In short, yes. You can technically sell a vehicle that doesn’t have a catalytic converter, but there are a range of factors you need to bear in mind first, whether you’re selling it privately or through our own online car auctions here at RAW2K.
For one, it’s illegal to drive a vehicle without a catalytic converter, and most people are aware of this, so that means you might well struggle to find a buyer. If you do find anyone willing to take it, it’s almost certain that the price they’re willing to pay will be far short of your original asking price.
But we know your question isn’t whether it’s illegal to drive a car without a catalytic converter, but to sell one. Well, the answer’s a little more complex here!
Honesty is the best policy
Put simply, the rules are different depending on whether you’re a private seller, or a professional dealer.
If you’re a professional dealer or otherwise selling in a professional capacity, you have a legal obligation to ensure that all the information you give about the vehicle is accurate, and that you proactively make the buyer aware of any serious defects. A missing or damaged catalytic converter falls squarely into that category. If you fail to make the buyer aware, at best you could find yourself having to take the car back and provide them with a full refund. At worst, you could end up facing court action.
The risks aren’t the same for private sellers, as they aren’t strictly expected to abide by these stipulations. Instead, private sellers can list their car ‘sold as seen’, which means it’s up to the buyer to fully inspect the car, and uncover any defects that might affect how much they’re willing to pay. (That’s one of the reasons why test drives are so important!)
But as a private seller, even though you might not end up with the most severe consequences, to be honest it’s always better to be up-front about any defects. The legal ramifications might not be as clear-cut, but if the buyer finds out after the fact then they’re almost certainly going to try and have the deal reversed, and may even attempt court action if they’re not able to reach an agreement with you. That’s a whole lot of hassle at the very least – and it could still end up costing you a huge amount of money if they’re successful.
Why is it such a big deal? Well, the role of a catalytic converter is to reduce the level of toxic gases released from the exhaust, and all petrol cars being driven on UK roads have had to have a catalytic converter fitted as standard in order to comply with emissions regulations that were put in place in 1992. Essentially, getting caught driving a car without a catalytic converter in this day and age will land you with a hefty fine.
No cat? You can only sell for scrap
As a result of the legal stipulations that we’ve outlined above, you won’t be able to advertise your vehicle as road legal, private seller or not – and that’s something that buyers are going to pick up on. This isn’t the end of the world, but it’s likely that no private buyer will go near it, and you might find that professional dealers will be reluctant to take it off your hands unless you sell it as scrap. Even then the value is going to drop off significantly.
This is largely because the components make up a large proportion of the money you get when you sell or scrap a car. If the car is usable, it’s easier to get it back on the road, and worth more money as a result. If the car is scrap, any usable components or materials can be removed to be sold. The more components, the more the car is worth, and if you're getting rid of the working components, you might end up with a sum that only reflects the scrap weight of it.
So, to sum up the answer to the question of “can I sell my car without a catalytic converter?” in a nutshell - it’s certainly possible sell a vehicle that doesn’t have a catalytic converter, but be ready to take a significant hit to its asking price. You may well find you’re only able to sell it as a scrap vehicle due to the laws prohibiting cars without catalytic converters from driving on UK roads.
Here at RAW2K though, rest assured we can help you sell your car no matter what state it’s in. In fact, we’ve worked hard to make it really simple for you to sell your salvage car. Once you’ve confirmed the age of your vehicle, you can set a starting price, and you’re ready to go. Our online car auctions list thousands of used, salvaged and seized vehicles every week. So, whether you’re just a hobbyist, or a full time professional mechanic, why not take a look around, and see what you can find?