How Much Platinum Is in a Catalytic Converter?

. . . your questions answered about recycling catalytic converters

How much platinum does a catalytic converter contain? And if you have a batch of cat converters that you would like us to recycle for you, how much money do you stand to make?

Those are only two of the most common questions that people are asking about catalytic converters. In today’s post, we will answer them for you.

What are catalytic converters and what do they do?

Catalytic converters are metal “tanks” that are part of a car’s exhaust system. They look like jumbo mufflers, but they do a lot more than eliminate noise. They contain metals and chemicals that neutralize or remove harmful elements from the exhaust that a car produces.

A simpler way of explaining it is to say that dirty exhaust flows from a car’s engine into a catalytic converter, and cleaner exhaust flows out of it, and then exits a car via its exhaust pipe. 

What metals do catalytic converters contain?


Platinum is only one of the catalysts that are contained in catalytic converters. (Catalysts are chemicals that neutralize and remove the pollutants that automobile exhausts contain.) Other metals in catalytic converters include cerium, copper, iron, manganese, nickel, palladium, and rhodium. Note that those are not all precious metals.

How much platinum does a typical catalytic converter contain?

There are between 3-7 grams of platinum group metals in a standard catalytic converter, but the amount varies based on manufacturer and model. A small catalytic converter from a car like a Toyota Prius or Yaris contains only half or less of the platinum that a big industrial catalytic converter contains - the kind of big units that are used on heavy equipment or diesel-fueled generators. But that only makes sense, right?

How much is a typical automobile catalytic converter worth?

How much your catalytic converters are worth depends on a few factors: the market prices at the time of settlement for the platinum and the other precious metals we can reclaim from your catalytic converters; the size of the lot we recycle and refine for you; and the specific contents of the lot you send to us. If you call us at 800-426-2344, we can offer more details.

What is the minimum number of catalytic converters that you will recycle for me?

The minimum lot size we accept for refining is 500 catalytic converters or 1000 pounds of loose catalyst. (You get “loose catalyst” by breaking up catalytic converters and sending us the scrap metals they contain.)

How can I process my lot of catalytic converters?

Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners makes it fast and easy for you to scrap your catalytic converters. We accept minimum lots of 500 catalytic converters or 1000 pounds of loose catalyst, and we can typically process your scrap in two weeks from the day we receive it. More importantly, you’ll be paid promptly.

How can I ship catalytic converters to Specialty Metals, and what does that cost?

Many of our clients pack catalytic converters in 4’ x 4’ cardboard boxes (called Gaylord or pallet boxes), placed on pallets. Note that Specialty Metals can help arrange for a freight pickup nationwide and Canada with very minimal cost to you. But shipping rates will vary depending on your location, the quantity and type of material being shipped, and how it is packaged. We will be happy to explain everything to you so you can make the best decision, so give us a call at 800-426-2344 today.

Can I send you a sample catalytic convertor to be tested?

In most cases, the answer to that question is no. Converters vary in size and content and therefore, testing just one in your batch makes little sense. Plus, testing just one or two of them cannot result in an accurate estimate of how much money you will get from your entire batch.

Your First Step? Call Us Today

Call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344. Our experts are ready to answer your questions about how much money you will make by collecting and recycling catalytic converters. It all starts with one call to us.

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