Where to Sell a Catalytic Converter

Selling a catalytic converter can be a tricky process for those who don't know the true value of the part. People may be seeking to sell their converter from a non-running vehicle to get some extra cash. Operations such as junk yards, scrap yards, and online buyers will buy catalytic converters — though for varying prices. Scrap yards and online buyers are the recommended avenue for selling a converter, as they understand the value of the precious metals found within the component and will pay more for it.

Catalytic converters are often the target of theft, as they contain precious metals such as rhodium, palladium, and platinum. The price for converters has skyrocketed since the turn of the 21st century as the value of these metals has risen. Rhodium is the most expensive metal in the world, making catalytic converters valuable by association.

Catalytic converters are bought to be recycled. The recycling process saves time, energy, and costs that are required to mine new metal ore. Recycling facilities have extraction methods to pull out the precious metals to reuse them in another catalytic converter.

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    How to Sell Used Catalytic Converter to a Junkyard / Auto Salvage Yard?

    A junkyard is likely to undervalue a catalytic converter. They don't specialize in precious metals, such as the ones found in a converter. The business model of a junkyard or auto salvage yard revolves around the buying and selling of junk cars and their various parts. Many junkyards don't have the tools required to test and label a catalytic converter for resale, so they won't necessarily make a profit off of a converter unless they scrap it for metal.

    Salvage yards are one of the most accessible options for those looking to junk a car, though not the best choice for receiving a fair cash offer on a catalytic converter by itself. Their overhead is high, so they need to offer a low cash amount to profit from the sale. Junk yards won't know what make or model the converter came from, meaning they can't provide an accurate valuation.

    The steps for selling a used catalytic converter to a junkyard are simple but it may take time to find a buyer who offers the right price

    • Locate several local junkyards via an online search
    • Call the top candidates and request a quote
    • Choose the top contender and bring the catalytic converter
    • Receive cash for the converter

    How to Sell a Scrap Catalytic Converter to a Scrapyard?

    Scrap yards are a step above junk yards when it comes to selling a scrap catalytic converter. Scrapyard employees keep up with the current metal market trends and they are more likely to understand the valuation of the precious metals found within the scrap catalytic converter. Similar to a car junk yard, scrap yards have high overhead and they base their profits on getting parts and scrap metal for a low cost.

    When offering a price for a converter, scrap yards have to keep in mind the extraction process of the metals. This adds to their overhead and gets baked into the final offer to the seller. Just because a scrap yard specializes in metal, they don't necessarily specialize in the precious metals in the converter. This is when calling several yards to receive differing quotes benefits the seller.

    Selling a scrap catalytic converter to a scrap yard may take a bit of time and patience. If the seller wants to seek the best price, negotiations may need to commence.

    • Research the current market valuation of rhodium and palladium
    • Locate 1-2 scrapyards in the local area via a Google search
    • Provide the scrapyard with the serial number on the converter
    • Accept the quote if it's a fair value, negotiate higher if not
    • Bring the catalytic converter to the yard and receive cash

    How to Sell a Catalytic Converter to an Online Buyer?

    Online buyers are the best-paying option for selling a used catalytic converter. Their overhead is much lower than that of a scrap yard or a junk yard. Sellers can locate online buyers that specialize in catalytic converters, which equates to a strong knowledge of precious metals such as rhodium, palladium, and platinum.

    These buyers have a refined extraction process and have a wide range of buyers. They will ask for the serial number and photos of the converter, though they can work around a missing serial number if needed. Not all catalytic converters are worth thousands, such as ones found on an expensive Ferrari or a diesel-guzzling truck. Online buyers can pay a fair price for converters of a range of makes and models, from sedans to hybrids and SUVs.

    The process of selling to an online buyer can be more involved than a local scrap yard or auto salvage yard. It will also draw the most cash value for the catalytic converter.

    • Locate the serial number on the catalytic converter
    • Complete an online search for online buyers of catalytic converters
    • Take clear photographs and request quotes from several buyers
    • Choose the buyer who offers the highest price
    • Receive a payout and follow the shipping instructions

    Which Option Pays More for Catalytic Converter?

    Online buyers can pay the most for a catalytic converter in most scenarios. They have less overhead than a junkyard or a scrap yard, as their operation is online and not in a physical location. Some may have yards in another state and they use their online business to branch out further, which allows them to find more sellers of catalytic converters and other valuable pieces.

    Not all junk car owners want to go through the trouble of photographing their converter and communicating with a buyer through email, phone calls, or any other avenue. Catalytic converters will also have to go through shipping to reach an online buyer.

    Scrap yards would be the next best place to get a higher price for a used catalytic converter. There are often multiple scrap yards within a nearby radius, especially around metropolitan centers. Scrap yards have overhead similar to an auto junkyard, though they can offer a better price on catalytic converters since they deal in metal and stay up to date with the current market rate of metals such as rhodium, palladium, and platinum.

    How to Find Buyers for Catalytic Converters Near Me?

    Locating the right buyer for a catalytic converter can require time and patience. Accepting the first offer received may result in a missed opportunity for cash. Dedicating a reasonable amount of time to read reviews, make phone calls, and compare quotes can pay off. There are multiple avenues to choose from when selling a catalytic converter and it may depend on whether the converter is affixed to a junk car, if it has been removed, or is severely damaged and not in a working condition.

    Who Buys Catalytic Converters Near Me?

    Depending on where you're located, there are likely to be several junk yards, salvage yards, and scrap yards nearby. For those who live in a more remote location, it may require a bit of driving to reach the yard. It's always best to call ahead to ensure that the trip isn't wasted and that they'll buy your catalytic converter for a fair cash price.

    Though online buyers aren't nearby in the sense that they have a physical location, they're as close as the click of a few buttons online. This can be the most convenient option for those who don't live by a scrap yard and who would prefer to handle the negotiations virtually.

    Local Junkyards

    Everybody has a local junkyard, even if you've never seen it before. A quick online search will pull up the junkyards nearby and they can be contacted about buying a catalytic converter. Some may not wish to buy the piece on its own, as it isn't functional to resell in most cases. Other junkyards will buy them just to turn around and sell them to a scrapyard themselves.

    Local Scrapyards

    Nearby scrapyards are a solid, dependable option for selling a catalytic converter. They will purchase the converter based on its value in precious metals. They offer a fair price, though not always the highest price. Scrap yards are experienced in dealing with metals in various shapes and forms, including the expensive rhodium and palladium inside the honeycomb structure of a converter.

    Online Buyers

    Online buyers are the number one option for buying a catalytic converter. These buyers are well-versed in the value of metals, including how the prices fluctuate according to changes in the market. Online catalytic converter buyers will offer a higher price as they have lower overhead.

    How to Measure the Price of a Catalytic Converter

    The price that a catalytic converter can fetch varies wildly based on the vehicle that it came off of. Some catalytic converters have significantly more precious metals in them than others, especially those from hybrid vehicles. Catalytic converters are valuable due to rhodium and palladium and as the value of these metals rises, so does the price of a catalytic converter.

    Catalytic converter thefts have risen by 325% from 2019 to 2020, which is an indication of how easy it is to cash in with a converter for $150-$250. Due to this, the buying and selling of catalytic converters have become more stringent in some locales, which has decreased crime though not eradicated it.

    The average scrap value of a catalytic converter falls between $300 and $1500. This is one of the most expensive components on a vehicle and while thieves can make a quick hundred dollars on the converter, owners can dedicate the time to making several hundred at least. Used catalytic converters are not generally sold as car parts and are instead sold to metal recyclers who extract the precious metals for repurposing.

    Vehicles with larger engines have larger catalytic converters, equating to more expensive prices. A small four-door sedan won't have the same value in its converter as a large Ford F-250. Smaller hybrid cars, such as the Toyota Prius, have valuable catalytic converters as they are emissions-friendly, which requires a higher concentration of palladium, rhodium, and platinum.

    How to Understand the Model of a Catalytic Converter

    To determine the model of a catalytic converter, the easiest option is to locate the serial number. This number is somewhere on the converter, though it's often covered in corrosion or dirt. Taking a damp paper towel may uncover the numbers. If not, then using steel wool can reveal the serial number if it has been hidden by corroded metal.

    Before selling a catalytic converter, it's key to know the basic information such as the make, model, and year of the vehicle that it was originally manufactured to fit. This provides the seller with more power in terms of negotiating and being able to determine when to accept a fair offer. If there is no visible serial number, a professional can examine the honeycomb screen inside of the converter to get an idea of what vehicle it came off of.

    This honeycomb screen is also where the majority of the precious metals are found. When examining the converter for the model, don't remove the screen or otherwise discard it. Without the screen, the converter isn't worth nearly as much and many buyers won't even entertain the idea of buying it at this point.

    Why is Serial Number Important for Catalytic Converter Price?

    Serial numbers are engraved or embossed on catalytic converters before they're placed on a vehicle as it's being manufactured. These numbers provide helpful information that can be used to determine the make, model, and year of the vehicle in question.

    The number on the catalytic converter can be the determining factor for how much it's worth. The catalytic converter off of a Ford F150 truck is worth more than one from a Honda Accord, for instance — sometimes to the tune of $1,000.

    Junkyards don't always ask for the number, as the catalytic converter isn't their priority. Salvage yards are focused on getting junk vehicles for the lowest possible cost. It doesn't benefit them when the seller knows the worth of their catalytic converter. The less informed the seller is in this situation, the better it is for the overhead of the business.

    For sellers who want to get a fair valuation for their catalytic converter, they should have the serial number in hand before they request quotes. This allows for bargaining room. If the serial number is not immediately visible, steel wool can be used to rub away any corrosion that may be covering the number. Without a serial number, a professional buyer is still able to provide a fair quote.

    Which Car Models Have More Expensive Catalytic Converters?

    Not all vehicles are created equally and the same goes for catalytic converters. Several cars stand out in terms of how expensive their catalytic converters are.

    1. Ferrari F430 — $3,770

    This Ferrari model in particular requires two catalytic converters, which makes the expensive double. There is over $7,500 worth of catalytic converters underneath one vehicle.

    2. Lamborghini Aventador — $3,120

    Similar to the Ferrari, this supercar requires two converters. While the replacement cost of over $6,000 may not be a financial upset to a Lamborghini owner, it's certainly a large expense.

    3. Ram 2500 — $3,460

    The Ram 2500's catalytic converter is more expensive than the Lamborghini's, though it only requires one. Trucks make easy targets for thieves, as they're lifted already and the exhaust system is easier to access.

    4. Ford F-250 — $2,804

    Ford is a popular make within the USA and this particular model has a hefty price tag attached to its catalytic converter. Owners should keep their trucks in a garage or an enclosed space whenever possible. The powerful engine requires a converter with more grams of precious metals.

    5. Ford Mustang — $1,500

    Though this make is not a truck, the larger engine equates to a more expensive catalytic converter. Thieves would have to lift the vehicle to gain access to the converter, which can happen in less than 5 minutes.

    On these model vehicles, owners must take steps to protect their converters from theft. Experienced criminals can remove a catalytic converter in less than 5 minutes, making off hundreds of dollars in value and leaving the owner's insurance on the vehicle with a hefty replacement bill.

    Parking in a garage while at home can reduce the opportunity for crime, as well as parking in well-lit parking lots while running errands. In some cases, it may be worthwhile to purchase a catalytic converter cage and have it installed around the converter. This protects the part and keeps criminals from quickly nabbing it.

    Why Do Scrapyards and Junkyards Buy Catalytic Converters?

    Scrapyards and junkyards purchase used catalytic converters to make a profit. The business models are similar in that they buy items to resell them for a higher value, thus profiting from their purchase. Junk yards focus on buying junk cars for a low price to remove and sell working parts such as engines, transmissions, and various odds and ends that other people may need to replace on their vehicles.

    Scrap yards aren't necessarily in the business of selling metal to the public. They buy metal, such as vehicle frames, to process it and sell it to a recycling plant that can reuse the metal in a new product. With heavy-duty machines, they shred metal and sort it according to its value, such as ferrous and non-ferrous metals.

    When it comes to scrapping a whole junk car, a junkyard will offer the best price. They have room to profit by removing the components under the hood and selling them for an inflated price. For those looking to sell a catalytic converter that has been removed from a vehicle, a scrap yard is the best local route to take.

    Do Scrapyards and Junkyards Buy Bad Catalytic Converters?

    Yes, many scrapyards and junkyards will buy broken catalytic converters because they contain valuable metals that can be sold for profit. It is important to note that not all scrapyards or junkyards will buy bad catalytic converters. It is best to do your research to find a reputable dealer to sell your broken catalytic converter to.

    How is Catalytic Converter Recycled?

    When recycling catalytic converters, they should be handled in an environmentally responsible way. The mining of metal ore is expensive and time-consuming, as well as being heavily energy-intensive. It benefits the nation and the environment if catalytic converters are recycled via the proper avenues, as it saves time, money, and energy across the board.

    Owners should not attempt to recycle a catalytic converter themselves by extracting the metal from the honeycomb structure. This is dangerous and requires the correct tools and safety gear. Converters should be sold to recycling facilities that have the extraction process down to a science. Some cities set up programs that collect catalytic converters, which advertises the benefits to the environment. ConverterGuy and Auto Core are two online buyer options for those seeking to recycle their catalytic converter.

    On average, a catalytic converter has between 3-7 grams of platinum and 2-7 grams of palladium. They have between 1-2 grams of rhodium, which is the most expensive metal. The time it would take to recycle the few grams from one converter is why it's best left to the professionals, as they can do multiple at one time.

    Once a catalytic converter has been broken down and the metals extracted, they can be reused in another converter. This saves the environment from being further polluted by mining more precious metals.

    What Does Law Say for Selling Catalytic Converter?

    Due to the rise in thefts of catalytic converters, some cities have created ordinances in an attempt to combat the crime. This can add difficulty to the process of buying and selling the component, even when the legal owner of the part is trying to sell it in an above-board situation.

    Cities such as Houston have created a multi-step process for how a catalytic converter can be sold. The process is tedious and requires a copy of the seller's driver's license, multiple signatures, fingerprints, documentation of ownership, and a thorough description of the vehicle from which the catalytic converter came off. This is meant to prevent thieves from making quick cash off of a stolen catalytic converter since they wouldn't be able to provide all of the required information.

    The metal recycler is also required to take photos of all sides of the converter, including any serial numbers. They must then upload these photos to the Houston Police Department's online investigation system, allowing for quick tracking information should the converter be reported missing.

    There are laws set forth by the EPA that disallow a used catalytic converter to be sold from a salvage or junk yard to be reused in a vehicle without proper testing and labeling. The yard would be in violation if they were to sell and install an untested used unit, even if it was brought in by the customer. The auto junkyard would be considered liable for any tampering if the catalytic converter doesn't meet the requirements set forth by the policy in the Clean Air Act.

    Where to Buy a Catalytic Converter?

    In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has banned the re-use of used catalytic converters as a replacement. This means that those that have experienced a converter theft will likely have to go the new route to get a legal replacement. Parts and labor aren't cheap, generally ranging from $1000-$2500, depending on what model the vehicle is.

    New catalytic converters can be found at any auto shop. If they don't have one in stock that works on a particular vehicle, they can order one and have it within a reasonable timeframe. Most of the time, they don't install the converter so a mechanic will be necessary. Mechanics can order parts, though they won't be OEM. After-market catalytic converters work just as well. Dealerships can order OEM parts, though they will be more expensive. When going through a mechanic or the dealership, they will be able to install the new catalytic converter.

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