What is a catalytic converter and how does it affect resale?

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3 min read

There is a nationwide epidemic happening right now, and it has nothing to do with the Coronavirus. We’re talking about the Catalytic Converter theft epidemic where thieves are brazenly crawling under newer model vehicles and, in a matter of minutes(!), sawing these small containers of precious metals out to sell the converter at scrap yards across the nation.

The PGM or Platinum Group Metals inside the average catalytic converter consist of platinum, palladium, and rhodium, three of the most expensive precious metals on our planet.

catalytic converters and car value

The catalytic converter was invented in 1950 as a way to drastically reduce unwanted emissions in cars. This part of the car is one of the first things car buyers like junkyards want. Soooo, when selling a car, if it’s missing the catalytic converter, it’s worth far less or can even be unsellable in some circumstances. Here’s a video to help you locate your catalytic converter!

So why not remove it and try to sell it yourself? Because a car with a catalytic converter intact is worth more than the converter itself or the precious metals inside it.

However, not all converters are cash cows, and not all converters have precious metals in them. Some older model vehicles (say anything pre-95ish) have a higher amount of ceramic than they do metal, making them wayyyy less valuable.

It wasn't until 2019 that PGM prices began to soar and converter thieves began to prowl.

keeping the converter intact may be worth more than you think

According to JD Power, an authority on vehicles and the economics behind them, a Ford Mustang comes in at number five of the top most expensive catalytic converters at a whopping $1,500 (number one was Ferrari and number two was Lamborghini). The average price for any later model car was between $800 and $1400.

If those vehicles were being sold as salvage or junk, the scrapyard price would basically be what the converter was worth, so cars without converters were worth next to nothing.

The moral of the story is that if you want to sell your used car, make sure the converter is intact, since it accounts for such a large portion of the car value.

selling your used car with Peddle

At Peddle, we have perfected the art of selling used cars. How?

Easy peasy, that's how. Just answer a few basic questions about your car, and through the wonders of technology and our huge, nationwide network of buyers, you get a free, real-deal, no-pressure offer in minutes.

You relax, we pick up the car (free), you pocket the cash (check)! Easy as pie.

If celebratory tacos are your thing (like us!), now would be their cue.