Identifying Scrap Catalytic Converters

Where To Find Serial Numbers

Our team is here to help you continue to learn the most about catalytic converters and scrapping them. In this installment, we look at multiple manufacturers’ catalytic converters and what characteristics to look for to identify if they are OEM (what’s that?).


First: Look for that Serial Number!

The video below will be useful when looking for the serial number on your cat. Which will help identify what kind and how much the converter is worth. Do not forget that not all serial numbers are in the same place nor do they look the same.

Not All Serial Numbers Are The Same

Some have letters, numbers, and some have both in different orders. It is important to know that any set of numbers that you find should be sent to the team so we can get your catalytic converter quoted quickly. 


Finding Serial Number on Your Catalytic Converter:

Below is a list of the most popular and common catalytic converters that are sold for scrap. We have collected some of the common brands and vehicles that have OEM cats, and we have recycled before. We will keep this guide updated with the latest information on catalytic converters. We help you with how to identify them before you send them in for a quote.

Identifying Audi & Volkswagon Catalytic Converters

  • Many Audi cats are classified as foil cats
  • Audi and Volkswagen are sister companies, and oftentimes their cats will have both the VW and Audi logo on them. 
  • When looking for the serial code, you will look for an Alpha/numeric combination.
    • Sample Serial Number: 1 K0 13170 1 DS 
    • Sample Serial Number: 5Q0 131 701 N
    • Sample Serial Number: 1K0131701bs

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Identifying General Motors & Chevrolet Catalytic Converters

  • Many GMs have two cats, a pre-cat and a regular or full-sized cat.
  • Generally, serial numbers for GM/Chevy Cats will start with the following sequences.
    • 126 _ _ _ _ _
    • 127 _ _ _ _ _
    • 251 _ _ _ _ _
    • 253 _ _ _ _ _ 

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Identifying Chrysler & Dodge Catalytic Converters

  • Some have a triangle pattern as opposed to the regular checkered pattern.
  • Serial numbers could often be stamped on the edging of the cat, not on the cat itself.
  • Did you know Dodge and Chrysler are the same company? – Often the converters will be priced in the same classification.

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Identifying Ford Catalytic Converters

  • Ford catalytic converters have multiple codes on them.
    • Example: 5e212 looks like a code but is generally a generic number for them. After the 5E212, other sets of numbers will not always get entered in the order they appear.
  • Sometimes the Ford serial numbers are hidden behind shields, and the shield would need to be cut to get the whole serial number.
  • The Ford Torpedo Cats have inside them what we call Biscuits the more biscuits the more honeycomb material, the more they could be worth. You will hear these referred to as 2, 3, 4, etc biscuit Catalytic Converters

Ford Serial Serial Numbers are set up differently. We are looking for a particular order when quoting. 

Order usually is:

#1    |    #2    |    #3

4-Digit – 5-Digit – 2-Digit

Example: XF1C – 5F250 –  HB

When sending your serial numbers put them in this order. #2, #1, and #3

Send it to us like this: 5E212 – F4TA – AD

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Identifying BMW Catalytic Converters

  • Generally, the serial number for BMW Catalytic Converters will be with numbers 701 _ _ _ _ _
  • BMW Diesel cats are very expensive and have a different shape to them than other regular gas cats. More of a rectangle.
  • Smaller Cats are generally foil/Pre-Cats.

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Identifying Honda Catalytic Converters

  • On Honda Catalytic Converters, there is an obvious hole where the 02 sensor was. Where the wings come off can be identified.   
  • O2 Slant vs. O2 Straight Cats.
  • Cats without O2 sensors are going to be less expensive.

Differences in Types of Honda Catalytic Converters

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Identifying Hyundai & Kia Catalytic Converters

  • On Hyundai or Kia catalytic converters, generally, there are 5-6 digits containing numbers and letters
  • Serial numbers are usually on the silver shield, so it’s best not to remove this.
    • When customers take the shield off, and the number is not stamped on the cat we can only go off of photo grading.
    • Serial Number Example: BSC9 

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Identifying Infiniti & Nissan Catalytic Converters

  • When identifying Nissan or Infiniti catalytic converters, be sure to look for a serial number
  • Many of these are two to four-cat systems, which means there are more in the systems.
  • Some cats have two cats that are put together.

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Identifying Mazda Catalytic Converters

  • There are unique serial numbers when you have a Mazda catalytic converter to scrap.
  • Usually will be graded as foreign pre, small foreign, or medium foreign on average. 

Learn More About Mazda Cats in this video:

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Identifying Mercedes Benz Catalytic Converters

  • Mercedes Benz catalytic converters will have an 8 to 10-digit serial number.
  • It could be a brighter color and will almost always have the logo.
  • 2-3 sets of numbers/codes
    • Serial Number Example: A211 (generic ID #)
    • Serial Number Example: KT0121

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Identifying Mitsubishi Catalytic Converters

  • When scrapping Mitsubishi catalytic converters, look for small digit codes next to the Mitsubishi logo sometimes
  • You will see the Mitsubishi logo usually on the center of the shield on the catalytic converter – this lets you know your cat is OEM.
  • The serial numbers for Mitsubishi are usually short 2 characters long and can have a mix of Letters and Numbers or Just letters.
    • Serial Number Examples: Z3, X2, ZS

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Identifying Porsche Catalytic Converters

  • Porsche Catalytic Converters are usually “Foil Cats“, which means their value is based on the weight of the catalytic converter.
  • Their serial numbers are usually right near the Porsche logo on the catalytic converter and start with 9-
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Identifying Subaru Catalytic Converters

  • When scrapping Subaru catalytic converters, generally, they have two cats, one is smaller, and one looks like a bean.
  • Some numbers are going to be stamped on a corner
  • On a corner of a Subaru’s converters
    • Serial Number Sequence Example: FCFH1 or RCF_ _ 

Learn More About Subaru Cats & Pre-Cats in this video:

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Identifying Toyota Catalytic Converters

  • When scrapping Toyota catalytic converters, the standard serial numbers are 3 digits long with mixed numbers/letters.
    • Serial Number Examples: GD3, EA5, EA6, X16, X18
  • Some serial numbers will have an “L” or “R.” It’s a big difference in pricing.
    • Serial Number Sample: L21707
    • Serial Number Sample: R21707

Learn More About Toyota Cats in this video:

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