Blog Car Care Advice How to Find Catalytic Converter Scrap Value by Serial Number
Car Care Advice

How to Find Catalytic Converter Scrap Value by Serial Number

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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.

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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 Database

Once you locate the catalytic converter serial number for your car brand and model, you can use various online databases and apps, such as Eco Cat, to do a catalytic converter price lookup and find the market value. This could potentially help you find information on the highest scrap price or potential buyers.

3. Use Pictures to Gauge Scrap Price

If you’re having trouble locating the serial number, you can take pictures of the scrap catalytic converter to gauge its scrap price on an online database.

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 BrandSerial Number Reference
Ford Catalytic Converter9–14 digits, usually split into three parts
Toyota Catalytic Converter5 characters with a combination of letters and digits. Some will have an “L” or an “R” after them
Dodge Catalytic ConverterVaries drastically from model to model
Volkswagen Catalytic Converter9 characters with a combination of 1-3 letters, all separated by spaces
General Motors Catalytic Converter8 digits, usually starting with “GM”
Nissan Catalytic ConverterUsually, 3 to 6 characters with a combination of letters and digits but may vary
Mazda Catalytic Converter4 characters with a combination of letters and digits
Honda Catalytic ConverterVaries drastically from model to model
Chevrolet Catalytic Converter7-10 digits
Aftermarket Catalytic ConverterVaries drastically from model to model
Medium Foreign Catalytic ConverterVaries 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:

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:

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:

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:

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:

Get a Catalytic Converter Check

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.