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How Much Rhodium Is In A Catalytic Converter?

Discussion Topic How much rhodium is in a catalytic converter

Rhodium, one of the rarest and most valuable precious metals globally, may have piqued your curiosity. So, what exactly is rhodium and why does it hold such significant value?

In essence, rhodium is a chemical element that makes up an incredibly minute portion of the earth’s crust, at just 0.0002 parts per million. This rarity, coupled with its vital role in the automotive industry, contributes to its immense worth. Specifically, rhodium finds extensive application in catalytic converters utilized within vehicles. By reducing emissions, these converters play a crucial role in improving air quality.

With its scarcity and pivotal role in emission reduction, rhodium stands as a captivating and highly sought-after precious metal.

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How Much Rhodium Is in a Catalytic Converter?

The average catalytic converter typically contains approximately 1-2 grams (0.0353 – 0.0705 ounces) of rhodium, alongside 3-7 grams of platinum and 2-7 grams of palladium. The exact amount of valuable metal in each catalytic converter, however, may vary depending on certain factors.

1. Size of Vehicle

The catalyst content in a converter varies according to the size of the vehicle:

  • Small Vehicle (motorbikes, small cars, and SUVs): 2-6 grams
  • Large Vehicle (trucks, trailers, pickups): 6-30 grams

But why such a significant difference? It all comes down to emissions. Smaller engines produce fewer harmful emissions compared to larger engines. This means that a small vehicle requires a lower quantity of precious group metals (PGMs) in its catalytic converter.

2. Age of Vehicle

In the past, older catalytic converters had a higher rhodium content compared to modern converters due to the lower cost of rhodium at that time. However, as the years went by, rhodium supplies became limited and more expensive, prompting manufacturers to reduce the rhodium content in their catalytic converters.

3. Type of Vehicle

Low emission vehicles such as the Toyota Prius and Ford F250 contain a larger amount of rhodium in their OEM catalytic converters compared to other cars. This trend is also observed in luxury vehicles like the Ferrari F430 and BMW 760 Li, which have approximately $1300 worth of rhodium in their OEM catalytic converters. The increased rhodium content leads to a more efficient and costly catalytic converter, which makes these cars attractive targets for thieves.

Now, let’s delve into the pricing aspect of rhodium in catalytic converters.

Related: How Long Do Prius Last?

How Much Is the Rhodium in a Catalytic Converter Worth?

At the time of writing, rhodium holds a significant value of approximately $397.06 per gram and $12,350.00 per ounce. This translates to a standard catalytic converter containing 1-2 grams of rhodium being worth around $397.06 – $794.12. It’s important to note that even stolen catalytic converters can fetch considerable prices.

The price of a scrap catalytic converter depends on its condition and the quality of the metal inside, ranging between $300 and $1500.

For maximum value, it is advisable to sell a used converter promptly. While rhodium has a longer lifespan, platinum and palladium within a scrap catalytic converter may deteriorate faster and lose their properties, thereby impacting the cost of the converter.

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Related: How Much Is A Catalytic Converter Worth

What Makes Rhodium So Expensive?

Here are the factors that contribute to the high cost of rhodium in catalytic converters:

1. Limited Supply

Rhodium, a rare precious metal, is found in minuscule amounts, accounting for just 0.0002% of Earth’s crust. In nature, it occurs alongside other scarce platinum metals or as a by-product of metal ores.

The largest producer of rhodium is South Africa; however, the pandemic prompted the closure of several mines, exacerbating the global shortage and consequent price surge.

2. Increased Demand

The estimated global demand for rhodium in 2022 is projected to be 1.08 million ounces, with the automotive industry accounting for over 80% of the usage. As strict emission restrictions are enforced worldwide, the demand for rhodium is steadily increasing to meet the growing need for emission-efficient vehicles.

3. Unique Physical and Chemical Properties

Rhodium, a transition metal and a member of the Platinum Group Metals, possesses unique properties that make it a highly valuable material:

High Melting Point: With a melting point of 1963°C (3565°F), rhodium exhibits exceptional heat resistance, making it ideal for applications in high-temperature environments such as exhaust systems.

Chemical Stability: Rhodium remains unaffected when exposed to both extreme temperatures and corrosive conditions. This remarkable attribute renders it suitable for usage in situations involving intense heat and concentrated acids.

Catalytic Properties: Rhodium serves as an effective oxidation catalyst in various industrial processes and catalytic converters, effectively reducing vehicle emissions. As a catalyst, it enhances the rate of chemical reactions.

Why Is Rhodium Used in Catalytic Converters?

Rhodium, together with platinum and palladium, is utilized in exhaust system converters due to its high temperature resistance and corrosion resistance against gases such as sulfur dioxide and carbon monoxide.

This trio of metals functions as catalysts, converting harmful gases and molecules like nitrogen oxide and hydrocarbon chains into environmentally safer compounds like nitrogen gas and water. As a result, this process ensures cleaner exhaust gas emissions.

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What vehicles have the most expensive catalytic converters?

The most expensive catalytic converters are typically found in higher-end vehicles, which may not come as a surprise. Here are some examples of vehicles that have such costly converters:

  • Toyota Prius
  • Ferrari F430
  • Ford F-250
  • Lamborghini
  • Ford Mustang
  • Dodge Ram 2500
  • Mercedes-Benz S63 AMG Coupe 63

Most of these vehicles have powerful engines, necessitating the use of additional catalytic converters, which consequently doubles their value.


The high cost of a standard catalytic converter can be attributed to the significant amount of rhodium it contains. Therefore, it is crucial to properly maintain your car’s converter, especially due to the rising incidents of catalytic converter theft.

Timothy Ballard

I’m Timothy Ballard, owner of a used car dealership in Springfield. I love just about everything automotive, but I have a special place in my heart for trucks. I’m an ASE Certified Master Technician, so I know my way around a car. In my spare time, I enjoy traveling with my family and hiking new trails.

1 thought on “How Much Rhodium Is In A Catalytic Converter?”

  1. The typical amount of rhodium in a catalytic converter ranges between 1-2 grams. In comparison, platinum amounts vary from 3 to 7 grams, and palladium amounts range from 2 to 7 grams.


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