How Much Platinum Is In A Catalytic Converter?

A catalytic converter comprises an assortment of materials, including platinum group metals like rhodium, platinum, and palladium.

A catalytic converter generally contains 0.1 to 0.3 ounces (3 to 7 grams) of platinum.

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    According to Kitco, the bid price of platinum is $977 USD per ounce (April 9, 2022), meaning there is between $110 and $300 dollars worth of platinum in a typical OEM catalytic converter.

    Catalytic converter theft has become more common in the last few years as the price of valuable metals has increased.

    The amount of platinum group metals in a standard catalytic converter tends to decrease over time as the vehicle is driven.

    Also, OEM catalytic converters generally have much more platinum group metals than aftermarket catalytic converters.

    Pile Of Scrap Catalytic Converters
    Pile Of Scrap Catalytic Converters

    The purpose of a catalytic converter is to make the exhaust gas of your vehicle less harmful through a chemical process.

    Ideally, all carbon monoxide and unburned hydrocarbons are eliminated, and the exhaust emissions consist of only water, carbon dioxide, and nitrogen.

    Platinum makes an ideal candidate to be used in a catalytic converter for a few reasons:

    • a high melting point

    • it can be recycled economically

    • it lasts longer than other possible candidates like copper or silver because it does not react strongly with sulfur

    Platinum nuggets
    Platinum Nuggets

    How Much Platinum Can Be Recovered From A Catalytic Converter?

    According to the Hindawi Journal of Chemistry study, approximately 96% of the platinum used in catalytic converters can be recovered.

    The study was done in a highly controlled environment, a layman or someone inexperienced will probably recover significantly less.

    You can expect to recover 0.1 to 0.3 ounces (3 to 7 grams) of platinum from a catyltic converter.

    How Do You Get The Platinum Out Of A Catalytic Converter?

    The most efficient method to extract platinum from a catalytic converter is by treating the inner honeycomb of the catalytic converter with a leaching process.

    Catalytic converter inner honeycomb
    Catalytic converter inner honeycomb

    One of the challenges in the process is that platinum is an inert material that doesn't dissolve in ordinary acids.

    A mixture of a strong acid and strong oxidizing agent is required to dissolve the platinum.

    The platinum will be separated from the base metals through the leaching process.

    The process of leaching can be dangerous.

    Proper PPE (personal protective equipment) should be worn to avoid inhaling the toxic fumes, or serious respiratory disease could result.

    How To Melt Platinum From Catalytic Converters

    Melting platinum from a catalytic converter is highly inefficient and very different due to platinum's high melting point.

    How Much Rhodium Is In A Catalytic Converter?

    Depending on the manufacturer, a catalytic converter contains 0.04 to 0.07 ounces (1 to 2 grams) of rhodium.

    Rhodium is one of the most valuable precious metals on the planet.

    According to Kitco, the bid price of rhodium is $18,000 USD per ounce (April 9, 2022), meaning there is between $720 and $1260 dollars worth of rhodium in a typical OEM catalytic converter.

    How To Get Rhodium Out Of A Catalytic Converter?

    Platinum and rhodium, and palladium can be separated from the base metals of the catalytic converter through a latching process.

    How Much Palladium Is In A Catalytic Converter?

    Depending on the manufacturer, a catalytic converter contains 0.07 to 0.25 ounces (2 to 7 grams) of palladium.

    According to Kitco, the bid price of palladium is $2,353 USD per ounce (April 9, 2022), meaning there is between $165 and $590 dollars worth of rhodium in a typical OEM catalytic converter.

    How Much Gold Is In A Catalytic Converter?

    A standard catalytic converter contains precious metals such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium. However, there is no gold in a catalytic converter.

    What Is A Scrap Catalytic Converter Worth?

    The money you'll get from a scrap metal recycler for a scrap catalytic converter varies from $100 to $1235 USD, based on the manufacturer.

    Scrap yards and recyclers will pay you much less than the precious metals are worth due to the expensive leaching process.

    For example, a catalytic converter from a Ford F-150 can be worth well over $1000.

    The catalytic converter from a Mercedes-Benz can also be worth $1000, and the catalytic converter from a Toyota Prius can be worth an eye-popping $3000.

    Scrap metal recycler
    Scrap metal recycler

    Where To Sell Platinum From Catalytic Converters?

    Precious metal dealers, trade shows, metal recyclers, and online marketplaces are the best places to sell your recycled platinum from catalytic converters.

    How Much Is A Stolen Catalytic Converter Worth?

    A stolen catalytic converter can generally fetch between $50 and $400 from shady metal recyclers.

    Which Cars Have Platinum Catalytic Converters

    Most, if not all, newly manufactured vehicles contain at least some platinum in the catalytic converter.

    How much platinum is in a catalytic converter can be estimated by the size of the vehicle.

    Larger vehicles, such as the Ford F-150, have larger catalytic converters and more platinum than a small Hyundai Accent.

    Ford F-150s have large catalytic converters containing high amounts of platinum
    Ford F-150s have large catalytic converters containing high amounts of platinum

    Conclusion

    In a standard catalytic converter, you can generally expect to find between 0.1 to 0.3 ounces (3 to 7 grams) of platinum.

    The precious metals in a catalytic converter are removed through a dangerous, complicated, and time-consuming leaching process.

    Due to the difficulty of leaching precious metals, metal recyclers will offer you much less for your scrap catalytic converter than is contained within.

    The value of precious metals inside a catalytic converter can vary, so it is prudent to research before selling your catalytic converter to a scrap dealer.