How much is a catalytic converter worth?

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How much is a catalytic converter worth?
1800 Salvage employee checking under the bonnet of a vehicle
Sell Salvaged Vehicle
By
Doug Whiffin
Doug Whiffin
Business Development Manager
February 11, 2024
4
minute read

Sell your scrap catalytic converter for the highest price

To the right buyer, a second-hand vehicle is a first-rate opportunity. To those who know how to salvage and recycle components and raw materials, a vehicle’s catalytic converters are a prize worth top dollar.

Whether you’re selling your converter to a private buyer or a professional salvager, you need to know how they’re valuated to make sure you’re getting paid what they’re worth.

In this quick guide, we’ll explain what catalytic converters are, why they’re so valuable, and how you can use them to get the best price if you want to sell your salvage vehicle.

What is a catalytic converter?

A catalytic converter is essentially an air purifier that strips environmentally harmful elements out of a vehicle’s exhaust gases. 

The vehicle’s running engine produces harmful gases, like carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide. The exhaust manifold siphons these gases into the catalytic converter, which has a honeycomb-like internal structure coated in precious metals, namely rhodium, palladium and platinum. These metals react with the fumes and convert unburned hydrocarbons into nitrogen gas and oxygen gas, which then exit through the exhaust pipe at the back of the vehicle.

While no catalytic converters are perfect, new and original-manufacturer converters are highly efficient. 

What to do with an old catalytic converter

Like every component in your vehicle, converters degrade with time. If the ‘check engine’ light on your old or second-hand vehicle is constantly lit up, it might be because your converter is clogged. One option is to look into buying a new catalytic converter. They can get quite pricey, depending on your car model. 

Another option is to sell your vehicle. Certain car brands fetch quite a tidy price on the resale market, as do converters. It all depends on who you sell it to — but we’ll get to that in a moment.

How much can a catalytic converter sell for?

The scrap value of a catalytic converter ranges from $50-$250. Second-hand converters in good condition or for rare or larger vehicles can have even higher values.

Why is a catalytic converter so valuable?

Scrap catalytic converter prices tend to be high because of the value of the reactive metals within them: rhodium, palladium and platinum. As we covered earlier, these metals are the reason why these components can do what they do. These metals are also extremely rare.

Mining the platinum-group metals needed to manufacture new catalytic converters is extremely expensive. That’s why second-hand converters, from which these elements can be recycled, are so valuable. 

How to get the best price when selling catalytic converters

Since the catalytic converter can be so valuable, you’ll need to know how to value yours, whether you’re selling your car as a whole or just the converter on its own.

Here are three points of information buyers will want from you.

  1. Vehicle make and model
    Converters from rare, classic and late-model may be of more value to the right buyer.
  2. OEM designs
    ‘Original Engine Manufacturer’ parts are the components that come with the new vehicle, and fetch higher prices than aftermarket parts by second-tier manufacturers.
  3. Engine type
    While electric vehicles do not have converters, gasoline and hybrid cars do. In fact, hybrid engines typically run at lower temperatures and produce more unburned hydrocarbons, and so come with more powerful (and high-value) catalytic converters.

The value of the catalytic converter you’re trying to sell will also depend on a few more volatile factors.

  • The value of each platinum-group metal can fluctuate depending on economic conditions and mining results.
  • A particular buyer’s salvage/recycling costs will affect how much they’re willing to pay you.

Ultimately, the best way to get the best price for your catalytic converter is to find the right buyer.

How to find the right buyer for your catalytic converter

There are two avenues you can go down to sell your catalytic converter for the most cash:

  1. Private buyers
  2. Professional salvagers

To attract private buyers, you can put out a public ad on social media or the website of a car parts buyer. This option can be a great start since it’ll let you see what prices other sellers are having success with. You may also get multiple buyers who are willing to compete.

Getting in touch with a professional salvager is extremely easy — they’ll have a website through which you can contact them. Salvagers will usually put in the effort to pick up your vehicle or parts directly, and may even sweeten the deal with instant payouts.

Our advice is to go with both options: get quotes from private buyers and salvagers. That way, you can be sure you’re getting the most competitive price for your catalytic converter.

Our quick pitch

1800 Salvage is one of Australia’s leading vehicle salvage specialists. Our nationwide network lets us pick up and instantly pay for old, damaged and second-hand vehicles of all types from any state in the country.

When we value your scrap vehicle for a quote, we’ll factor in the value of its catalytic converter to ensure our quote is as competitive as possible. Thanks to our extensive bank of parts buyers and component recyclers, we know we have the funds ready to offer you a jaw-dropping price. And, of course, we’ll pick up your vehicle for free and pay you instantly.

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Get in touch for friendly advice

Whether you want to buy or sell salvage vehicles, we are here to help. Get in touch and we will get back to you soon with the information you need.

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