Do Catalytic Converter Buyers Accept Stolen Parts?

Catalytic converters are one of the most expensive parts of a car which is why they are often targeted by thieves. These catalytic converters are often stolen and sold for their precious metals and value. But you may be asking yourself “Do catalytic converter buyers accept stolen parts?”.

In automotive care and maintenance, understanding the value of components, much like Ironite and Milorganite is crucial. But here, many people like to steal catalytic converters because they have many different precious metals in them including platinum, rhodium, and palladium. All these things can be sold for a very high price.

This guide will cover whether people can sell stolen catalytic converters as well as the consequences of selling stolen items from cars.

Do Scrap Yards Buy Stolen Catalytic Converters?

This depends on the scrap yard you go to. Some are real businesses and they aim to follow all state and federal laws. This means if they know the catalytic converter has been stolen, they will not buy it.

Other scrap yards pretend like they don’t know the converter has been stolen or they may not even bother to verify the identity of the person selling it to see if it’s stolen or not.

Some yards do not follow local rules and they are more than willing to buy a converter that has been stolen because they want to make money. Online marketplaces have made it very easy for thieves to sell catalytic converters without anyone knowing their identity which has made it easy for them to not get caught.

Of course, most scrap yards and venues have rules for selling stolen goods. However, these rules can often be hard to enforce and sometimes the managers and leaders do not enforce them because they are more concerned with making money.

Who Would Buy Stolen Catalytic Converters?

If your catalytic converter has been stolen, you might be wondering where the thief could have gone to sell it and make money. It can be hard to tell for sure as it depends on where you live and where it was stolen.

Here are some of the most common places where thieves tend to sell stolen converters though so you can get an idea of where to look.

Scrap Metal Dealers

Most thieves will go to scrap metal dealers to try their luck at selling stolen converters. Scrap metal dealers will buy scrap metal including all the different metals that are found in catalytic converters.

They then take the different metals melt them down and then reuse them. Many dealers are very keen to buy converters because they have many different precious metals including rhodium, palladium, and platinum.

However, scrap metal dealers are typically required to get the identification of the seller’s information and match the number of the converter to the seller to see if the person selling is the owner of the car that it came from.

This can deter many thieves from selling converters here. However, seasoned thieves will know which scrap metal yards do not check identification and they will only come here to sell the items they have stolen.

Auto Parts Stores

Auto parts stores can buy stolen catalytic converters. They may know it’s stolen or they may have no idea. Auto parts stores will buy catalytic converters and then sell them to customers who need replacement parts for their cars.

If the auto parts stores are very reputable, they will always ask for proof of ownership before you sell something. Some auto parts stores do not even buy converters from individuals but rather they only buy them from companies where they can be sure they are not stolen.

Online Marketplaces

Online places are becoming one of the most common places for people to sell stolen catalytic converters because the sellers can remain anonymous. This makes it very difficult for law enforcement officials to track down who stole the item and where they sold it.

However, if the listing seems suspicious or the person believes the item is stolen, they can alert the online marketplace and the post will be removed.


Junkyards are places that buy used car parts and then they sell them to customers that are looking for replacement parts for their cars. Junkyards are officially supposed to get identification from the seller and see if they own the converter, but not all places do so making it very easy for thieves to sell stolen catalytic converters.

At any of the above places, selling or buying a stolen catalytic converter is illegal and you can charged with criminal charges if found.

The Value of Catalytic Converters

The catalytic converter is part of the car’s exhaust system and is meant to reduce the emissions of the car that are harmful including carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. The many different metals that are in the converters are very valuable and can be used in many different industries which is why thieves are so keen to take them and sell them.

The metal can be taken out of the converter and then used for many different things including other car parts, for making jewelry, or for making electronics.

A thief can usually sell a converter for anywhere between $50 TO $550. Some might even be sold for up to $1000. Thieves often like to steal catalytic converters from parked cars where there is no or little security. This is why it’s important to park your car where there are cameras or guards whenever possible.

Catalytic Converter theft has become very common in the last few years so all car owners need to take extra precautions when it comes to parking and leaving their car unattended.

Final Thoughts

There are many places where thieves can go when they want to sell their stolen converters. If someone is seasoned in stealing car parts, they will often not go the places that do not check identification and then they will always come to these places when they want to sell something.

If you own a scrap metal yard or auto parts store, make sure all your employees check ID before buying catalytic converters.


Greta Gard, a prominent home and garden writing voice, has enriched our platform since 2020. With a Master's in Horticulture from Michigan State University, her career began in botanical garden management, amassing over 15 years of experience. Greta transitioned to writing in 2018, driven by a passion to share her extensive knowledge. Her unique perspective blends scientific expertise with a deep appreciation for nature's beauty. Greta is also an active volunteer in community garden projects, embodying her commitment to bringing green spaces to urban environments.

Leave a Comment