Q:

Who buys used catalytic converters?

A:

Quick Answer

Refineries specializing in recycled precious metals and scrap automotive components typically buy used catalytic converters. As of 2014, prices range from $5 to over $100, depending on size, design, manufacturer, condition and age.

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Full Answer

In some cases, even small scrap-metal buyers are happy to buy used catalytic converters for a considerable amount. Catalytic converters became a standard component in many vehicles in the 1975 model year. Manufacturers began including these devices in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's regulations on vehicle emissions. The purpose of a catalytic converter is to reduce hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide emissions from the burning of gasoline and other fossil fuels. Catalytic converters can be found on both gasoline and diesel engines of all shapes and sizes, from vehicles and forklifts to fixed generators.

Used catalytic converters are particularly valuable as scrap, due to the reactive metal used to catalyze the unconsumed fuel particles. Common metals found in catalytic converters include platinum, palladium and rhodium, all of which are classified as precious metals that have relatively high melt values. As of October 2014, a single ounce of platinum on the New York Stock Exchange was valued at $1,233, with rhodium closing at $1,275 and palladium valued at $760.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What does a catalytic converter do?

    A:

    Catalytic converters are emissions devices in vehicles that convert the harmful components in the engine's exhaust gas into harmless ones. This significantly reduces the amount of pollutants that a vehicle releases into the atmosphere. Catalytic converters are muffler-shaped and lie within the exhaust, and they contain catalysts, such as palladium and platinum, arranged in a honeycomb shape that react with the harmful components in the exhaust stream.

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  • Q:

    What is catalytic converter recycling?

    A:

    Catalytic converter recycling is the process of removing valuable metals from a broken device, such as platinum, rhodium, and titanium, so they can be reused in other products. Because of the value of the minerals used in converters, recycling them can be very lucrative.

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  • Q:

    How can a catalytic converter be unclogged?

    A:

    To unclog a catalytic converter, get onto a highway, and drive at high speed for a couple of miles, coming to a stop and starting again several times. Repeat two or three times, giving the converter a chance to expel debris.

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  • Q:

    What are the signs of a bad catalytic converter?

    A:

    Signs of a faulty catalytic converter include reduced fuel economy, excess engine heat, and impaired engine or exhaust performance. A visible fuel vapor over the carburetor intake, performance changes after the removal of oxygen sensors and increased carbon emissions from the converter are also warning signs.

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