Your car’s catalytic converter has a scrap value that can be quite pricey, which is why thieves are after as many cats as they can get. If you want to scrap your own catalytic converter, it’s helpful to know its value. If you don’t know how to find the catalytic converter scrap value by serial number, we can show you.
In this guide, we show you how to find the value of your catalytic converter. We also discuss the catalytic converters with the highest value. There’s also a section showing you what affects the value of the salvaged catalytic converter.
How to Look Up Catalytic Converter Scrap Value
There are online databases that make it easy to find the value of a catalytic converter by punching in the serial number. If you are having trouble locating the serial number, you can also use a phone app or web page to upload a picture of it and get the approximate value.
Here are the methods of how to look up your catalytic converter’s scrap value:
1. Find the Serial Number
Before you can look up the value of your catalytic converter, you first need the serial number. However, not all cats have a serial number on them. The EPA requires that all newer cars have a catalytic converter, but the manufacturers aren’t required to put a serial number on it.
If it does have one, it can be difficult to find. To help you out, we have a more in-depth section below showing you where you might find the serial number. To sum it up, you are looking for an etching that is a combination of letters and/or numbers of a varying length.
2. Use Online Platform/App
With the serial number in hand, you can enter the information into an online database to get its estimated value. If you want to look online, try out ConverterDatabase. This database gives the current value of rhodium, palladium and platinum.
You can also use a phone app. Many people choose to use Eco Cat, but there are plenty to pick from. There’s a monthly subscription option or you can choose the one free search a day option.
3. Look Up Value with Picture
If you are having trouble getting the serial number or you don’t want to deal with it, you can take a picture with an app. Eco Cat offers this option.
Download the app from the Apple App Store or Google Play. Once you upload the photo, you will get a quick quote back on the worth.
Location of Catalytic Converter Serial Number
General Motors labels most catalytic converters the same way across the entire lineup, whether you have a Chevy, GMC or Cadillac. In most cases, the plate will show eight numbers, which is the serial code.
However, it could also be just a few numbers, starting with “GM.” In this case, it would look something like – GM 115.
Chrysler and Dodge don’t follow a uniform pattern of labeling catalytic converters. However, you should be able to find it stamped by the cat’s edging.
In some cases, it is longer, such as CLLC524AEB. While other times, it is something simple, such as 8H.
Subaru usually has two units located on the downpipe. You can find the serial number listed on the cat’s body.
It will be listed in five characters. Typically, it looks something like OFCA 2.
Ford typically labels the catalytic converter with a longer serial number. You should find a 10-12 digit code on the cat.
These characters can be a mix of numbers and letters separated by a hyphen. It should look something like this – 3T51-4W133-CB.
Hyundai and Kia are part of the same automaker, so you can expect that the catalytic converters are labeled the same. With both brands, there should be a serial number on the cat.
Most cat serial numbers are between three and ten characters. However, these can be a mixture of numbers and letters, such as ABC or PTEE 12.
Volkswagen has a unique way of labeling catalytic converters. You can often find a mixture of nine numbers, along with one to three letters, all separated by spaces.
For example, the serial number could read 824 313 901 H. Otherwise, it might appear as a mixture, such as 5J1 242 908 G.
7. Aftermarket Cats
If you have a car with a modified exhaust, the catalytic converter might have been removed. While this is against the law not to have a cat, there are other options that can be used in its place.
If you install an aftermarket exhaust, it will provide more airflow and a boost to performance. The new converter should be labeled with some type of serial number, but it probably won’t follow the guidelines of most OEM cats.
What Affects Catalytic Converter Value?
Above all, the type of catalytic converter has the most profound impact on the price. The composition of rare metals is what drives the price higher. If you have a converter that is filled with high-priced materials, you are going to get a higher price.
The price is changed based on the current market value of precious metals. For example, when this article was written, the following values were given to precious metals:
- Platinum: $923/ounce
- Palladium: $1911/ounce
- Rhodium: $14500/ounce
As with any commodity and rare metal, prices are sure to change frequently. That’s why it’s important to check the value before you turn in your catalytic converter. In some markets, it’s best to hold it a little longer, as a small difference in value can make a huge difference with what you will earn for salvaging the metal.
However, the condition of the catalytic converter is also important. It’s only going to get the top price if it’s still in good working condition. If it’s chipped or broken, the value will drop.
It also matters where you sell the catalytic converter. Some parts of the country pay more for the cats than others.
Highest Catalytic Converter Values
There are some vehicles that are specifically known for having higher catalytic converter values. Here are a few that bring in top dollar, on average.
- Ferrari F430: $3,500
- Lamborghini Aventador: $3,200 each (contains 2)
- RAM 2500: $3,500
- Ford F-250: $2,750
- Ford Mustang: $1,500
If you have one of these cars, your catalytic converter is at risk. It is more of a target for catalytic converter theft than others. Seeing what these catalytic converters are worth for scrap, you can only imagine what these will cost to replace.
Average Catalytic Converter Values
According to RRCats.com, here are a few of the most common average catalytic converter scrap values.
- Small GM: $89-$123
- Small Domestic: $58-$195
- Small Foreign: $87-$198
- Regular Domestic: $59-$245
- Medium Foreign: $139-$345
- Large GM: $174-$345
- Large Foreign: $208-$492
- Diesel: $18-$595
- Aftermarket: $20
- Exotic: $543-$1095
To get a more accurate quote, you will need to get information related to your specific catalytic converter. You can try multiple platforms to see if one company is willing to offer more than another. If you don’t feel like transporting it or dealing with the hassle, you can also post it online for scrap metal and someone will surely pick it while giving you a portion of the money.
Preparing Your Catalytic Converter for Scrap
1. Cut Off Exhaust Pipes
On both ends of the catalytic converter, you have the exhaust pipes. You want to cut these off, as close to the shell as you can.
You should be able to use a sawzall to get through the material. If you leave it on, the yard will have to cut it and might charge you for labor.
2. Leave the Honeycomb In
As you peer into the catalytic converter, you will see a honeycomb structure. This mesh-like part is responsible for filtering the exhaust fumes. This is where precious metals are located to create a catalytic reaction.
If you remove the honeycomb from the catalytic converter, you are essentially taking out the precious metals that give you the most value. You need to keep this intact if you want to get the maximum value. However, many novice scrapers will inadvertently remove this part thinking it is worthless.