How Much Do Catalytic Converters Weigh?

Posted: January 3, 2023

Most materials are measured by weight in the scrap industry, by ounces, pounds, or tons. Scrap prices are based on the weight of materials like copper or steel, just like our main company, Rockaway Recycling, does. So naturally, when it comes to recycling catalytic converters, people will assume that they need to know the weight of a unit before selling it for scrap.

Weight of a Catalytic Converter Doesn’t Matter…

While some converters weigh a lot more than others, that doesn’t mean you will get more money for them. When valuing a catalytic converter, the unit’s weight is not essential but rather the recovered weight of the precious metals inside.

So How Do Catalytic Converters Get Priced?

The RRCats team will quote your catalytic converter based on the type of converter, including the serial number on the converter. The reason is that various units have different recovered amounts of precious metals. So the weight of the catalytic converter is not accounted for when quoting the scrap price but rather what the record shows for the recovered weight of precious metals inside a converter.

Some converters will only have partial ounces of precious metals recovered. But when some precious metals are over $10,000 per ounce, that equals a lot.

While the weight of the converter doesn’t account for when we price your converters, it’s still good to know what they weigh. Below is a list of the common types of converters and approximately how much they each weigh.

Age of the Converter Affects Weight

Older catalytic converters could weigh more than newer ones for a few reasons. They were made bigger back in the 1970s and 1980s due to their technology at the time. Since the mid-1980s and today, catalytic converters have decreased overall size while increasing their environmental impact.

There is a common misconception that the older the catalytic converters are and the heavier they are, they can be worth more – this is not true in most cases. Due to more restrictions on air quality, the newer converters typically have more precious metals recovered inside.

The Location On the Engine Can Affect Weight Too

Some cars have multiple catalytic converters, and those placements of the cats will also dictate their weight. For example, a catalytic converter next to the engine (manifold cat) will often be smaller than some of the catalytic converters directly under the cars, and these manifold cats will weigh less. That does not mean their weight values are lower, but they will impact how they get onto the cars.

The catalytic converters installed underneath the cars will generally be bigger and weigh more than the manifold or pre-cats on vehicles. These primary catalytic converters could weigh less than the manifold cats due to less steel- but still, be worth more money because of the precious metals inside them.

Size of the Engine Affects Weight of Catalytic Converters

The size of the catalytic converters will undoubtedly affect how much it weighs, but not always their value. Many engines and cars will want the exhaust fumes to go through a more extensive area to filter out more materials, which is ok. The bigger and heavier units do not always add value- but often increase the size.

Overall, it is hard to judge the scrap value of a catalytic converter off the weight, but you could have a few circumstances. Some catalytic converters are called foil cats and have circular patterns inside them that are precious metals coated on top of stainless steel or another metal. These cannot be ground down into a powder for refining but must be melted. These foil catalytic converters can be some of the heaviest units but will be bought on a per pound basis instead of a per-unit basis.

Knowing the weight of the catalytic converters isn’t essential instead, getting an accurate picture and serial numbers to send to our team to quote you based on the make and model.

Contact Our Team for A Quote

We can accurately quote your catalytic converter and hold your prices for 10 days regardless of the market changes. Also, all OEM (original equipment manufacturer) units always get FREE shipping.


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