Ford F150 Catalytic Converter Scrap Price

There are many elements of our cars that wear out over time and become of no use to our vehicle anymore. This will lead to the need for a replacement part and likely some amount of cost. This is certainly the case with catalytic converters.

These emissions cleansing devices over time get clogged up and eventually need to be replaced. In this post we will look at these components and if selling them as scrap can perhaps pay somewhat to the replacement costs.

What Is a Catalytic Converter?

If you grew up during the '70s and '80s you will likely recall occasionally driving around in cars with the windows down and smelling a sulfur rotten egg smell from a nearby vehicle. After exclaiming “What is that smell?” someone in the car likely enlightened you to it being a catalytic converter. Although in honesty it was probably a failing catalytic converter.

This simple answer doesn’t mean much so let's explore just what a catalytic converter actually is. Catalytic converters are exhaust devices that capture the emissions created from the burning of petroleum. Once they capture these fumes catalyzing reactions are used to strip them of harmful carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons.

The remaining emissions are then released from the catalytic converter in the form of carbon dioxide (CO2) and Water (H2O). These emissions of course are far less harmful to the environment meaning that the fuel burning process is cleaner.

History of Catalytic Converters

It was a French inventor by the name of Eugene Houdry, a chemical engineer working in the oil refining industry during the 40s and 50s. It was in 1952 that Houdry created the first patent for a catalytic converter device.

Originally it was designed to scrub the primary chemicals that were emitted into the atmosphere as a result of fuel combustion. These early devices worked great in smokestacks but were not so efficient when used directly on industrial equipment.

It wasn’t until the early to mid 1970s however that catalytic converters made their ways onto automobiles. In 1970 the United States passed the “Clean Air Act” which vowed to lower vehicle emissions by 75% by 1975.

One major change made to achieve this environmental goal was a switch from leaded to unleaded gasoline and the second part was the introduction of catalytic converters. The lead within leaded gasoline hampered the effectiveness of catalytic converters. So in combination with unleaded gasoline catalytic converters quickly made a huge difference.

The early car catalytic converters worked on carbon monoxide. It was later that Dr. Carl Keith invented the three-way catalytic converter which added the ability to deal with nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons as well.

Catalytic Convertor Theft Is a Thing

When it comes to the scrap value of catalytic converters it is important to understand there is a market in theft for these devices. Obviously this indicates it must have some value because people seldom steal things that have no value at all.

Pretty much since catalytic converters started making their way onto cars people have been stealing them. It’s not easy as they are often welded into the exhaust pipe and literally need to be cut out of the system.

Criminals may need a power saw or other metal cutting device to separate the catalytic converter from the underside of a vehicle. This often makes a lot of noise so they are usually specific with their targets due to the risk of getting caught.

Why do people take the risk in the first place? The answer is simple because there are potentially valuable amounts of certain precious metals in catalytic converters. As of August 15th 2022 the value per gram of platinum was $35.49 USD. This means the value of the platinum in a catalytic converter can range from $86.34 - $201.46. This combined with a few ounces of rhodium at $653.22 a gram and palladium $72.68 a gram is why catalytic converters are so expensive.

The precious metals alone in a catalytic converter can be worth close to $1000 depending on the type.

Why Is It Hard to Find Scrap Values of Catalytic Converters?

There are plenty of companies out there that will pay for catalytic converters and the legit ones will only deal in ones that are no longer good for use as a part. The reason for this is that as mentioned it is a commonly stolen engine part and one in working order likely was stolen.

Catalytic converters are not cheap parts so you will likely not part with one unless it no longer works or your car was totaled and would never run again. Basically buying a used catalytic converter is risky business so companies seldom post their prices for purchasing them as scrap.

It would potentially be a temptation to know how much you could get for a used catalytic converter and literally could lead to the commission of a crime. Regardless though there are places to sell them for scrap and the amount you can get will vary on the type you are selling.

What Is the Scrap Price for Catalytic Converters?

There is no hard and fast number when it comes to the scrap value of a catalytic converter. There are a number of factors that will dictate price. Catalytic converters from high end vehicles for instance tend to be of higher value.

Size can make a difference with catalytic converters from large engine vehicles being generally worth more money as scrap. It all breaks down to the value of the metals inside the device itself. One average though $300 - $1500 is a good range of scrap prices.

The price you get from scraping the old catalytic convertor may knock some of the cost off of replacing the unit. There will however be taxes and likely labor costs to remove the old unit so be prepared that it might not reduce the hit by much.

Why do Catalytic Converters Need Replacing?

Over time you will likely notice that your catalytic converter is not doing as good a job as it once was. The average catalytic converter usually stays good for around 10 years before it needs to be replaced.

These devices deal with harmful and often corrosive gasses so over time they become clogged and damaged. You might notice the engine overheating if you develop a clogged catalytic convertor. This is because the hot exhaust fumes can no longer escape the system and are backing up.

Eventually you will need a new catalytic converter and as mentioned depending on the make and model of your vehicle this can be costly. The general cost of a new unit ranges between $975 - $2475 although some high end vehicles such a Ferraris need units in the region of $4000+

This expense is why having your catalytic converter stolen can be an absolute nightmare. You should always take care to keep your car safe, preferably in a garage or in a well lit area in which the sound of a saw would be noticeable.

It may seem labor intensive for criminals to crawl under your car and hacksaw through your exhaust for a part but it’s financially worth it for them. There are people who have no issue buying a used catalytic converter and if you are sold one there’s a chance it was originally stolen.

Conclusion

The scrap value of an old catalytic converter varies greatly based on make, model and condition. However, it may be a few hundred dollars or close to $1500. It will certainly be far less than the cost of buying its replacement.

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