Free Catalytic Converter Scrap Price List 2023 (Complete Guide To Selling Scrap) (2024)

  • Luka Kusic

Updated on August 4, 2023

Catalytic converters are an ingenious invention that significantly reduces the output of harmful emissions into the atmosphere.

Interestingly, the materials used in the manufacturing process make catalytic converters valuable not only for their functional purpose but also as a source of valuable materials.

If you’ve got a car that is unfit for sale and you’ve got no other option but to sell it in parts, then removing the catalytic converter and selling it either as a used part or for scrap is a great idea.

Catalytic converters’ scrap prices range drastically, from just $10 for an aftermarket cat all the way to $1100 for large and rare models. For example, the 1997 Ford 9C24 PIG converter can get you up to $1072, while an average GM converter goes for $200.

There are a lot of contributing factors to the value of a scrap cat converter, so in this article, we’ll cover the reasons why they’re so expensive, and what kind of price range you can expect depending on the make and model of your car.

What Is The Current Market Value Of A Catalytic Converter As Scrap?

The value of a catalytic converter depends on a lot of variables. Is it new or is it used? Is it aftermarket or original? How rare is it? What types of precious metals is it built with? These are the type of things that will affect the price.

To give you a general idea of how much a catalytic converter is as scrap, I looked at RRcat’s current scrap prices. These are accurate as of the time of this writing. The lowest-priced catalytic converters are aftermarket cats, coming in at $10 each. The highest-priced catalytic converters go for upwards of $1198, however, the average is more around the range of $30 to $300 range. Fluctuations in the precious metal markets cause the value of catalytic converters to change daily.

Which Cars Have the Most Valuable Catalytic Converters For Scrap In The USA?

There are several cars that have much more expensive catalytic converters than average. They are expensive because they are rare or have a high content of valuable metals. According to data from 2020, the most expensive catalytic converter belongs to the Ferrari F430 with a mind-boggling $3,770 price tag. They even require two of them!

Here are some other really high-priced catalytic converters:

  • Lamborghini Aventador – $3,120 each (requires 2 cats)
  • Dodge Ram 2500 – $3,460
  • Ford F-250 – $2,804
  • Ford E-Series – $1833
  • Ford Mustang – $1,500

Catalytic Converters – All You Need to Know

Before catalytic converters were invented, all of the exhaust fumes created as a byproduct of the internal combustion process would get expelled directly into the open air.

To make matters worse, most vehicles at that time used carburetor injection which is far from an optimal system. On top of that, through ineffective government regulation, leaded gasoline remained in use until 1996, even though unleaded gas was readily available since 1975.

Combine all of these factors together, and you get toxic levels of congestion in cities and a serious global environmental hazard.

Swapping to direct-injection systems allowed for more precise administration of fuel, greater performance, and lower emissions output, but that was still not enough to satisfy the environmental standards.

When Were Catalytic Converters Invented?

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It was clear that some form of an exhaust filter was necessary to reduce the number of emissions leaving the exhaust system.

The first prototypes were built almost in parallel with the first automobiles and laid foundations of how a catalytic converter should work by using platinum, iridium, and palladium in a tubular cylinder housing to filter the fumes.

In the 1950s a French mechanical engineer by the name of Eugene Houdry made a significant breakthrough in the field. He was an expert in catalytic oil refinement and knew the environmental dangers of unfiltered exhausts.

He founded the Oxy-Catalyst company and coined the catalytic converter and cat converter terms. His first inventions were installed on factory smokestacks, followed by industrial forklifts and eventually cars in the mid-50s.

Through further development by other engineers like Carl D. Keith, Antonio Eleazar, and John J. Mooney, the catalytic converter reached the point where it could be mass-produced and satisfy the needs of the new Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation.

The act dictated that all vehicles built from 1975 had to include a two-way catalytic converter to pass the emissions test.

These two-way catalytic converters focused on removing carbon monoxide and unburned hydrocarbons from the exhaust fumes. We would later receive the three-way converters, which would also eliminate nitrous oxide emissions.

How Do Catalytic Converters Work?

The operating principle of the catalytic converter is extremely simple, as there are no moving parts within the housing. The only thing necessary for the chemical conversion to happen is the presence of heat and exhaust fumes.

The catalytic converter has two honeycomb meshes inside of it: one coated in platinum and rhodium, and the other coated in platinum and palladium.

The chemical composition of the exhaust fumes includes carbon oxides (CO2 and CO), nitrogen oxides (NO2 and NO), and various carbon-hydrogens (CxHx).

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When these elements enter the catalytic converter, the heat, and the first honeycomb mesh will break the chemical bonds, creating: N2, O2, CO, Co2, H2O, and CxHx. This process is called a reduction.

The second honeycomb mesh is involved in the oxidation process, resulting in N2, O2, CO2, and H2O, compounds that are far less harmful than they were in their original state.

A 3-way catalytic converter has an efficiency rate above 90%, making it extremely important for emission reduction.

What Are Catalytic Converters Made of and Why Are They So Expensive?

The production process for a catalytic converter isn’t particularly complicated and it doesn’t contribute to its high price.

The value comes from the materials it’s made of rhodium, platinum, and palladium.

  • Rhodium has a price of $15,400 per ounce or $495 per gram.
  • Palladium has a price of $2,049 per ounce or $65 per gram.
  • Platinum has a price of $977 per ounce or $31 per gram.

On average, a catalytic converter contains 3-7 grams of platinum, 2-7 grams of palladium, and 1-2 grams of rhodium. Speaking purely in numbers, that’s at least $700 in precious metals alone, but there’s a catch.

These metals were finely coated over the honeycomb mesh, and to extract them, the catalytic converter needs to go through a series of smelts before all of them can be extracted. Still, a cat converter holds a high value, especially the OEM models.

Where Can I Get a Complete Scrap Catalytic Converter Database?

There are several databases online that you can use to get an idea of how much catalytic converters are worth. The major scrapyards and recycling facilities have a complete list of converters and their scrap prices on their websites, while smaller sites offer quotes based on the images of your converter.

With the explanations out of the way, let’s look at the current market prices for catalytic converters. (Prices were accurate at the time of this writing. You may want to check current pricing before making any decisions.)

YS Catalytic Recycling

YS Catalytic Recycling LLC is one of the biggest catalytic converter buyers in the New York state area. The prices listed in the table below are their latest offer but are subject to change depending on the supply and cost of raw materials.

Current Market Price for Catalytic Converters as Scrap with YS Catalytic Recycling

These prices change daily. We recommend you check for yourself as the below pricing will change.

Catalytic Converter ModelPrice
SE 6-LINE$183
SE 5-LINE$141
SE LOW (10 LINE, 13 LINE)$70
O2 SLANT$281

Ecotrade Group

The Ecotrade Group is not as transparent with its converter prices, but they’re willing to quote you on any converter, provided you first sign up to their website for free.

Through their online catalog, you’ll be able to estimate the value of your converter based on the content of the precious material. Once you’ve decided to sell it, you can schedule a DHL home pick-up and have your converter shipped from home.

The last step is getting paid, which happens once the delivery is made and assessed, typically in 3 business days.

RR Cats

The next company we’ll look at is RR Cats, a company that offers a fast and easy way to sell a scrap catalytic converter.

Current Market Price for Catalytic Converters as Scrap with RR Cats

These prices change daily. We recommend you check for yourself as the below pricing will change.

Catalytic Converter TypePrice
Large Foreign Cat$76 – $455
XL Foreign Cat$205- $304
Regular Domestic Cat$18 – $132
Large GM Cat$105 – $285
Flow Cat$14.99- $450
Bead Cat$18- $247
Exotic Cat$276 – $568
Torpedo Cat$138- $1198
Small Foreign Cat$15 – $217
Medium Foreign Cat$67- $421
Pre-Domestic Cat$18 – $93
Foreign Pre-Cat$16- $227
High Grade Domestic Cat$40 – $608
Small GM Cat$18 – $79
Diesel Cat$15 – $484
Aftermarket Cat$10
DPF Cat Converter$9 – $769

On their website, you’ll find images for each model so you can get an idea of what you’ve got. They’ve also got a phone app that gives you a quote based on the image of your cat converter.

The buyout is done through free shipping, so you can pack up your cat converter and send it their way. If you want to do it in person, they’re located in New Jersey and the Tri-State area.

How Do You Check Catalytic Converter Scrap Prices?

There are a few ways to check the price of a catalytic converter:

  1. Browse recycling websites to find the scrap cat converter prices.
  2. Use a mobile app to take a picture of your cat converter and get a quote.
  3. Search on marketplaces for used catalytic converters for sale.
  4. Call the scrapyard or visit it in person.
  5. Check the price through the serial number.

The easiest way to find scrap catalytic converter prices is to look at online catalogs and tables provided by the larger recycling companies.

These tables provide an approximate price or a price range for a group of vehicles, but they’re not 100% accurate and do not cover model-specific information.

That’s where the direct quotes come in, which you can get through either a mobile app or by uploading a picture along with a filled form on the website. The support agents will quickly estimate the value of your catalytic converter and send you a quote.

Checking the used marketplaces for auto parts before selling the converter into scrap is always a good idea. There is a good market for selling used OEM converters, as they’re better than aftermarket options while being much cheaper than brand-new converters.

Phoning the scrapyard or visiting them in person is another way of checking the price, but you can also run a serial number search to get a quote. We’ll talk about the last method in more detail in the following section.

How to Find Catalytic Converter Scrap Value By Serial Number

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Next to the VIN number, the serial number of a catalytic converter is a very useful piece of information for getting the right price quote. The only trouble is getting the serial number off the converter, as most of the time, it rusts along with the housing.

Fortunately, there are a couple of ways you can get to the serial number. First, you must locate the stamp, even if it’s faded – it’s usually located close to the O2 sensor hole.

Rub the serial number in oil (whichever mechanical oil you’ve got) to clean it and create a contrast between the housing and the etching.

If that’s not enough to get the whole number, you can use a piece of steel wool to lightly scrape the rust and dirt off, and expose the numbers. Just be careful not to work it too hard, as you can flush the numbers with the housing.

Once you’ve got the full number, you can run it through one of many converter databases and get an accurate price quote.

How Do Scrap Recyclers Determine The Value of Catalytic Converters?

Scrap yards look at the following conditions when deciding how to value a catalytic converter:

  • Make and model of the car
  • Condition of the converter
  • Current market prices of the rare metals inside the cat

Different makes and models have catalytic converters with different amounts of rare metals. The more platinum, palladium, and rhodium there are in the catalytic converter, the more it’s going to be worth. These metals are very expensive, especially Rhodium as it’s the most rare.

The condition the converter is in will also make a difference. The better shape it’s in, the higher price it will fetch. The scrap company will look at how much of the rare metals are intact and functional. If it is damaged, clogged, or contaminated it will have less viable metals and a lower scrap value.

Current market prices also play a heavy role in how much you’ll get for your catalytic converter. Prices of these metals have dropped a lot from 2021 until now, so that will make a large impact on the amount of money you can get by selling your catalytic converter. You can view the recent price changes of the rare metals below:

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How to Prevent the Theft of Catalytic Converters

Unfortunately, catalytic converters are a prime target for theft due to how valuable and easily accessible they are. Stealing the stereo or navigation system would require getting past the lock doors and the alarm, but the catalytic converter has no safety systems.

Reinforcing the housing with steel bars or chains won’t do you much good, as thieves are going to approach the job with an angle grinder anyway. Even though you can’t physically reinforce the converter, you can still take preventive measures.

The most important factor in keeping your catalytic converter safe is the parking location. The process of stealing a converter may be quick, but it’s also really loud, which we can use in our favor.

Park your vehicle in areas with bypassers, in an illuminated driveway, secure car park, or in an enclosed garage. People may not pay attention to the thief using a car jack on your car, but when they hear the angle grinder they might take action or call the cops.

A fine-tuned car alarm can respond to minor contact or elevation of one side of the vehicle. You don’t want a super sensitive alarm if you’re sharing the parking lot with other residents, but if you’re parking in front of your house, then it’s only going to activate in case of a theft attempt.

The last thing you can do is etch your license plate into the converter. It doesn’t have to be done well, just as long as it’s deep.

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If the thief were to take your converter, they’d have to grind down the whole section to hide the etching, which would throw red flags at the recycling plant.

In some cases, it will be enough to deter the thief from taking your converter in the first place, which is our main goal.

How to Tell If Your Catalytic Converter Is Missing?

In the unfortunate event of having your catalytic converter stolen, you’ll know it happened as soon as you turn the ignition key.

The thieves will not be as kind as to install a piece of straight pipe between the disconnected exhaust parts, so the sound coming from the exhaust is going to be extremely loud.

It’s so loud and obvious that you’ll surely be able to tell, and now the important step is to turn off the engine and inspect the vehicle from the outside. When a converter is cut, the back portion of the exhaust may fall down due to a lack of connection.

Because it’s going to stick itself into the asphalt, driving forward will push it against the road like a plow, until it catches grip and sends the force back towards the exhaust hangers, ripping them off.

If this happens, not only will you damage the underside of the vehicle, but you could also damage or lose the entire back portion of the exhaust.

How to Tell If a Used Car Has a Catalytic Converter?

In case you’re buying a used car and want to make sure it has a catalytic converter, there are two ways to do it.

The first is to get underneath the vehicle and inspect the exhaust pipe right behind the front wheels. The catalytic converter has a specific shape, and if it has been replaced by a straight pipe it will be more than obvious.

However, if the vehicle seems to have a catalytic converter, it could just be the shell with all of the internals pulled out. To see if this is the case, start the engine and listen for noise coming from the floor underneath the front seats.

The catalytic converter doubles as a muffling device, and in idle RPM, or as you gradually increase them, you’ll hear the engine noise or droning from an area that would otherwise not emit any noise.


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How much does a Toyota catalytic converter cost?

A brand new Toyota catalytic converter is worth around $2000, and depending on the vehicle, you might need one or two of them.

Their scrap price is very high but still less than half of the original, so at most, you can expect $1000 for a Toyota cat converter, with Land Cruiser and Prius converters being the most valuable.

How much does a Ford catalytic converter cost?

Ford converters vary in price but generally hold a better value than other domestic brands. Some late ’90s cat converters were loaded with precious metals and had a scrap cost of over $1000.

However, most of the modern ones are worth a couple of hundred dollars in scrap value, while the OEM prices are between $700 and $1,200.

GM Catalytic Converter Scrap Value

Brand new General Motors cat converters are expensive and will set you back around $1,000. Their scrap value is not so good and ranges between $150 and $250.

  • GM AC/BL thin pipe catalytic converter has a price of around $160.
  • GM AC/BL thick pipe catalytic converter has a price of around $310.
  • GM medium 4Dot catalytic converter has a price of around $216.

Nissan Catalytic Converter Scrap Value

The value of used Nissan cat’s will range between $50 to $500. It will really depend on the model car it comes off and the condition. The Nissan Altima for example will have a value of between $90 to $300.

How much does a Jeep catalytic converter cost?

Jeep charges between $1,300 and $1400 for catalytic converters and another $130 to $200 for the labor. If you’re looking to sell a Jeep catalytic converter into scrap, you shouldn’t expect more than $250 – $300 for it.

What catalytic converters bring the highest scrap price?

Exotic cars bring the highest cost because they generally contain the most precious metals, and are desirable even as second-hand parts.

In terms of common passenger vehicles, Toyota Land Cruiser and Prius rank the highest. Land Cruiser has massive cat converters, while Prius is a rare breed with 2 converters on a small-sized engine, which can bring in a hefty sum when sold altogether.

What is the best app to price catalytic converters?

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The RR Cats and Belanger Converter Recycling apps are among the most popular, but you can use the dedicated app of any scrap yard company to get their quote.

My advice would be to try multiple and see who will offer you the best quote and shipping conditions. After you’re done with the sale, you can just delete the apps to clear space and avoid unwanted notifications.

How much is a catalytic converter worth on the black market?

Technically, there is no black market for catalytic converters, even though a non-trivial number of converters sold in scrap is stolen.

The problem is proving that a converter was stolen, and that is not the scrapyard’s responsibility. If you’re looking to trade in a legitimately acquired converter, you can approach any scrap yard and ask for a fair quote.

How much can I sell my catalytic converter for?

The answer depends entirely on the type of converter and its origins. An aftermarket converter is next to worthless, while large domestic and foreign converters can net you several hundred, if not a thousand dollars.

You can use one of the tables provided in this article to see the general price range for your converter, but for the accurate price, you’ll have to get a quote for one of the scrapyards.

Why are aftermarket converters so cheap?

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Prices pulled from the Amazon Product Advertising API on:

Product prices and availability are accurate as of the date/time indicated and are subject to change. Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.

Aftermarket catalytic converters are worth next to nothing in scrap value because they’re not expensive, to begin with, but still take the same time and effort to smelt into precious metals.

For around $50 – $200, these aftermarket options barely cover the production cost, let alone the use of precious metals. They’ll still do a job in terms of keeping the car street legal, but they’re not on the same level as OEM cat converters.

What cars have the most catalytic converters stolen?

Even though some Toyota models have very valuable catalytic converters, the vehicle that is the most desirable target for theft is the F-150 truck.

It’s not the value of the converter that attracts the thieves (although $200 – $300 is trivial) but rather the ease of access. Skilled thieves can get under an F-150 and cut out the converter in a matter of a couple of minutes.

Why are Prius catalytic converters stolen?

The Toyota Prius is specific in a number of ways. Not only is it a hybrid, but it’s also a highly popular model in the US. Combine the previous two points with Toyota’s emphasis on low emissions, and you get extremely good catalytic converters.

As we’ve learned, a good catalytic converter is full of precious metals, making it a prime target for theft, which is why the Toyota Prius is a prime target for theft.

What trucks have the most valuable catalytic converters?

The most valuable catalytic converters can be found on Ford trucks, namely the F-150, F-250, F-350, and other heavy-duty trucks. They’re slightly more valuable than GM converters, and net at least $300 per unit.

How much is a Dodge 2500 catalytic converter worth?

On average, a catalytic converter for the Dodge Ram 2500 costs $2,100. Its scrap price is far lower and can get you around $250, or more depending on the current market prices.

How long does it take to steal a catalytic converter?

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For a skilled thief, getting a catalytic converter off a truck is a 1-2 minute job, as all it takes is to cut two parts of the exhaust with a portable angle grinder.

To steal a catalytic converter off a car, there’s the added step of lifting it with one or two jacks, but even with the extra work, it can still be done in under 5 minutes.

What cars are at risk of catalytic converter theft?

The cars and trucks most susceptible to catalytic theft are:

  • Toyota Prius
  • Honda Element
  • Honda Accord
  • Ford Econoline
  • Honda CRV
  • Ford F-250
  • Toyota Tundra
  • Toyota Sequoia
  • Ford Excursion
  • Toyota Tacoma

How much is a 2000 Jeep Cherokee catalytic converter worth?

The early 2000s Jeep Cherokee catalytic converters are very valuable and cost up to $900, even as a second-hand or a scrap item.

Why are the Subaru catalytic converters worth so much?

Like all other converters, the cat converters made by Subaru contain precious metals that are worth a lot even in scrap, as they can be recycled and used again in a new catalytic converter or another product.


The price of scrap catalytic converters ranges from $20 to more than 1000 dollars, so you’ll have to pinpoint the type and size of your converter if you want to get an accurate price estimate.

You can do so by searching for the category of your vehicle, by make and model of your vehicle, the serial code of the catalytic converter, or just by taking a picture of it. Many recycling plants offer several ways to get a quote and even free shipping for your catalytic converter.

The palladium, platinum, and rhodium inside catalytic converters are worth quite a lot, so don’t undervalue your catalytic converter or sell it in bulk with the rest of the scrapped car.

Even if you want to sell the whole car as-is, you should still take out the converter as it only takes a couple of minutes and could get you another $200+ on its own.

Here are some other articles to read:

Do Diesels Have Catalytic Converters?

Which Cars Are Most Likely to Have Catalytic Converter Stolen?

How Much Platinum Is In A Catalytic Converter?

Free Catalytic Converter Scrap Price List 2023 (Complete Guide To Selling Scrap) (2024)
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