why do scrap yards pay so much for catalytic coverters?

You may have heard of people sneaking around in the dead of night and taking bits of people's cars, but did you know that 9 times out of 10 they're probably stealing a catalytic converter? Catalytic converters are a precious piece of kit and can fetch a hefty price when sold or scrapped, which is why criminals go to such lengths to get their hands on them.

Scrap Catalytic Converter Prices

But why do scrap yards pay so much money for catalytic converters? And will your car survive without one? If you've been asking yourself these very questions then you're in the right place. Today we're going to talk you through the purpose of a catalytic converter, why it's so valuable, and what you should do if you wake up and find out yours has gone missing!

What is a catalytic converter?

Catalytic converters have been fitted to cars since 1992, and nowadays every car (except the fancy new electric ones) will have a catalytic converter to help clean harmful gases from your car's exhaust emissions.

A series of chemical reactions that take place in the catalytic converter change gases such as carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen dioxide, all of which are harmful to the environment, into less harmful by-products.

The inside of a catalytic converter has a distinct honeycomb appearance and is coated with a catalyst that aids in processing the exhaust gases. Without a catalytic converter, your car would be spouting all kinds of harmful chemicals into the atmosphere.

While petrol cars will never be as eco-friendly as the electric alternatives we see today, catalytic converters work hard to reduce the environmental impact of our cars. 

Why are catalytic converters so valuable?

Catalytic converters are fitted to any car with an internal combustion engine, so they're not exactly hard to come by. So if they're not rare, why are they so valuable? Well, the reason catalytic converters are so valuable is that they contain precious metals such as platinum, rhodium, and palladium.


Catalytic converters contain platinum, a metal you might associate with luxury jewellery. Despite looking good in jewellery, platinum also has many other scientific qualities as an electrode that allow it to be suitable for a range of other uses, including: 

  • Optical fibres and wires
  • Medial equipment such as pacemakers
  • Catalytic converters


Rhodium is one of the rarest metals in the world, and is also the most expensive; a single ounce is worth over £12k! Over 80% of the worlds rhodium is currently being used for catalytic converters. 


Similar to platinum, palladium is also commonly used in jewellery as well as catalytic converters. Palladium also has the extraordinary ability to absorb 900 times its volume in hydrogen, making it invaluable as a material for a catalytic converter. 

As you can imagine, with a payload like this attached to every car on the street, catalytic converters are an excellent target for thieves and also worth a lot of money when taken to scrap car dealers. The three precious metals we mentioned earlier, can be taken out of catalytic converters, recycled, and used to create jewellery, electronics, and more. 

What should I do if my catalytic converter is stolen?

So we now know what a catalytic converter is and why it fetches such a high price when it's taken to a car scrap dealer, but what are you supposed to do if you wake up one day and find that your catalytic converter has been stolen?

Firstly, how will you even know it's been stolen? Well, you should be able to tell right away when you start your car up. The exhaust will make a much louder noise than usual! If you suspect your catalytic converter has been stolen, it's important that you phone the police and report the theft right away. 

Once you've reported the theft, you should contact your insurer to find out what steps you can take to get a new one as quickly as possible. As you can imagine, they're quite expensive to replace, so doing it through your insurance can help you manage the cost. 

Scrapping your car is easy with A&L Car Scrap Dealers

If your car has reached the natural end of its life, we want to help you get the best return possible. Here at A&L Car Scrap Dealers, we make it easy for you to get a quote and get rid of your car. You can get a quote instantly by putting your registration details and postcode into our website, then, once you're happy with the quote, we'll arrange to pick up your vehicle from your home - taking the stress out of the scrap process!

To find out more, drop us an email at info@scrap-car-dealers.co.uk or give us a call on 01446 701707. We're more than happy to help!


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