Why Are Catalytic Converters So Expensive?

Catalytic Converters

Everyone knows that there are seemingly endless parts in a car. From nuts and bolts to your car’s thermostat in the engine bay, it is easy to get lost in all of the mechanics. But one of the parts most people never see are catalytic converters. And believe it or not, it is the most expensive part inside your car.

The converter is the part in your car responsible for reducing your car’s emissions. Since most cars run on gasoline or diesel, the burning of these fuels release harmful emissions into the atmosphere. The catalytic converter actually converts almost all of your car’s dangerous emissions, nearly 90%, into a much safer gas.

How Do Catalytic Converters Work?

Inside the part are honeycomb shaped pieces of metal which are coated with platinum, palladium, and rhodium. When emissions from your engine pass through the converter, they react with the precious metals inside which is the catalyst for a chemical reaction. Therefore the gasses are reduced to a safer emission from your car.

How Much Do Catalytic Converters Cost?

These precious metals are also the reason for the cost of a catalytic converter. Since platinum is so expensive on its own, a catalytic converter in good shape can still fetch a solid price. While a new catalytic converter will cost upwards of $2,500, the labor will run you even more money.

If new converters are so expensive, can I buy a used catalytic converter? Believe it or not, it is illegal for anyone to sell a used catalytic converter who is not a commercial motor vehicle parts or repair business. Most people don’t think to ask themselves “is it legal to sell a used catalytic converter” because they never even consider it. So don’t try to sell an illegal used catalytic converter.

This is due to the precious metals and their potential for unwanted chemical reactions. So you may be able to get a discount from a local auto parts store, but due to the legality of acquiring used converters, inventory is short.

Most Expensive Catalytic Converters

You are probably wondering what cars have the most expensive catalytic converter for scrap, because why else? The cost of your converter will likely depend on the type of car your are driving. For example a Honda catalytic converter is going to cost much less than a Cadillac converter. Although the cost of either converter should not exceed $2,500. That being said, the catalytic converter cost will likely be more expensive for more expensive cars.

Older cars or trucks are less gas efficient and therefore produce more harmful emissions. That being said these vehicles will be the most expensive to replace the catalytic converter. The vehicle with the most expensive catalytic converter is the Ram 2500 costing between $3,500 – $4,000.

As for older cars or junk cars, the cost to replace the converter will include a couple factors. For starters replacing a catalytic converter on an old car is harder given the lack of matching inventory. Plus, the labor costs involved are higher due to the older car model. So if you want to sell a junk car catalytic converter, just give us a call.

Do Cars Need a Catalytic Converter?

Simply put, no you do not need a catalytic converter. Your car will run without a catalytic converter, but it is not recommended to do so. So do not ask “can I take my catalytic converter off?” because it is best left to a professional.

Firstly, your car will not pass inspection without a converter. Due to emission laws, it is required that inspected cars are renewed only if they have this crucial part.

The other reasons to not drive your car without a catalytic converter are due to performance. Not only will your car produce more harmful emissions, but other problems will follow. Your car will produce dark fumes from the exhaust with a bad odor.

If you ever run into problems with your own converter, we recommend getting your car inspected to make sure there are no technical problems with your car.