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How Much Gold Is In A Catalytic Converter?

February 23, 2024 | Victor Lukasso

In 2023, the United States experienced approximately 24,000 incidents of stolen catalytic converters. According to Been Verified, this is a significant increase from the 14,300 thefts reported in 2020, 65,400 in 2021, and 26,000 in 2022. According to available data, Washington State currently has the highest theft rate.

Many people are wondering why there has been a surge in catalytic converter theft. The component contains valuable materials that can fetch thousands of dollars on the black market.

If you’re curious about the value of gold and other precious materials in catalytic converters, read on…

What Is The Reason For Using Gold In A Catalytic Converter?

The use of gold in catalytic converters was mainly due to the presence of other valuable metals like platinum, rhodium, and palladium.

Gold is employed as a catalyst because of its capability and effectiveness in neutralizing harmful substances such as carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons in a car’s exhaust emissions, even before the gas is released into the atmosphere.

This process is similar to the roles that platinum, rhodium, and palladium play in catalytic converters. When the hot catalysts in the converter come in contact with gaseous pollutants, a chemical reaction occurs, breaking down toxic molecules into less harmful ones like carbon dioxide and water before the emissions are released through the car’s exhaust pipes.

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However, finding gold in modern-day catalytic converters is challenging, so platinum, palladium, and rhodium have taken over. Nevertheless, these valuable metals still attract catalytic converter thieves.

The best solution to deter criminals from stealing your vehicle’s catalytic converter is to take preventive measures and ensure the component’s safety. The metals in your car’s converter are all valuable to perpetrators, and you can also benefit economically when any of these metals are recovered from a used converter.

How Much Is The Gold Worth In A Catalytic Converter?

The scrap metal market valued gold in a catalytic converter at around $1,717 per ounce. However, the value of gold fluctuates on the metal exchange market, with prices ranging from $1,792.00 per ounce, $57.61 per gram, and $57,612.80 per kilo.

Rhodium is worth even more, valued at $14,450 per ounce. Meanwhile, platinum and palladium are valued at $889 per ounce and $2,226 per ounce, respectively, as of 2022 on metal exchange platforms.

Rather than discarding your old catalytic converter, selling it can yield some financial returns from the precious metals contained within.

How To Recover Gold From Catalytic Converters?

Currently, gold is no longer used as a catalyst in car catalytic converters. However, recovering rhodium can also be used to extract gold. The aqua regia mixture, a combination of nitric and hydrochloric acid, is an effective solution for dissolving gold. After grinding the honeycomb-like structure of the converter with a rod mill, the byproduct is placed in the aqua regia mixture.

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To retrieve the gold in the catalytic converter, it is then precipitated out with ferrous sulfide. However, this extraction method is hazardous and should only be done by industry professionals. It is recommended to seek the help of an expert to ensure the safe and effective extraction of gold from your catalytic converter.

The catalytic converter currently contains platinum, rhodium, and palladium, and you can also learn how to extract these metals from a catalytic converter. The process of extracting platinum from a catalytic converter is relatively simple.

How Much Precious Metals Do You Get Out Of A Catalytic Converter?

The amount of precious metals in a catalytic converter depends on the make, model, engine size, and other vehicle features. On average, a standard catalytic converter contains approximately 1-2 grams of rhodium, 2-7 grams of palladium, and 3-7 grams of platinum.

Despite being small, catalytic converters remain a target for thieves due to the high value of the precious metals they contain. In the United States, thieves are increasingly attempting to steal catalytic converters, as they know these metals’ industrial and commercial uses.

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According to recent reports, the top 10 cars targeted by catalytic converter thieves in the United States are the 2005-2021 Chevrolet Equinox, 2007-2017 Jeep Patriot, 1989-2020 Honda Accord, 1990-2022 Ford Econoline, 1997-2020 Honda CR-V, 1987-2019 Toyota Camry, 2001-2021 Toyota Prius, 1999-2021 Chevrolet Silverado, 2011-2017 Chrysler 200, and 1985-2021 Ford F-Series.

Catalytic converter thieves typically have no problem finding buyers for the recovered precious metals, including platinum, as there is a market for these metals.

In Conclusion

With the information you now have about the value of gold in a catalytic converter, you can profit by selling the converter from your old car. However, it’s important to note that car manufacturers no longer use gold in catalytic converters. Instead, they use other precious metals such as rhodium, palladium, and platinum.

A typical catalytic converter today contains approximately 1-2 grams of rhodium, 2-7 grams of palladium, and 3-7 grams of platinum instead of gold. If you own an older car, you can check the catalytic converter for gold, but if you own a newer car, you can still make money by selling the other available precious metals used as alternatives to gold.

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Meet Victor Lukasso, the owner of V. Auto Basics. Through this blog, Victor Provides Insights on the latest tips, maintenance, repair, and techniques in the automotive world.