How To Protect Your Car Against Catalytic Converter Theft

It only takes a matter of minutes for expert thieves to get under your car or truck and steal the catalytic converter. It most cases the entire act will go unnoticed without you even knowing they were there.

According to the public data website BeenVerified, reported thefts in Arizona have grown from 30 in 2019 to 142 in 2020 and skyrocketed to 1,501 through the end of September, a 956.4% increase from last year. Auto body shops across the nation are all seeing huge increase in the need for car owners to replace catalytic converters and the devices are expensive to replace. The cost to replace a catalytic converter varies from $2,000 and $2,500.

A catalytic converter as a very special filter for your car’s exhaust system that reduces harmful emissions. It is attached to the underside of every gas-powered car. It contains metals more precious than gold. Those metals convert harmful exhaust into oxygen, nitrogen, and other less harmful gasses. Thefts are fast and relatively simple. The thief simply slides under the car and removes two or three bolts, or they have also been known to cut out the catalytic converter with a reciprocating saw. The part just falls out.

Car Targeted For Catalytic Converter Theft

Thieves target trucks and SUVs because the higher ground clearance allows for easier access to the catalytic converter. However, thieves specifically target low-emission vehicles like hybrids because those catalytic converters bring the most money because they contain more of the expensive metals.

Thieves know exactly what will get in certain models, and repair shops are seeing those types of vehicles the most often with missing catalytic converters.

More Precious Than Gold

Thieves are targeting catalytic converters not for what they do, but for what is inside of them. Catalytic converters contain platinum, palladium and rhodium. Precious metals than are considered more valuable than gold. As of May 2021, rhodium was valued at $27,900 per ounce, palladium at $2,896 per ounce and platinum at $1,227 per ounce. Their value has risen in the last few years as automakers use more precious metals in catalytic converters to assist in further reducing emissions.

It is estimated that anyone attempting to recycle a hybrid car’s catalytic converter could be paid up to $800. On average for a standard gas-powered catalytic converter, recyclers can be paid anywhere from $50 to $250 per unit.

Ways to Protect Your Car Against Catalytic Converter Theft

Etch your License Plate Number onto your Catalytic Converter
This effort makes the car part identifiable to law enforcement. The hope is the thief will sees the etching and will move on.

Park in Well-Lit AreasIt is reported that in most theft cases occur in residential lots where cars are parked overnight. If you must leave your car parked outside, authorities recommend parking in a well-lit area and making sure to set your car alarm. In addition, installing a bright motion sensor light may also deter thieves.

Install an Anti-Theft DevicePreventive measures are always a great deterrent. Auto shops can install a Cat Shield which is a metal shield bolted to the vehicle frame to cover the catalytic converter. Cost and installation can run about $350. If you have the sill, car owners can buy one online for about $150 and install it yourself. Installation involves drilling holes in the frame and attaching the device with bolts and fasteners.

 


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