Home Diagnosis and TroubleshootingExhaust System Cat Converter: Price, Functions And How To Protect It 

Cat Converter: Price, Functions And How To Protect It 

by Jordan Harris
Catalytic Converter Made Of

Vehicles have made life more accessible, and you can travel a very long distance without worrying about how you will get there. However, these vehicles produce fumes while running. To avoid this pollution, the US government set up the National Emissions Standard Act; and this Act requires that all cars go through an emission output test and a cat converter is used to regulate these emissions.

The cat converter (catalytic converter) is a device of the modern exhaust systems that help all vehicles regulate emissions. Automobiles produce gas and fumes while running; these substances harm the environment. However, catalytic converters help control these fumes and make them more friendly to the environment. 

In line with the instructions of the Act, car manufacturers created the modern exhaust system, a system that helps reduce the level of emissions, and a catalytic converter is an essential part of this system.

Cat Converter Cleaner

When your vehicle’s catalytic converter is not in good condition, your car produces harmful gas into the air, affecting the whole environment. Like every other part of the car, car owners need to clean their cat converters once in a while, and this is when you need a cat converter cleaner.

You need to take good care of your catalytic converters and ensure that they don’t get clogged (unless you know how to hollow out a catalytic converter without removing it), at least not quickly. When a cat converter is faulty, your vehicle begins to exhaust fuel quickly, and it will start to produce dark exhaust smoke.

A cat converter cleaner comes as a solution to all cat converter issues. The magic cleaner helps to;

  • Remove and prevent carbon accumulation inside the cat converter.
  • Clean every part of the exhaust system.

Once you pour the cat converter cleaner inside the gas tank, it begins its operations as you use your vehicle, and it won’t cause any damage to other parts of the exhaust system. Getting a new catalytic converter can be very expensive (as is the case with a 2000 Jeep Cherokee catalytic converter or the 2008 Infiniti G35 catalytic converter or a 2008 Lexus ES 350 catalytic converter), and that’s why you need to try the catalytic converter cleaner. A premium and quality one is the best choice so that it won’t damage your vehicle.

Cat Converter Prices

One of the common features of catalytic converters is that they are costly. Catalytic converters are the most expensive component of most cars. They are costly because of the precious and rare materials that come into their production.

For instance, platinum costs about $1,135 per ounce, palladium costs about $2,332 per ounce, and rhodium is costly. The average cat converter will cost between $850 and $1,200, and this price range depends on the vehicle’s type, make, and model. Another factor determining the price is the size; a large cat converter costs more than a small one.

You should also note that this is just the catalytic converter’s price; engineers who will help you fix them will get their charges, and you have to calculate other costs. Some data has shown that the Ferrari F430 has the most expensive cat converter; it costs $3,770. The car uses two, which means to change the cat converter of a Ferrari F430 entirely, you will spend $7540.

Another car with a costly catalytic converter is the Lamborghini Aventador, it costs about $3,120, and it also needs cat converters to function well. The Ram 2500 also made it to this list, and its cat converter cost about $3,460. Ford F-250 costs about $2,804, and Ford Mustang is about $1,500. Catalytic converters are primarily expensive, so they need to be adequately maintained.

Cat Converter Protector

As cat converters are costly, thieves target this part of the vehicle; they enter the car and go away with the catalytic converter, whether to sell at a low price or fix in their vehicle. Two of the most common catalytic converter protectors are comprehensive insurance coverage and sensitive alarm setting. It’s effortless to disconnect a catalytic converter from a car and get away with it.

A thief will slide under the vehicle and disconnect the catalytic converter within 2-3 minutes with a hacksaw. Apart from the two mentioned above, there are several cat protectors in the market, depending on your vehicle. Some companies built a metal shield that you can easily install on the undercarriage of a Toyota Prius. Other common types of cat converter protectors are;

1. A Universal Cat Converter Alarm

It is cheap and can be attached to any car. The alarm makes a loud sound once anyone messes with it. Make sure you set the alarm with a fob when leaving the vehicle.

2. The Catalytic Converter Lock

It is suitable for cars with small gas and diesel engines. This catalytic converter protector has a very thick cable, and it serves as a cage for your cat converter. The cable thickness makes it very hard for thieves to steal it easily (note the signs of a stolen catalytic converter – and learning how to prevent catalytic converter theft).

3. Cat Converter Protection Shield For The Toyota Prius

Toyota Prius owners are the luckiest when it comes to catalytic converter protectors, and this is because it is easy to attach a metal shield under a Prius (which is a good technique to learn how to protect your catalytic converter). The catalytic converter protection shield for Toyota Prius 2010-15, catalytic converter shield 2004-2009 Toyota Prius 1.5L, and catalytic converter protection for Toyota Tacoma 4×4, 2016-2022, 3.5l.

Cat Converter Problems

Under careful usage and maintenance, a catalytic converter should last for about ten years. However, issues such as overheating, contamination, clogging, and so on can arise, which will affect the functionality, and in no time, the engine will shut down. Look out for engine coolant that can enter the combustion system through a leaking cylinder and engine oil.

The fluid from the engine coolant can clog the catalytic converter and affect the perfect flow of oxygen in and out of the exhaust system. Also, another issue is when the converter begins to overheat because of a large amount of unburned gas and a faulty oxygen sensor. You will most likely find catalytic converters underneath the car; thus, road debris can damage them.

Catalytic Converter Symptoms

  • Dark smoke coming out from the exhaust.
  • The underneath of the vehicle begins to overheat.
  • The engine starts to malfunction.
  • The odor from the exhaust.

Cat Converter

Catalytic Converter Theft

Cat converters are expensive, so thieves are willing to steal them from vehicles. They can be removed from most vehicles in less than 10 minutes. Thieves target cat converters because it’s easy to sell a cat converter at a very cheap rate since people know it’s costly. This explains why are catalytic converters being stolen.

How To Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft

One of the most effective ways to prevent catalytic converter theft is to install a vehicle alarm system with a shock sensor. The shock sensor will activate and trigger the alarm when cutting the parts and removing the converter.

1. Park Where A Thief Can’t Slide Under

To steal a cat converter, thieves have to slide under your car and use a saw or other cutting tools to remove the box from the pipes attached. To prevent this, park your car close to walls, trees, or containers where no one can slide under (this explains why people are stealing catalytic converters).

2. Purchase A Cat Converter That Has A Serial Number

Some manufacturers will engrave a serial number on your cat converter so that if anyone steals it, it will be easy to locate. Some garages also give stickers that you can paste on your window to show that your cat converter is marked. To learn more, check out our guide on the catalytic converter code lookup.

3. Weld Your Cat Converter Bolts

Welding is another way of preventing cat converter theft (for more context, check out our guide on how to know if your catalytic converter is stolen and what does a missing catalytic converter sound like). All cat converters come with bolts; hire a professional welder to help you make sure that the bolts become very difficult to lose.

4. Catloc

This preventive measure is for Toyota users. It is a device attached around the converter to make it impossible to remove. With a catloc, cutting a cat converter from underneath the car becomes very difficult and time-consuming.

5. Security Camera Installation

You can prevent thieves from stealing your cat converter by installing security cameras such as CCTV, ring doorbell, etc. This method will be more effective if you park your car in your driveway. To learn more, check out our explainer on why do they steal catalytic converters.

6. Park Your Car In Areas That Have Light

It’s easy to steal anything, including your car, in a dark area. Make sure your driveway or garage has bright lights and a place where people pass by every time; this will reduce the possibility of anyone stealing your car converter.

7. Alarm Installation

If you are in a community where cat converter theft is rampant, you need to invest in an alarm system. The loud noise from the cat alarm will help chase thieves away and alert you to check your car quickly.

8. CatClamp

The CatClamp is attached to the exhaust pipes instead of the converter. It protects different sizes and shapes of converters. It also prevents the possibility of damaging the heat shield or the car’s oxygen sensor.

9. Park Your Car Close To Your House

If you don’t have a garage, park your car close to your house. Keep your vehicle away from the roadside, where thieves can easily access it.

Cat Converter

Catalytic Converter Scrap Value By Serial Number

Knowing the serial number of your converter can help you determine its value. Once you get it, enter the serial number into a database to know its value. Some cat converters don’t have serial numbers; you can snap the converter if you don’t. A cat converter is made from different precious materials, which are expensive and valuable.

Where To Find The Serial Number In The Catalytic Converter

Different cars use different locations for the catalytic converter serial number. For instance, Audi users will find the cat converter serial number on the logo. Chrysler and Dodges have the serial number near the rear end of the converter.

If you replaced your cat converter, you would still have the scrap converter of the old one, which you can sell (or learn how to track the catalytic converter by VIN number). You won’t be able to get a good deal if you don’t know the value of your cat, and that’s why you need to know the serial number of your converter.

Catalytic Converters With The Highest Scrap Value

The Ferrari F430 has the highest scrap value. It values around $3000. European cars also command a high scrap value (more so than the Chevy Equinox catalytic converter scrap price); the value is around 115% in the market. Next are the American and French cars. The cat converters contain high amounts of platinum and rhodium.

Factors That Determine The Price Of Catalytic Converters

Many people make the mistake of concluding that all cat converters are created equal and have the same price. However, some factors like engine volume and country of manufacturing influence the value of the cat converter. Knowing what influences the unit’s price can help when getting a replacement.

1. Condition Of The Unit

If the converter is in good shape and condition, the price will be high. Contrary to that, a catalytic converter that is damaged or chipped can’t command a high price. The cost and value of a cat converter begin to diminish when it breaks or generates any fault.

2. Engine Type

The engine value is another factor that determines the price of a cat converter or scrap converter. A heavy converter always contains the most precious metals, making it command a reasonable market price.

3. The Country Of Manufacturing

The country of manufacture is another factor affecting the scrap value; some countries have strict environmental standards, which will also influence the value of the cat converters that they produce. Also, similar cat converters can have different prices in different countries.

Most Stolen Catalytic Converters

Gas-powered cars produced after 1975 are always a target for catalytic converter theft. Generally, thieves target older cars because they have many precious metals in their cat converter. Also, hybrid cars’ cat converters are most likely to be stolen because their cat converter sees little or no use compared to modern cars with metals that are easy to cut and destroy.

Cars like SUVs with high ground clearance also attract catalytic converter thieves because getting under the vehicle to remove the cat from the pipe is very easy (which you can notice by the missing catalytic converter sound and how to tell if a catalytic converter is missing). It is easy to steal a cat converter attached to a car with bolts (hence, the importance of catalytic converter theft laws).

Catalytic Converter Replacement Cost

One of the frustrations of a cat converter arises when it takes to replace them, the replacement cost is expensive (as is the case with a 2003 Lincoln Town Car catalytic converter or the 2006 Honda Pilot catalytic converter), and the price varies from place to place. Also, a factor determining the cost of cat replacement is the type of cat. Generally, there are two types of cat converter;

  • The Direct-fit Cat Converter
  • Universal-fit Cat Converter

To replace a universal-fit catalytic converter, you may spend around $2,300 because replacing this kind of converter is less complicated. Direct-fit cat converters are quite complex to replace, affecting the cost. For this kind of converter, you may spend between $400 to $2,500 (bearing in mind the cost to replace catalytic converter Honda CRV) depending on the make and model of the car. You will also have to pay for labor costs between $80 and $ 140.

Universal Catalytic Converter

A universal catalytic converter is the most popular and sometimes the best option for those who want to replace their cat converter. A universal cat converter can fit different cars and is also less expensive. The issue arises when it is time to choose the best for your vehicle, there are several universal cat converters on the market, and choosing the best will go a long way.

To choose the best universal catalytic converter, you need to consider the size. When you purchase a converter with the appropriate size, it is easy to install on your vehicle. You must also consider the construction and lifespan, a well constructed and durable converter will function well for an extended period. Below is a list of the best universal cat converters;

Does Insurance Cover Cat Converter Theft?

You are protected against a cat converter theft if you have a complete and comprehensive auto insurance policy. On the other hand, liability insurance doesn’t cover the theft of cat converters. A complete auto insurance policy will ensure a provision that will cover the replacement and repair costs. To learn more, check out our guide on does insurance cover catalytic converter theft.

Facts: How to Determine Catalytic Converter Scrap Value by Serial Number

  • Catalytic converters are valuable components made with expensive materials like platinum, rhodium, and palladium.
  • It’s important to determine the financial worth of your car’s catalytic converter, especially if you plan to sell it off as scrap metal (as you would with the Scion TC catalytic converter scrap price).
  • The scrap value of a catalytic converter can be determined by its serial number.
  • The serial number can be found on the edge or outskirts of the catalytic converter and is a combination of letters and figures.
  • Once you have the serial number, you can enter it into an online database like Eco Cat or ConverterDatabase to determine its scrap value.
  • A catalytic converter number lookup is recommended to ensure you don’t sell the part at a cheap price.
  • Different catalytic converters have varying scrap prices (as with the Mini Cooper catalytic converter scrap value) depending on their condition, country of production, etc.
  • Free catalytic converter price lookups are available online, but a monthly subscription will provide the best experience.
  • The scrap prices of catalytic converters are different in different countries due to varying emissions regulations (to learn more, check out our guide on do you need a catalytic converter).
  • The value of a catalytic converter can help you negotiate a better price with a scrap metal dealer and maximize the component whenever you get a new replacement.

Frequently Asked Questions On Cat Converters

Here are some popular FAQs:

Why Do People Steal Cat Converters

Cat converters are the target of theft because of the material’s platinum and rhodium content. Platinum and rhodium are precious and rare metals that are useful and valuable and can command a high value in the market. People also steal cat converters because it’s easy, and it doesn’t take thieves a long time to detach from underneath the car.

What Is A Cat Converter

A cat converter is a device that helps to regulate the emissions produced by your car. It helps change your gas’s harmful gas into a less poisonous substance. It’s a device between the engine and the muffler underneath all gas-powered vehicles. It contains platinum, palladium, and rhodium, enabling harmful substances in the car’s exhaust system to mix and convert to safer substances. When a poisonous gas such as carbon monoxide enters the cat converter, it combines with oxygen and comes out of it as carbon dioxide, a safer gas.

How To Clean A Cat Converter

To clean a cat converter, you’ll need a catalytic converter cleaner to pour into the fuel tank. With this method, you do not need to remove the converter. The second method of cleaning a cat converter requires removing the cat converter from underneath the car with the right tools, such as Jack stands, floor jack, etc. Soak the cat converter in a dishwashing solution and leave it to dry.

Which Cars Are Least Likely To Have Catalytic Converters Stolen

Cars manufactured in America, such as Ford, Chevy, Jeep, Dodge, and Chrysler, do not have valuable cat converters; hence they are less targeted by thieves. Also, Nissan, Hyundai, Mazda, and Subaru cars don’t have high-value vehicles; thus, thieves don’t target their cat converters.

Do All Cars Have A Catalytic Converter

Not all cars have a catalytic converter. They are only common with vehicles produced after 1975 to control and regulate emissions from car exhaust systems. You probably won’t find a catalytic converter in electric cars, but most hybrid vehicles have.

How Much Platinum Is In A Cat Converter

An average catalytic converter contains about 3-7 grams of platinum. The quantity of platinum in a car converter varies, and this variation has to do with the make and model of cars. Due to their high platinum content, Ferrari F430 and Lamborghini have some of the most expensive catalytic converters.

How Much Rhodium Is In A Cat Converter

A catalytic converter has an average of 1-2 grams of rhodium. The make and model of a car and its engine determine the amount of rhodium in its cat converter. Vehicles with the same engine can have different catalytic converters in other countries. Rhodium costs about $290 per gram.

Where Is The Catalytic Converter

You will find the catalytic converter of most cars and trucks underneath them as part of the exhaust system. It’s between the engine and muffler. It looks like a small metal box with a hose. Catalytic converters are made up of platinum and rhodium materials.

How Much Is A Catalytic Converter Worth

An average cat converter value is between $800-$1,200. You have to consider the make and model of a vehicle to determine its worth. Factors like engine volume, condition of the converter (fairly used or new), and the country of manufacturing affect the price.

Conclusion On Cat Converters

Cat converter (catalytic converter) is an essential component of a car that helps convert harmful emissions from the car exhaust system into an environmentally friendly substance. They are expensive because they are made from rare metals. To prolong the lifespan of your car’s catalytic converter, you should clean it when you suspect it’s clogged. This article contains every information about catalytic converters that you need to know.

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