What Precious Metals are Inside Catalytic Converters and What Are They Worth?

If you have a quantity of 500 or more used automobile catalytic converters on hand, Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners is ready to recycle them for you and pay you top dollar for the platinum and other precious metals they contain.

Photo of catalytic converter containing platinum, palladium and rhodium which can be recycled and refined for best prices at Specialty Metals.

Before you contact us or ship us used catalytic converters, you might want to take a few minutes to learn more about what catalytic converters are and how they work. The more educated you are, the better you will understand why recycled catalytic converters can be so valuable.

Here’s a quick course…

  • What do they do? It’s simple. The exhaust that comes directly out of internal-combustion engines still contains quantities of unburned fuel, oil and other substances. Catalytic converters are small chambers where those unburned substances are combined with oxygen and burned more completely. The result? The exhaust that flows away from the catalytic converter and out the tailpipe is much “cleaner” than what came out of the engine.
  • When did they start being widely used? It all started back in 1975, when the U.S. government began to regulate the pollutants produced by cars, trucks, buses, and other vehicles.
  • Are they used on most kinds of internal-combustion engines? Yes, they are – you’ll find them on gas engines and diesel engines. You will not find them, however, on propane-powered engines or (of course) on electric cars. But guess what – hybrid gas/electric cars like the Toyota Prius and Chevrolet Volt still use catalytic converters to reduce the emissions from the gas-burning part of the hybrid setup.
  • What metals do they contain? Platinum is the most widely used. You could also find palladium, rhodium, cerium, manganese, and nickel.

What Structures Are Inside a Catalytic Converter?

Most of us know what the outside of catalytic converters looks like. But what’s inside? Basically, there’s a honeycomb-like structure where the secondary combustion takes place, triggered only by the high temperature of the exhaust gases that are leaving the engine.

Want to look? Here’s an excellent YouTube video that lets you look inside one without getting your hands dirty.


Unlocking the Dollars from the Precious Metals that Catalytic Converters Contain

Call Specialty Metals Smelters and Refiners at 800-426-2344 to discuss the converters that you have on hand. We’ll help you understand the converters that you have and explain their potential value. If you have 500 or more to recycle, you could be sitting on a surprisingly valuable quantity of precious metal.

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