Rise in Catalytic Converter Theft: What You Can Do to Protect Your Vehicle

5 Aug 2020

Your vehicle has what’s known as a catalytic converter. It’s a small component underneath your vehicle that filters its emissions. And, lately, they’ve been targeted by thieves. While catalytic converters are meant for filtering your vehicle’s exhaust, thieves are using it to stuff their pockets with cash. Catalytic converter theft is on the rise and for car owners, it’s an expensive repair.

So, what makes a catalytic converter so valuable anyway? It’s the part’s platinum content. Thieves sell the stolen parts to scrap yards, and according to mechanics, it’s a simple crime without a whole lot of noise.

According to police, catalytic converters contain a few types of recyclable materials thieves can easily scrap for a quick buck which is what makes converters so valuable.

A catalytic converter contains:

  • Platinum
  • Palladium
  • Rhodium

These metals are costly and depending on the converter’s size and the current rate the inside metals go for, thieves can make a few hundred dollars per piece. Even worse, it can cost you a lot of money to replace your vehicle’s catalytic converter. And, it’s not like you can drive your vehicle without one because first, your vehicle will run poorly until you have it repaired and second, it’s illegal to drive your vehicle without one.

It seems as though thieves are targeting SUVs or trucks because they’re higher ground clearance makes it easier for them to get underneath. However, police are saying they’re currently targeting Toyotas, especially Prius cars.

How to Protect your Car’s Catalytic Converter

There are some theft-prevention measures you can take, including:

  • Consider installing an anti-theft alarm system on your vehicle, particularly a highly sensitive alarm.
  • Ask your local automotive shop if they can engrave your license plate number or the 17-digit VIN (vehicle identification number) onto your converter.
  • Consider installing a catalytic converter protection device, making it more difficult to steal.
  • Park your car in a sufficiently illuminated and busy lot with security cameras if at all possible. If you must park on a public street, park your car under a street light or near a few other vehicles.
  • Consider installing a security camera that’s directed at the area you park your vehicle the most.

Police also request citizens call in any suspicious activity like individuals driving around at very slow speeds in residential neighborhoods observing parked cars for extended periods of time.

Also, it’s always a good idea to install a GPS tracking device in your vehicle so it can be found and recovered quickly in the event your vehicle is stolen.

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