It’s Stolen All The Time: What’s Inside Catalytic Converter?

Among car parts, catalytic converters are one of the most stolen. But why? What’s inside catalytic converter that makes it the target of thieves? In today’s post, Driverevolve will help you decode that. We’ll also give you an overview of this crucial car component and answer a few other related questions.

What Is A Catalytic Converter? 

The catalytic converter in a car regulates and minimizes hazardous fumes and contaminants like NO produced by the combustion process inside your engine.

It has a honeycomb structure of passages or tiny ceramic stones encased in a catalyst. The numerous passageways enable the greatest possible surface contact between the gasses and the catalyst.

A chemical process occurs at extreme heat, filtering out the most harmful of your car emission. A catalyst maximizes the efficiency and speed of this chemical process.

Catalytic converters are standard in all diesel or gasoline-powered internal combustion engines, including ones in electric generating units, forklifts, mining machinery, and railcars, in addition to conventional automobiles.
A catalytic converter helps protect the environment. – Kelley Blue Book 

Catalytic converters are standard in all diesel or gasoline-powered internal combustion engines, including ones in electric generating units, forklifts, mining machinery, and railcars, in addition to conventional automobiles.

As a result of their extensive use and effectiveness in reducing emissions, the materials inside a catalytic converter must also be carefully chosen.

So, how many catalytic converters are in a car?

Most vehicles will come with only one catalytic converter. However, if your car has a dual exhaust mechanism, it’s going to feature 2 different catalytic converters. You can see a few of the following alerts if your catalytic converter requires replacement: Your check engine symbol is lit up, or there is a rattling noise when accelerating.

Can A Car Run Without A Catalytic Converter? 

Yes, no catalytic converter is mandatory to operate a car. While it is true that some automobiles in non-emission testing areas have got their catalytic converters eliminated, it is illegal in all states, including those that do not implement emission regulations, to discard a catalytic converter.

If you choose to detach the converter on your own (a credible business won’t usually perform this task for you), be aware that purposefully deactivating a car’s emission control mechanism is a serious crime.

Additionally, the authority has the legal right to penalize you big bucks for doing this.

If someone steals your catalytic converter, you’ll be able to tell the difference when you start your car. The loud, thunderous hum indicates something wrong with your catalytic converter.

3 Types Of Catalysts In A Car

Oxidation Catalyst

Platinum and palladium are the primary materials used to make oxidation catalysts. CO and unburned gasoline are transformed into CO2 and H2O when they pass through this kind of catalyst.
Oxiadation catalysts works to convert CO, HC, and SOF. – Nett Technologies

 Platinum and palladium are the primary materials used to make oxidation catalysts. CO and unburned gasoline are transformed into CO2 and H2O when they pass through this kind of catalyst.

Reduction Catalyst

Rhodium and palladium are the primary materials used in this type of catalyst. When the NO from the car exhaust reaches the reduction catalysts, it is transformed into O2 and N2. This is useful in minimizing smog since NO is a major component of smog.

In the previous decade, a catalytic converter could only perform 2-way oxidation. This indicated that there were no reduction types and only oxidation ones.
Reduction catalysts offer 3-way converting. – Crypton Diagnostic Equipment 

In the previous decade, a catalytic converter could only perform 2-way oxidation. However, authorities in both Canada and the USA were worried about NO and its environmental effect and the failure of oxidation catalysts to transform it.

Consequently, the rules regarding catalytic converters were adjusted, requiring 3-way oxidation/reduction.

Diesel Oxidation Catalyst

Diesel cars possess a whole different kind of catalyst known as a diesel oxidation catalyst that can transform hydrocarbons and CO into CO2 and H2O.

To accomplish this, the catalyst in your exhaust gas pipe uses oxygen. The diesel oxidation catalyst has a conversion efficacy rate of 90%. The majority of viewable pollutants and emission odors are minimized or eliminated.
Diesel oxidation catalysts are especially for diesel vehicles. – Diesel Net 

To accomplish this, the catalyst in your exhaust gas pipe uses oxygen. The diesel oxidation catalyst has a conversion efficacy rate of 90%; thus, most pollutants and emission odors are minimized or eliminated.

What’s Inside Catalytic Converter That Causes People To Steal It?  

Catalytic converters are frequently stolen for money purposes. In other words, they are pricey. 

But why are catalytic converters so expensive

They comprise 3 materials that help in the chemical converting process that reduces the toxicity of exhaust contaminants: platinum, palladium, and rhodium.

Such materials’ rates have soared rapidly since the early twenty-first century.

According to officers, thieves can make between $100 and $150 per converter. In 2019, the insurance company received 3,969 files of hijacked catalytic converters and over 17,000 in 2020; the number rocketed to 52,000 in 2021.

Platinum plunged from a mean of approximately $530 for each ounce in 2001 to almost $1,100 in 2021, after reaching a peak of $1,700 in 2011. Palladium’s purchase rate per ounce increased from $600 in 2001 to approximately $2,400 in 2021.

The most precious metal, however, is probably rhodium. After racking up around $1,600 for each ounce in 2001, it leaped to approximately $18,000 in 2021, with a peak of almost $26,000 the same year.
Rhodium is the reason why catalytic converters are so valuable. – Australlian Minings 

The most precious metal, however, is probably rhodium. After racking up around $1,600 for each ounce in 2001, it leaped to approximately $18,000 in 2021, with a peak of almost $26,000 the same year.

On the other hand, gold increased sixfold from around $300 for every ounce in 2001 to around $1,800 in 2021.

As the prices of a converter’s 3 precious materials upsurge, the converter’s purchase price goes up — and so are their values as scrap because the materials can be retrieved and sold.

As an outcome, scrap yards pick up catalytic converters more, and a few businesses have popped up to buy converters.

While the price of a specific converter differs significantly, a few statistics shown in advertisements from “ship-them-to-us” businesses span from around $140 to a hefty $1,500. Because of their rising price, thieves steal catalytic converters, often slashing them out from beneath parked cars on the road.

Wrapping Up 

What’s inside catalytic converter that places it among thieves’ most wanted car parts? Now you know it’s the precious metals existing inside your catalytic converter. If you’re one of those unlucky who has the converter stolen, contact your insurance company for more information. 

For more posts like this, refer to our Fun Autopart section.  

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