How Is Catalytic Converter Scrap Price Determined?Photo from Unsplash


How is catalytic converter scrap price determined? This guide explains the key contributing factors along with expert selling tips to help you get top price.

We all know what catalytic converters are. They keep the air around us clean by absorbing the bad carbons and gasses that fuel creates as it combusts. But what happens to catalytic converters after they’ve stopped being helpful and what kinds of catalytic converter scrap price’s can you expect to sell them for?

Well, it turns out that that’s a much more complicated question than you might think. We’ll start or explanation with scrap material value and then move on to the nitty-gritty details to determine exact pricing.

But first, let’s talk about the lifespan of a catalytic converter and the signs that a cat is failing and needs replacing.

How long do Catalytic Converters Last?

The average catalytic converter will last for ten years under normal conditions (~13,500 miles a year).

However, depending on a car’s storage situation or heavy use, a catalytic converter can last a much longer or shorter time. Think between five and fifteen years.

How Do you Know When to Replace Your Catalytic Converter?

What can cause a catalytic converter to fail?

The most common answers to this question include oil contamination, overheating, physical damage, and clogging. It can be challenging to tell when you should replace your cat, but a couple of common tells are decreases in power and sulfur-like smell.

A failed catalytic converter can also trigger your check engine light.

What Parts of Your Catalytic Converter give it the Most Value?

Your catalytic converter value stems from the valuable parts and metals that they use to transform gasses and chemicals into other gasses and chemicals that are much less harmful. Those materials are listed below.


You know the gorgeous bright white metal that rings and other pieces of jewelry are made from? That same metal is inside of catalytic converters.

However, as you’ve probably guessed, platinum isn’t in a catalytic converter to be pretty. Instead, platinum is your car’s first line of defense against harmful gasses. As gasses from your engine enter your cat, they interact with the platinum, and a chemical reaction occurs that separates many of the harmful particles from your car’s emissions.

The platinum from your spent catalytic converter is refined and reconstituted into pure metal during the recycling process.


Palladium is like a higher-end version of platinum in the catalytic converter world.

So, if you have a luxury car, it will most likely have palladium in its cat that can be harvested and recycled for a nice profit instead of platinum.


Rhodium sounds awesome and is awesome at the same time. Rhodium’s main job is to synergize with platinum or palladium to filter and clean the air that passes through your converter.

If you pair rhodium with platinum, then you’ll boost the effectiveness of platinum. If you pair rhodium with palladium, you’ll boost palladium’s ability to remove toxins specifically.

Like platinum or palladium, rhodium is a precious metal, so to recycle it, all that needs to happen is thorough smelting to purify the metal.

Rhodium isn’t quite as valuable as palladium or platinum, so scrappers will prioritize it the least during the scrapping process.

Ceramic and Metal Meshes

Ceramic meshes are great for capturing exhaust gasses, but they’re harder to recycle than metal ones. So, if you have ceramic in your catalytic converter, you probably won’t be able to recycle it.

On the other hand, if you have metal mesh, then that should be easy to recycle!

The mesh on the inside of your catalytic converter has two functions, slowing down the air that passes through it and catching contaminants. Consequently, the metal meshes in your converter will need to be purified and smelted thoroughly before manufacturers can reuse them in new cats.

Metal Shielding

Finally, we come to the shielding that surrounds and protects the insides of your catalytic converter.

This metal isn’t typically valuable. Instead, it’s made from a thin sheet metal like stainless steel. Still, you can get a reasonable price for it as the sheet metal makes up 80% of the catalytic converters mass.

What’s the Total Amount You Can Typically Get for Your Scrap?

This is a complex number to estimate because it varies on a case-by-case basis. Why? Well, car companies don’t all source their cats from a single warehouse.

Instead, every car company will typically make their own catalytic converters tailors to every individual car’s emissions. For example, if you have ten catalytic converters and you find an ounce of platinum in one, you could end up finding less than half an ounce of platinum in the following nine!

Still, we’ve done our best to give you a good estimate.

For a:

  • Domestic built cat expect between $24-62 (higher if your car is a GM)
  • Foreign built cat expect between $32-250 (depending on the size)

We know that this is a significant variation in prices, but it truly is the best we can do for a general price range. For an exact estimate, we’ll need you to go through our catalytic converter grading process.

How Do You Find Catalytic Converter Buyers?

There are two types of businesses that will typically buy your used catalytic converters.

Occasionally, you’ll be able to sell your cat to your local auto parts store or an auto wrecker. However, cat recycling requires specialty tools that most people won’t have access to. To that end, any auto parts store or wrecker will usually be reselling cat to a recycling specialty service (that means you won’t get as much money).

That brings us to the next logical selling option, specialty recycling services! Honestly, it just makes sense to cut out the middle man and get the most for your cat. You can typically find these companies with a google search for “where to sell catalytic converters” or something similar.

Work With Us and Get the Best Catalytic Converter Scrap Price

If you’ve been reading this blog, then congratulations! You’ve found your very own specialty recycling service. We’ve been recycling catalytic converters for people for years, and we hope that you’ll join the growing number of people we’ve helped.

How about it? want to get the best catalytic converter scrap price you can? Work with us today.

We would love to help.

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