How Much Is A Stolen Catalytic Converter Worth

The Real Value of a Stolen Catalytic Converter: The Shocking Truth

The catalytic converter is a part of the exhaust system that helps convert toxic substances into less harmful ones like water vapor and carob dioxide. Because of that, this device is found in all modern fuel-powered vehicles.

In order to neutralize those toxic substances, the catalytic converter contains several precious metals. Unfortunately, this means that catalytic converters are a common target for thieves since they can make quite a large profit from selling them.

How Much Is A Stolen Catalytic Converter Worth?

The value of a stolen catalytic converter depends strongly on the type of vehicle it’s from and the year of production. In general, a reseller might pay anywhere between $50 to $550 for a catalytic converter, but in some cases, it might be even more: up to $1000.

Hybrids tend to have more valuable converters, so these usually go for higher prices. Pickup trucks, SUVs, and trucks also have valuable catalytic converters, but they’re not as profitable as those from hybrids.

Why are catalytic converters worth so much?

Catalytic converters contain precious metals, including platinum, palladium, and rhodium. These precious metals are expensive, so it pays off for thieves to steal these devices because of their metal content.

In the same way, the catalytic converter itself isn’t worth much. Instead, its value is determined by the type of vehicle it’s from and the amount of each of the precious metals inside.

A traditional catalytic converter contains about three to seven grams of platinum, two to seven grams of palladium, and one or two grams of rhodium.

Man counting money

These precious metals have a high resale value. So, the more of these the catalytic converter has, the more expensive it is.

Another reason why catalytic converters are valuable is the metals they’re made from as a whole. If the catalytic converter is lifted from a high-value car, the converter itself can be quite valuable as well.

That’s why the type, model, and age of the vehicle the catalytic converter was taken from is also very important when determining the overall resale value of the catalytic converter parts,

Where do thieves sell stolen catalytic converters?

Scrap Yard

Where thieves sell stolen catalytic converters depends on the type they stole and what’s available in the region they live.

In general, their best bet is to sell them on scrap yards. Resellers there will focus on the value of the metals found in the catalytic converter instead of the value of the catalytic converter itself.

And that is better for those trying to make some quick cash.

In addition, many people who sell their old vehicles for parts often remove the catalytic converter in order to sell it separately. This allows the owners to get more money, first for the car and then for the catalytic converter.

Some thieves choose to sell stolen catalytic converters in other places, such as directly to some buyers. But, in most cases, scrap yards are the best choice.

What cars have the most valuable catalytic converters?

Toyota prius

All vehicles containing catalytic converters are susceptible to catalytic converter theft. But there are certain vehicles that are routinely targeted since they have the most valuable converters.

The vehicles with the most valuable converters include Hyundai Tucson, Honda CR-V, Ford F-Series, Kia Sportage, and Toyota Prius.

Some of these vehicles are hybrids and SUVs, which make for a very popular and common target for catalytic converter thieves.

Hybrids, in particular, have a higher standard for cleaning emissions. Because of that, the catalytic converters in these vehicles are more expensive and contain more precious metals.

So, experts recommend that all hybrid owners take safety precautions to avoid having their catalytic converters stolen.

On the other hand, some American cars like Jeep, Ford, Dodge, and Chevrolet don’t have valuable catalytic converters. Some even are equipped with so-called ‘bead converters,’ which don’t have a high resale value.

So, these vehicles are rarely targeted since they don’t bring much profit. 

Why is a stolen catalytic converter worth much less than a new one?

Catalytic converter remove

Since the number of precious metals in the catalytic converter doesn’t change with use, it might be intriguing why a stolen catalytic converter costs a lot less than a new one. There are several causes behind that.

First of all, the catalytic itself becomes used and old, which decreases its value. Just like with everything, older things tend to cost less than new ones, and the same goes for car parts, even if they’re in great condition.

In addition, a new catalytic converter is priced as a whole, whereas a stolen catalytic converter often derives its value from the metals it contains.

As a result, a stolen catalytic converter can cost anywhere between $25 to $1000, but a new one can cost as much as $3000. 

That’s why catalytic converter theft is so frustrating for car owners since replacing a catalytic converter, particularly if your car has two, can break the bank.

Can you buy a used catalytic converter to replace a stolen one?

Fixing engine

While there’s no law preventing that, it’s best not to replace a stolen catalytic converter with a used one.

In many cases, you might find that the used one you purchased has also been stolen and doesn’t work as it should anymore.

In addition, it’s very hard to find a used catalytic converter that fits a specific vehicle. Choosing the wrong one can negatively impact the car’s performance and even damage the engine in the long run.

Used catalytic converters are primarily sold for their parts, such as the precious metals they contain. Because of that, they’re not specific to any vehicle.

So, if you’re looking to replace your car’s catalytic converter, it’s best to choose a new one, even though they can be quite expensive.


Stolen catalytic converters have quite a high resale value, making them a very profitable choice for thieves. Depending on the type of catalytic converter and its worth, such a stolen device can be worth even up to $1000.

That said, replacing a stolen catalytic converter costs even more. As a result, it’s very important to take some safety precautions to avoid spending money needlessly.

Sources: JSTOR, Frontiers, Science Direct, and Research Gate

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