Chances are that you know, or have at least heard about, someone who heads out to their car, starts driving and it's sounding like a Nascar, but feels like it's towing a brontosaurus on a skateboard. What happened? There's a pretty good chance that your catalytic converter is gone. As in stolen. Yes, someone pilfered the platinum, ripped off the rhodium, and poached the palladium. This has become very big business. Thefts of catalytic converters increased by 325% from 2019 to 2020. Both performance and emissions suffer in the absence of this important car component. Good luck passing an inspection without one.
A recycled catalytic converter from a car, stolen or not, can fetch between $150 and $250, but converters from trucks can be worth as much as $1,500. The value is due to the rare metals needed to make the converter work: palladium, rhodium, and platinum. Most of you would probably guess that platinum is the most valuable of the metals. It's not; it's quite the opposite. The most valuable metal in a converter is (by far) rhodium; it's also the most valuable metal in the world. As of January 2022 here are the prices of selected valuable metals (per ounce)
- Silver - $22
- Platinum - $1,019
- Gold - $1,796
- Palladium - $2,437
- Rhodium - $16,850
This make us come up with different ideas to keep the criminals from quick chopping