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How to Recover Platinum From a Catalytic Converter

Updated April 17, 2017

Platinum is a precious metal that is highly prized for industrial purposes, as it is resistant to corrosion, malleable, conductive, and useful as a catalyst in chemical reactions. Platinum is one of several rare metals that are used in catalytic converters, which convert the toxic gases produced by car engines to less harmful gases, effectively reducing pollution generated by cars. Although the amount of platinum in a catalytic converter is small, the rarity and easy recycling of platinum make recovering it from a catalytic converter worthwhile.

Remove the catalytic converter from the car. The catalytic converter can be found underneath the car between the engine and the muffler and can be removed using a ratchet, if it has bolts, or a saw.

Find a recycling company that accepts intact catalytic converters. While it is possible to cut open the casing on the converter to remove the platinum-containing structures inside, this is not recommended. The chemicals inside of a catalytic converter can be toxic.

If you do decide to open your catalytic converter, the inside of the converter will contain either beads or a honeycomb-like structure. This is the part that contains the platinum. Most cars have the honeycomb structure, which is made of metal and is more resistant to high temperatures.

You must install a replacement catalytic converter. Removing a catalytic converter and not replacing it is illegal.

Warning

It is illegal to remove a catalytic converter from a vehicle unless it is nonfunctional.

Things You'll Need

  • ratchet or saw
  • catalytic converter
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