How Much Platinum / Palladium / Rhodium in Catalytic Converters – And Approximate Worth

Latest update: July 22, 2021. Page URL indicates original publication date; meanwhile times change and the updates continue.

Platinum, rhodium and palladium are some of the elements known as platinum-group metals, otherwise known as PGMs.

The PGMs reside in the honeycomb region of the catalytic converter. The much-older catalytic converters originally used pellets, before the more efficient and less expensive honeycomb design came into use.

The amounts and proportions of PGMs depends on the age and type of vehicle.
  • Cars, light-duty trucks, and motorcycles average total is 2-6 grams.
  • Larger-engine SUV's and trucks average total can range anywhere from 6-30 grams.
28.35 grams equals an avoirdupois ounce. 31.1 grams equals a troy ounce.

Gasoline-powered-vehicle catalytic converters use all three of the aforementioned rare-earth metals (update: at current prices, I highly doubt rhodium is still being used). Diesel-powered-vehicle catalytic converters use only platinum and rhodium (update: rhodium usage for new vehicles is questionable). As a side note, PGMs are also in heavy demand in the electronics industries.

How Much Is a Catalytic Converter Worth?


The Shorter Answer...

Depending on the age and type of vehicle, the PGMs in a catalytic converter can be worth anywhere from $100 to a rare $1,000 or more. The newer and/or smaller cars being closer to $100. The larger, older vehicles could have catalytic converters worth $600 and up. As for the $1,000 and the skyrocketing prices of PGMs, older vehicles with the original converter are becoming more and more valuable; something to consider when selling an older vehicle.

Regarding the catalytic converter, keep in mind that what the PGMs are worth is not what you will be paid. There is the labor, cost of metal extraction, overhead, and the buyer's expected profit margin; not to mention the greed factor. It would also be wise to be able to prove ownership. Otherwise, a phone call might be being made inside while you are talking with the potential buyer outside. Driving in with the actual vehicle or at least the vehicle's paperwork will give you more legitimacy and probably even a higher price. Do extensively ask around and shop around. As a side note, oxygen sensors also use PGMs and have a recycle value.

The Longer Answer...

As a general rule: the older the vehicle, the more PGMs present in the catalytic converter. Because of the high cost of PGMs, industry continually strives to reduce the amount necessary by the use of other metals and materials and/or design changes
  • As of this latest update, platinum prices have been gyrating as usual these last two months and are off their highs. Prices are currently around $1,100 a troy ounce. This works out to $35.37 a gram. However and as usual, that troy ounce price could change either way by $50 in a heartbeat.
  • Palladium is likewise a mess. Currently around $2,731 a troy ounce or $87.81 a gram. Again off there earlier highs.
  • Rhodium prices have significantly dropped from around $26,000 to $17,500 a troy ounce in the last 60 days or so; price-per-gram now being around $563. It's a pretty good bet, catalytic converter manufacturers are still avoiding rhodium usage as much as possible. It sure would be nice to know when rhodium usage for catalytic converters was at its peak; those older model cars I would think are really worth something. The charts show rhodium about $575 a troy ounce 5 years ago.
Needless to say, prices fluctuate greatly; not only the value, but also the quantity and usage ratio of the three metals aren't exactly carved in stone either. Depending on the price and efficiency of each metal and/or its alloys, the composition and design the catalytic converter manufacturers use may change frequently. Then again, each change buries the manufacturer in the government bureaucracies of retesting, recertification, and no doubt many other laws and regulations; both federal and for each state. This could very well obstruct the manufactures from being able to quickly respond to PGM price changes. This would be especially applicable to after-market manufacturers.

Current prices for platinum and palladium can be found here, note the historical charts as well. Rhodium prices can be found here. Price information resources come and go. If the links stop working, a search will quickly find a new one.

Catalytic converters have really not added much salvage value to a scrapped or totaled car until recently, exceptions of course being the older and larger vehicles. And of course, thefts are still happening from those vehicles whose catalytic converters are easily accessible

It turns out the information to write this page was not easy to find. Fortunately, I stumbled across much of it buried in a government-archived article about catalytic converter cerium recovery written by the USGS. The article has more information scattered around about catalytic converters, what recyclers might be willing to pay for them, about platinum and the other PGMs, and other recycling information, etc. The prices stated in the government article are woefully obsolete, but the rest of the information is still valid.

Platinum Nugget. Source: USGS

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51 comments:

  1. Can you explain why Palladium is still being used as a catalyst in cars and trucks when platinum is 40% cheaper? At the time Palladium was first used it was about 1/3 the price of Platinum, so that made sense at that time to use it, but why now? Thanks for this tip.
    C E Carl

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    Replies
    1. Platinum is mainly used for diesel engines, which are being phased out in europe. Petrol engine cats require more palladium. That is why platinum is down and palladium is up.

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  2. Platinum Group Metals and Rare earth metals are not the same. The demand for rare earth metals is due to the Electric and Hybrid vehicle market. Rhodium is mainly used to reduce the formation of NOx palladium is not as efficient as platinum at converting HCs and CO to CO2 and H2o. It is costly however to convert over to another metal in manufacturing of catalyst.

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  3. How much palladium or other PGM is used in the average new hybrid? The electric car? I understand rare earth metals used in electric motors is also essential to production.

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    Replies
    1. I belive most electric motors use electromagnet not rare earth magnets.
      Copper is 2 bucks a pound clean scrap.
      50hp motor might have 100lbs of copper. I might be wrong though there are motors that use earth magnets. I though they were only pretty small ones.

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  4. How much moneys worth of precious metals do u get out of one converter I and going to use a plasma cutter to open them up will that work

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    Replies
    1. Every converter has a different amount of each of the platinum group metals. I am a converter buyer, the amount of each platinum group metal in each converter is what controls the scrap value and they are constantly changing. I have around 7000 different scrap converter prices on my price sheet. With some converters you would be lucky to get $10 worth of PGM's out and other converters have over $1000 worth of PGM's

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    2. Hello Shane! Are you ok sharing your price sheet?

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    3. I am a scrapper and would be interested if you could share that price sheet. I never know what to do with these things, open them and extract or ship whole. Maybe knowing prices would make it an easier decision.

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    4. I can share some info with you about cats

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    5. I will pay you for your price sheet.Where would you go to refine .your converters.ty for your time

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    6. I do not own rights to the pricing data. Pricing changes daily with the market. The smelters and refiners control the price data and you have to start doing business with them and contracts have to be signed to get the info. They all have there own database for prices. They don't give it out freely because it cost millions to assay each part # converter to get the PGM content just to create a price list. If you plan on going in deep and being a top tier buyer you need to plan on investing $100,000 to $150,000 at a minimum and deal with a refinery or smelter. I started about 20 years ago as a small time buyer and built myself up. I eventually started dealing with a company that had a pdf file price sheet. I sold a few loads to them and then started working on dealing with a refinery. The refinery wouldn't give me any pricing data until I traveled to the refinery with a load of converters and signed a non disclosure agreement. I simply used the pdf file to buy converters with until that point. Refineries won't deal with you unless you buy loads. Most that I've seen have around a 500 piece minimum, or the equivalent if you are decanting. Bottom line is if your not going to be investing a lot of cash just shop around and find a reputable buyer, beware!!! a lot of buyers will pay real good and sometimes even lose $ on the first few that they price for you just to get your business and then start lowballing you later. If you go big set you a percentage that you want to make and just stick with it across the board. Don't try to double your money. Treat people right and the business will steadily grow into a lasting income. I run on a 10% profit margin. Doesn't sound like much but if you build your business right you can make a very good and lasting income.

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    7. Shane Sparks

      After searching the market of pgms I pretty agree with you.
      However, how is it possible to be some catalyst so cheap like 10$ ? Even the 100$ catalysts have very low percentages in PGM, therefore 10$ catalysts have no pgms, and their whole value are the ceramics, aluminium, iron etc. So, have I to suppose that many catalysts are not doing the work that were made for? And how is this not illegal according to the environmental laws? (pgms are the reason of making the exhaust fumes less hazardous for the environment)

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    8. I'm in the state of Georgia I wanted to know is there any Refinery company out there that is willing to refine my converters for me Here is my contact number anyone with any information please feel free to contact me 706-308-5947 Dexter

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  5. Can someone sell the precious metals without the catalyic converter

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    Replies
    1. NO IMPOSSIBLE!!! KEEP.INTACT!!!

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    2. Somewhere someone is doing that, but they are set up to do it. It's not easy to extract and separate the different precious metals from old used catalytic converters. In fact it's quite a difficult and drawn out process. If it was easy enough that you could do it at home everybody would be doing it.

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    3. Does anyone buy new converter pellets? I have some from the early 1980's that was part of a general motors recall on the 307 Oldsmobile .

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  6. Where can one attain that price sheet

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  7. Hello, if you don’t mind please contact me at ams93@mail.aub.edu
    I am a researcher and I would like to know more about the types of converters and the distribution of metal accordingly.
    Thank you in advance

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  8. What are the possibilities of this business in india

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  9. DO NOT TAKE OUT TJE HONEYCOMB!!!! VERY HARD IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE TO SELL THAT WAY !!!! KEEP INTACT NUMBERS ON SHELL DETERMINES PRICE!!! PROVES WHAT IT IS INSIDE!!!

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  10. Hello, trying to sell a big volume of cat scrap from El Salvador Central America but kind of confused, some people recommend keeping the cats intact and sell them by part number and other ask us to use a decanner and just ship the honeycomb-dust to them. Our volume is big and we would like to get the best possible value. Your advice will be appreciated.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Abel. Estoy interesado en hablar contigo. Envíame un mensaje aquí. O a Hugo.portlandautos@gmail

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    2. Hablo english!?

      Contacto me @ boleyg88@gmail.com

      Top dollar!$$$$

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    3. I've been in the junk car business for over twenty-five years. I was always told to never take the converters apart as it makes them nearly impossible to identify. The value of a scrap catalytic converter is based on the serial number stamped or etched on the outside shell of each converter. If you separate the shell from the honeycomb (honeycomb=the guts of a catalytic converter) there is no way to verify the type of CC (CC=catalytic converter) that honeycomb was in originally. As a rule, the honeycomb in CC's all look the same. Without the shell or outer casing there is no serial number. Without a serial number the honeycomb from a CC is basically worthless in my experience.

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  11. Who will buy my converters at the best prices in from Canada and I will ship as long as I'm getting the proper dollar for my converters

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    Replies
    1. contact me at BBMsales@gmail for Canadian Cats. Thks

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    2. Send your price here: fidelodum8@gmail.com.
      Thanks a bunch

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  12. im a core buyer in michigan id like to talk with you further about potential buisness contact me at.

    Cardoctor5176269338@gmail.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have a price sheet to what you pay and what coverters you want the most

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    2. I would love to see it if all possible.ty for your time

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  13. how much does my clk320 2005 catalytic converters have PGA?

    ReplyDelete
  14. VW converters. Whats the best 1.

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  15. On average how much rhodium is found in a gas catalytic converter?

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  16. I like the rest of you guys are interested, slightly intrigued and even more so have the fever and twinkle in both eyes when it comes to the potential life changing kinda numbers I'm reading and learning about a possible business in the PGM industry I'm a lifelong go getter that trys on a daily to put my own spin on just about anything and everything I come in contact with most the time I strike out sometimes I get lucky and break just below even. And far and few in between I muck up and make a mistake that somehow by no fault of my own I slip up and fall into a puddle oozing in Pgms.
    Long story short we all have a common interest how can we come together and actually build something together over this interweb thingy that is beneficial to all that helps accordingly? If interested in my next grand idea send me email kingmikeconverter@gmail.com

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  17. A dated price sheet would be a great benefit.But you guys with the sheets like to keep them secret, like Diamond dealers do a rap, (rapport) price sheet. Bottom line little guy, get it from a smelter/refiner.

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  18. Indian please contact in this no +917008098616- Noorain.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Please get in contact with me I need more information about this business thanks so much my whats app is +447570053565 email Jmsalesteam121@hotmail.com

    ReplyDelete
  20. I am from Pakistan. I can provide CC.
    0092-317-1111101 Dont feel hesitate to contact.

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  21. I am from Nigeria. I can supply you exhaust catalyst in large quantities. And I need your email address and your WhatsApp number too. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  22. Contact me at
    804-661-4279
    My name is Samuel Stephenson
    My company name is: Sam Cores

    ReplyDelete
  23. I have a bundle of cats who can I ship to for a good profit leave me your direct number hereof text 9515798051 John strickland

    ReplyDelete
  24. I am located in Japan, in the used car export business and have just set up a shop for dismantling. Would be interested in working with someone who is interested in importing catalysts from Japan. Contact me if interested: Edward

    info@jce.international

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    Replies
    1. Contact me with some details of what you have or may have in future. We are in Canada and we import from all over the world. arizeco@gmail.com

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  25. Have some converters from 3 lincoln town cars
    One us 1983,1996,and 1995
    How much are they worth

    ReplyDelete
  26. I am dismantler from UAE and can supply Cats in loads. Interested buyers info@247spares.ae

    ReplyDelete
  27. Have a cat off of a 2001 ford excursion how much is it worth

    ReplyDelete