Should I remove the catalytic converter when I scrap my car?

21st Dec, 2018

In a word: no. But we imagine you’re probably looking for more detail than that, so we’re happy to provide it! You’ve probably heard of catalytic converters before, as they’re by far one of the most valuable components of the average car. Some people even recommend removing your catalytic converter, either when you’re still driving, or when the time comes to scrap your car. Trust us – it’s not a good idea. Read on, and we’ll explain why!

What is a catalytic converter?

Sometimes fondly referred to as a cat, it’s essentially a standard addition to the fuel system of modern vehicles. It’s widely viewed as being one of the most important components of your car because it controls harmful emissions from the engine, which are limited by UK law. It does this through the use of catalyst substances, causing a chemical reaction that mitigates the most harmful engine emissions before they exit the exhaust pipe. Without it, the worst pollutants – including hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide – can cause damaging environmental effects, such as thick smog and acid rain.

Physically, the catalytic converter looks like an exhaust silencer, but is slimmer and smaller. It’s most efficient at higher temperatures, which is why it’s generally installed next to the engine (the hottest part of the car).

cat converter

Why are catalytic converters valuable?

The value of catalytic converters mainly comes from the mix of precious metals inside them. If you were to crack open a cat, you’d find platinum, rhodium and palladium. Only we strongly advise that you don’t crack it open, because the mix of materials inside a catalytic converter is highly toxic, and they’re technically classed as hazardous waste by the authorities. It’s one of the many reasons why they should only be recycled by specialists with the appropriate equipment – such as experts at our Authorised Treatment Facilities here at Scrap Car Network.

Why shouldn’t you remove a catalytic converter?

For starters, if you don’t know what you’re doing you can end up accidentally exposing yourself to harmful materials, which is an activity on absolutely nobody’s Christmas list. People sometimes remove catalytic converters to sell separately when they come to scrap their car, but it’s worth bearing in mind that doing so can end up significantly impacting the price you’re able to get for it. Often, this lost value isn’t made up by the amount you’re able to separately fetch for it, so in almost all cases it’s worth simply leaving it on. For what it’s worth, we’d always advise against removing any parts before you scrap your car. It’s rarely worth the trouble.

It makes even less sense to remove your catalytic converter when your car is still operational, even if you’ve got the knowledge necessary to do so. It’s important to bear in mind that it’s there as an environmental failsafe, to counteract the damaging gases your engine otherwise emits. Removing it not only exposes you to the worst effects of those gases, but also everyone around you, and the general environment.


Instead, it’s better to simply leave your catalytic converter to do its job, and then once your car croaks its last you can count on us here at Scrap Car Network to recycle it safely and effectively. We’re heavily focused on environmental friendliness and sustainable business practices, and this is one of several key reasons why many customers choose Scrap Car Network. Of course, another key reason is that we’re always able to get you the best price for your car! You can find out what yours is worth with a free, no obligation instant online quote, which you can get when you say scrap my car, just by entering in your postcode and car reg into our homepage. Couldn’t hurt to find out, could it?

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