4 Ways To Prepare Your Catalytic Converters for Scrap

Know How To Recycle A Catalytic Converter for Scrap

If you had a catalytic converter replaced on your vehicle or you are looking to make some money with them for scrap value, there are some things you should know. It’s important to know what to do when you are recycling a catalytic converter for scrap. When you are searching for a scrap yard to bring your catalytic converter to for money, you need to know what to do with it, what it’s worth, and any other things you yard may ask you about it. There are a few basic and simple steps to keep in mind when you are preparing your catalytic converters for scrap.

1. Know Your Information About catalytic converters

What kind of vehicle is your catalytic converter from? Knowing the year, make, and model of the vehicle can be easy for you and for the yard you are looking to sell it to. Not only will you have the information needed to ask for a relative quote, but the yards will have a better idea of what kind of catalytic converter you have. This will help everyone involved get a fair price for the catalytic converter.

Also it is beneficial for you if you want to begin to do some research online for what they could be worth in scrap. Sometimes catalytic converters also have a serial number on the outside of the shell and that may be some information that the scrap yard is looking for to give you a more accurate quote. So if you are able to identify the serial number on the outside of the catalytic converter you will can give that information to your scrap yard to give you a more accurate price quote.

2. Aftermarket or Original? – Makes A Big Difference In Prices

aftermarket vs. original catalytic converter

When you are looking to sell you catalytic converter for scrap, knowing the year, make, and model is good, but so is the origin of it. If the catalytic converter you have has been replaced and you are looking to scrap the original from the vehicle, you can expect a higher price for scrap value. If you have an aftermarket catalytic converter (installed after factory construction of the vehicle), you can expect to get a lower price for scrap value.

*TIP: To identify an aftermarket catalytic converter, you should look for a shiny silver shield wrapped around the catalytic converter. Also quite often there will be an arrow on the shield which is there to tell the mechanic installing it which way the air flow is going through the exhaust system.*

The reason there is a price difference is because of the precious metals inside. There are many precious metals that clean the air that passes through the catalytic converter and those metals is what makes it worth money. Factories have certain standards and regulations they have to follow when creating catalytic converters with the right materials, however aftermarket manufacturers do not. Therefore, there are less precious metals inside of the aftermarket catalytic converters which will results in lower scrap prices for aftermarket cats.

Suggested Reading: How Do Catalytic Converters Work?

3. Don’t Take The Honeycomb Out

catalytic converter honeycombWhen you look inside the catalytic converters you will see a mesh-like structure inside. That is called the honeycomb which filters the exhaust fumes of your vehicle by different reactions between the different precious metals inside. The honeycomb is where the precious metals ‘live’ and many inexperienced scrappers immediately want to remove the honeycomb from the shell of the catalytic converter. This is a BIG no-no.

When you remove the honeycomb from the shell, it will be nearly impossible for the scrap yard to identify the type of catalytic converter you have. By keeping the shell on, your scrap yard can identify the kind of vehicle it’s from and pay you for the right amount of precious metals that will be recovered when it is processed. The honeycombs all look the same but depending on the types of cars they are from they haven’t different values of precious metals inside. The easiest ways for yards to identify that is to see the outside of the catalytic converter with the honeycomb inside.

4. Cut The Exhaust Pipes Off

When you are prepping your catalytic converter for the scrap yard, we mentioned above to not remove the honeycomb, but you also want to make sure you keep the shell of the catalytic converter on. However on either end of it are the exhaust pipes. These can be remove and cut as close to the shell as possible. Usually the exhaust pipes can be removed with a sawzall. By cutting off the exhaust pipe you are giving the yard less work to do and they will be able to give 

you a more clean catalytic converter price. The exhaust pipes on the catalytic converter are made from steel and will just be cut off any way, so prepping it for your yard will make you more money.

Finding A Good Scrap Yard & The Best Prices for Catalytic Converters

Most scrap yards that are buying catalytic converter will be able to provide you with this information when you are asking for a price quote. If they don’t ask or suggest some of these tips, it may be a good idea for you to look around elsewhere. Also it is a good idea to shop around for a few price quotes, they all should be within the same range of prices. If there is a big difference either above or below the average prices, that should throw up a red flag.

If Prices Are Much Higher For Your Catalytic Converter

If the price is a lot higher, that is good, but consider this. The yard may have the wrong serial number or price quote they are giving to you and when you arrive at their yard you could be disappointed. Or some yards may give you a much higher price at their yard to just get you in the door and pull the price down when they are going to buy it, in which you may say “Well, I’m already here. Minds well sell it.”

If Prices Are Much Lower For Your Catalytic Converter

If you get quoted a price much lower than the other yards you’ve spoken to, that could be a warning that the scrap yard may not really know what they are talking about. They may not have the knowledge to classify the catalytic converter correctly and therefore may not be the place you want to visit.

When you are ready to bring your catalytic converter in for scrap remember that you want to do some work ahead of time to ensure you are preparing it correctly and you have checked with local scrap yards for their prices. Remember what we always say, if it quacks it’s probably a duck. Use wise judgement when selling your catalytic converters for scrap.

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