How to Recycle Catalytic Converters

by Jennifer Uhl

A catalytic converter uses a catalyst of platinum and iridium in order to oxidize carbon monoxide and other pollutants into water and carbon dioxide. In other words, it is a device intended to minimize pollution as part of an automobile's exhaust system. Platinum and iridium are both expensive metals, making it worthwhile to recycle catalytic converters so that they may be reused in future applications.

Locate the catalytic converter. Most modern vehicles manufactured after the 1980 have catalytic converters. Most are going to be attached to your exhaust system by way of clamps and flanges. There will be an outlet and an inlet attachment for the converter.

Remove the clamps attaching the catalytic converter inside the exhaust system. This process can be tricky depending on where you live. Cold weather regions and exposure to road salt can corrode bolts and flanges. Detaching them may require a torch so that the fittings can be heated and removed. Other, more conventional options, include the use of penetrating oil, nut splitters and other methods.

Detach the air hose running from the converter to the manifold. This typically involves removing a clamp subassembly or flange subassembly.

Contact local automotive salvage lots and auto parts stores to find out about local catalytic converter recycling efforts. Some automotive salvage yards may pay you for an old recycled catalytic converter.

Contact local muffler shops to find out if they recycle catalytic converters.

About the Author

Jennifer Uhl has been writing professionally since 2005. She writes primarily for the web and has been published as a ghostwriter in "Tropical Fish Magazine" and "Entrepreneur." She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in health care from Mira Costa College.