The catalytic converter (sometimes called “cat converter” or just CAT) is one of the most crucial and precious parts of your vehicle.
Crucial — because it converts harmful emissions in your exhaust to safer elements.
Precious — as it contains valuable metals like palladium, platinum, and rhodium. Needless to say, these metals add significant scrap value to the car part.
So, how do you find the scrap value of your car’s catalytic converter?
We’ll explore how to find the catalytic converter scrap value by serial number and address other related topics, like how to safeguard your CAT from theft.
This Article Contains:
- 3 Steps to Finding Catalytic Converter Scrap Value by Serial Number
- Common Catalytic Converter Serial Number Formats
- What Affects Catalytic Converter Scrap Value?
- When to Get a New Catalytic Converter (and Sell Your Old One for Scrap)
- How to Prepare for Catalytic Converter Recycling
- How to Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft
- Which Vehicles Have the Most Expensive Catalytic Converters?
- Most Targeted Cars for Catalytic Converter Thefts
Let’s get started.
3 Steps to Finding Catalytic Converter Scrap Value by Serial Number
The catalytic converter converts your engine’s harmful emissions, such as carbon monoxide, into less toxic gases. But if you want to replace it, sell it, or salvage parts from a wrecked vehicle, it’s helpful to know the scrap value of your old catalytic converter.
Here are three steps to finding the catalytic converter scrap value by serial number:
1. Locate the Serial Number
Before you can find out the catalytic converter scrap value, you’ll need to locate the serial number.
The catalytic converter serial number is usually carved or stamped onto the metal on the cat converter’s body, but it depends on the car model. Alternatively, the serial number can also be found on the small plate attached to the catalytic converter or the edges of its body.
The serial number print is generally a combination of figures and letters, and can range from 3-12 digits, depending on the vehicle manufacturer.
2. Use an Online Website
Once you locate the catalytic converter serial number, you can use various online databases and apps, such as Eco Cat, to do a catalytic converter price lookup and find the scrap value. This could potentially help you find the highest scrap price.
3. Use a Picture to Gauge Scrap Price
If you’re having trouble locating the serial number, you can take a picture of the scrap catalytic converter to gauge its scrap price.
Now that we have a general idea of how to find the catalytic converter scrap value by serial number, let’s look at some serial number formats.
Common Catalytic Converter Serial Number Formats
You’ll find these serial numbers in different formats imprinted on the edges of your car’s catalytic converter.
|Car Brands||Serial Number Reference|
|Ford Catalytic Converter||9–14 digits, usually split into three parts|
|Toyota Catalytic Converter||5 characters with a combination of letters and digits. Some will have an “L” or an “R” after them|
|Dodge Catalytic Converter||Varies drastically from model to model|
|Volkswagen Catalytic Converter||9 characters with a combination of 1-3 letters, all separated by spaces|
|GM Catalytic Converters||8 digits, usually starting with “GM”|
|Nissan Catalytic Converter||Usually, 3 to 6 characters with a combination of letters and digits but may vary|
|Mazda Catalytic Converter||4 characters with a combination of letters and digits|
|Honda Catalytic Converter||Varies drastically from model to model|
|Chevrolet Catalytic Converter||7-10 digits|
|Aftermarket Catalytic Converter||Varies drastically from model to model|
|Medium Foreign Catalytic Converter||Varies drastically from model to model|
Scrap catalytic converter price varies often. Let’s find out why.
What Affects Catalytic Converter Scrap Value?
Scrap catalytic converter worth can vary greatly, from a low $10 each to over $1000.
Let’s take a look at some factors that drive scrap catalytic converter pricing:
- The precious metal composition of the car part influences catalytic converter scrap prices. The market value of platinum, palladium, and rhodium fluctuates constantly but remains relatively high.
- The condition of the scrap catalytic converter is also crucial. The more well-kept it is, the higher the catalytic converter price.
- The type of catalytic converter also affects its worth. A gasoline cat converter fetches a higher price than a diesel catalytic converter. The difference is that a gasoline cat converter has more precious metals than a diesel catalytic converter.
- An OEM converter (Original Equipment Manufacturer) and an aftermarket catalytic converter also differ in value. An OEM converter is more valuable than an aftermarket CAT, as manufacturers must include high doses of precious metals.
As the catalytic converter scrap value depends on its condition, keeping an eye on its overall integrity is essential.
When to Get a New Catalytic Converter (and Sell Your Old One for Scrap)
Here are four signs that you need a new catalytic converter:
- Odometer reading: Have a mechanic look at your car’s catalytic converter when your odometer hits 100,000 miles, as it may probably hit the end of its lifespan soon.
- Rattling sound: A rattling sound while driving may indicate structural damage.
- Fuel inefficiency: The condition of a cat converter impacts engine performance and fuel inefficiency. A damaged converter can affect acceleration. If your car consumes more fuel than usual or becomes noticeably slower, it’s time to contact a mechanic.
- Bad odor: Be on the lookout for foul smells from your exhaust pipe. After all, the primary function of the catalytic converter is to clean up exhaust fumes such as nitrogen oxide.
Spending on expensive catalytic converters isn’t likely an option if yours is damaged. But if it’s time to finally scrap your old catalytic converter, selling it can help offset the cost of a new one.
Many people sell their old catalytic converters to scrap yards, which requires some preparation.
How to Prepare for Catalytic Converter Recycling
If you’re looking to sell your cat converter as scrap metal, here are a few steps you’ll need to take before catalytic converter recycling:
1. Cut Off Exhaust Pipes
The catalytic converter has exhaust pipes at both ends. To prep for recycling, you’ll need to cut each thin pipe off as close to the shell as possible.
2. Keep The Honeycomb Intact
You’ll notice a honeycomb structure (the auto catalyst carrier) as you inspect the component. The mesh-like structure filters exhaust fumes and houses all the precious metal compounds. You’ll need to keep this part in pristine condition to increase the catalytic converter price.
But what can you do about someone trying to steal your catalytic converter?
How to Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft
Catalytic converter theft happens worldwide as catalytic converter prices increase yearly.
But don’t worry.
Here are a few ways to prevent your catalytic converter from being stolen for its valuable metal:
- Install a steel shield: Catalytic converters are easy to reach. So, you’ll need a metal shield to cover the component and reduce the chances of theft.
- Mark it with your license plate number: Use fluorescent paint to mark your catalytic converter with your license plate number. This way, scrap yards are less likely to buy a stolen catalytic converter.
- Install a car alarm: Install a car alarm with motion sensors. It will alert you if anyone tries to steal any car parts.
- Install surveillance cameras: To avoid the loss of a crucial car part, consider installing a camera next to your garage.
Even with several safety measures, owning certain cars increases the likelihood of catalytic converter theft.
Which Vehicles Have the Most Expensive Catalytic Converters?
Some vehicles are known for having more expensive catalytic converters due to the high dosage of valuable metal.
Here are a few examples of car brands with the highest catalytic converter prices:
- Lamborghini Aventador: $3,200 each (contains 2 cat converters)
- Dodge RAM 2500: $3,500
- Ferrari F430: $3,500
- Ford F250: $2,750
- Ford Mustang: $1,500
- Toyota Prius: $1,022
That said, just because a car has an expensive CAT, doesn’t mean it’s easy to steal. Let’s drill deeper and see which cars are often targeted for CAT theft.
Most Targeted Cars For Catalytic Converter Thefts
Thieves typically target a vehicle with an expensive catalytic converter. Hybrid electric cars with low emissions, such as the Toyota Prius, have been subject to more theft as they have an expensive catalytic converter installed.
The Ferrari F430, Ford Mustang, and Ford F250 are constant targets for thieves.
These cars have a higher scrap catalytic converter price compared to other standard vehicles, like the Chevrolet Impala from General Motors.
Here are car models that often face the issue of a stolen catalytic converter:
- 1985-2021 Ford F-Series pickup trucks (including the F-150, F-250, etc.)
- 1989-2020 Honda Accord
- 2007-17 Jeep Patriot
- 1990-2022 Ford Econoline vans
- 1999-2021 Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks
- 2005-21 Chevrolet Equinox
- 1997-2020 Honda CR-V
- 1987-2019 Toyota Camry
- 2011-17 Chrysler 200
- 2012-2020 Ferrari F430
It’s easy to find your catalytic converter scrap value once you know how and where to check.
But before you decide to sell your converter as scrap metal, it’s good to have an expert mechanic check your car and see if you need a new one.
Looking for a reliable auto mechanic?
AutoNation Mobile Service has expert technicians who provide high-quality auto services right from your driveway.
We can assist you with your catalytic converter repair and any car-related problems. All you have to do is book an appointment to have one of our mechanics come to you.