A catalytic converter is usually quite an expensive car component due to the fact that it contains precious metals. The most important part of a catalytic converter, the area that filters out pollutants, is a honeycomb structure made of ceramic. The ceramic contains catalysts like Rhodium, palladium, and platinum.
With all three of these metals being quite costly, it’s only natural that a catalytic converter holds high scrap value. Car owners getting rid of their old vehicles often want to find out the amount of platinum in their cat converters, as it can fetch a fair amount of money as scrap metal.
How much platinum is in a catalytic converter?
In case you wonder how much platinum your car’s cat converter has, it’s actually hard to know the exact amount without knowing your car’s model.
The amount of platinum in a catalytic converter ranges from three to seven grams, varying from one manufacturer to another. Even among cars from the same manufacturer, different models can have catalytic converters with different amounts of platinum.
What vehicles have the most platinum in the catalytic converters?
The easiest way to identify vehicles with the most platinum in their catalytic converters is to find out which cars have the most expensive catalytic converters. Some of the cars that have the most platinum in this component are:
- Toyota Prius
- Honda Accord
- Ferrari F430
- Chrysler 200
- Lamborghini Adventador
- Ford Mustang
- Ram 2500
- Chevrolet Equinox
- Jeep Patriot
Of course, these are only some cars with high amounts of platinum in their cat converters. You will have to find out the platinum amount by car model if you are trying to find out how much platinum a particular car has in its catalytic converter.
How much platinum is in the average converter?
You’ll find around three to seven grams of platinum in a standard catalytic converter. However, as we mentioned previously, this can vary quite significantly.
Several American car brands have begun using bead converters, which are cheaper and have smaller amounts of precious metals in them. Similarly, a large catalytic converter for a powerful engine would have a greater amount of platinum in it.
How much is platinum worth?
Currently, a gram of platinum costs just over 27 US dollars, while an ounce costs USD 864. While this is still a tad pricey, the scrap value of platinum in a cat converter is still much lower than the total scrap value.
However, one should remember that the converter also has palladium and rhodium, with the latter being the most expensive metal on earth. If you are planning to sell your catalytic converter, it is always a good idea to first find out the amount and value of precious metals in it so you can avoid lower quotes.
Which catalytic converters have the most platinum?
Some vehicles have significantly higher amounts of platinum in their catalytic converters compared to others. These include:
Low emission vehicles
Low emission vehicles that run on conventional fuels have low emissions largely due to their catalytic converters. These cat converters are larger and more powerful than other vehicles in their class, and can purify the exhaust gasses more efficiently.
Naturally, this also means larger amounts of catalysts, including platinum. The Toyota Prius serves as an ideal example of this, which is why the car is also a popular target for cat converter thieves.
Diesel vehicles generate much more toxic emissions than gasoline vehicles, and therefore require more efficient catalytic converters to balance it out. Especially after the establishment of strict emission laws, car manufacturers have had to increase the size of catalytic converters in diesel cars.
Hence, the catalytic converters of diesel vehicles contain larger amounts of platinum. Diesel catalytic converters require so much platinum that platinum used to cost five times as much as palladium before the production of diesel vehicles decreased around 2015.
High-end sports cars
High-end sports cars usually have expensive catalytic converters too, in order to regulate the emissions from their powerful engines. In fact, cars like the Lamborghini Adventador and Ford F430 have two catalytic converters.
Their cat converters are among the most expensive ones in the world, even if you were to consider the value of only one cat converter. Two such catalytic converters would have a much larger amount of platinum combined.
Generally, the price of a catalytic converter is a good indicator of the amount of precious metals in it, including platinum. The more platinum it has, the costlier it would be.
Where does platinum Come From?
Also known as ‘white gold’, this silver-white metal is quite rare. Most of the platinum currently available in the world comes from either Russia or South Africa.
In fact, 80% of the world’s platinum originates from mines in South Africa, while Russia provides another 10%. The remaining 10% platinum reserves lie scattered around, but are mostly in North and South America.
In most cases, one has to extract platinum as byproducts of processing other metals, as the metal doesn’t usually occur in pure form. When it comes to commercial platinum production, it’s usually a byproduct formed while refining copper-nickel ores to extract the nickel.
What Kind Of Metal Is Platinum?
Platinum is the most notable among the six platinum family metals, which is evident from the nomenclature of the family. This silvery-white metal has been extremely rare and pricey since ancient times, used primarily for jewelry and decorative pieces.
In modern times, however, platinum has much more important and practical uses, including scientific instruments, medications, and magnets.
Platinum is a noble metal, which means it is highly resistant to oxidation. This is one of the factors that makes it suitable for use in catalytic convertors, as it would otherwise be susceptible to corrosion.
The metal also has a very high melting point, which helped it gain the reputation of an ‘unmeltable metal’ in ancient times. Platinum can easily bond with a wide range of elements, and acts as an excellent catalyst.
The metal is soft and malleable, so one can easily shape it as desired. This makes platinum a practical and convenient choice for various applications. The fact that platinum is highly resistant to corrosion makes it perfect for various implants, such as pacemakers and dentures.
However, the most common use of platinum is the manufacture of catalytic converters. It accounts for more than 50% of the global platinum demand.
The platinum in your car’s catalytic converter can fetch a fair amount of scrap value if you plan to sell it. Likewise, if you are in need of a catalytic converter replacement, you should generally expect to shell out anything between USD 1000 and USD 3000.
In this regard, also remember to safeguard your catalytic converter from theft, as it’s quite common for thieves to target this component for its high scrap value.
If you plan to sell away your old catalytic converter as scrap, make sure to get the right deal.