyer in the process of recycling catalytic converters has an impact on the scrap value, depending on the stage of the recycling process.
For instance, some buyers themselves own recycling centers, while others sell the cat converters to recycling centers and other buyers. A catalytic converter has a corresponding cost at each stage of the recycling process.
Ways to safeguard your Catalytic Converter
Considering the high scrap value of catalytic converters, it comes as no surprise that they are a common target for thieves. In fact, they are among the most commonly stolen car parts.
A catalytic converter can be extremely expensive to replace, besides the inconvenience the theft would cause. Here is how you can safeguard yours:
- Consider installing a steel shield over the cat converter. The shield will make it much harder for thieves to remove the component.
- As an alternative to a steel shield, you may also install a cage made of high-strength steel, such as rebar.
- You could weld stainless steel cables from the cat converter to your car, thereby requiring thieves to cut through the cables if they want to steal the component.
- Mark your catalytic converter with fluorescent paint and add your car’s license plate number to it. Thieves will be less likely to steal a marked catalytic converter, as dealers often refuse to buy them in order to avoid potential trouble.
- It would be a good idea to install a car alarm and a motion sensor in your vehicle. The car alarm will alert you in case anyone applies force to detach the car converter. A motion sensor can set off the alarm as soon as anyone tries to get under your car.
- As you’d expect, thefts are more common in areas without proper lighting. Getting under a car and stealing its catalytic converter in a well-lit area is quite risky. Hence, parking it in such a place is easy to dissuade thieves.
- Thieves first need to slide under your car to detach a catalytic converter. Park your car next to walls or fences, blocking access underneath.
What to do if your catalytic converter gets stolen?
If you are unfortunate and your catalytic converter does get stolen, make sure to lodge a report with the police.
This will help them track down the miscreants and make arrests, especially if you etched the cat converter with your license plate number. The police often work with muffler shops to nab catalytic converter thieves.
You’ll have to provide your insurance company with these photos of the damaged exhaust pipe. Contact a repair shop to get the stolen cat converter replaced.
However, you’d want to first consult a mechanic regarding whether driving your car to the repair shop without the catalytic converter will result in further damage.
As scrap, a catalytic converter is essentially more valuable than gold. Not knowing the value of your cat converter can cause you to settle for a much cheaper price unknowingly.
You should certainly conduct thorough research to get an estimate of the scrap value before you start looking for quotations from potential buyers.