Catalytic Converter Thefts On the Rise

The catalytic converter is an essential vehicle component. Cars and trucks emit harmful substances into the air from the exhaust system, including carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons. A catalytic converter changes these pollutants to less-toxic substances like carbon dioxide and water vapor through a chemical process.

These emission-control devices are built with various precious metals, including platinum, palladium and rhodium, which have attracted the attention of thieves. Why is this the case?

Reasoning Behind Catalytic Converter Theft

Although the actual yield of these precious metals is very low, there is a perceived windfall from selling stolen catalytic converters to scrap yards and recycling companies. It can also take as little as one minute to remove one!

Unfortunately for the targeted vehicle owners, it can be quite costly to replace the catalytic converter, not to mention the damage incurred by the saw or wrench used during the theft.

While vehicles can operate without one, it’s not sustainable or recommended. Your vehicle won’t pass an emissions test if it’s not equipped with a catalytic converter.

How to Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft

While thieves tend to target vehicles with higher ground clearance for easier access to the exhaust system, all vehicle owners should be aware of this threat. To avoid falling victim to catalytic converter theft, keep the following safety tips in mind:

  • Look out for suspicious people hovering around unoccupied vehicles
  • When available, park your vehicle in a garage or well-lit area
  • Whenever possible, park within view of surveillance cameras
  • Keep fleet vehicle parked in a secure, well-lit yard with an alarm system
  • Consider an alarm designed to activate when your vehicle is tilted, for instance when it’s jacked up, or a motion-sensitive dash cam
  • Engrave the vehicle’s VIN number directly onto the catalytic converter, as many scrap yards are required to ask for identification before buying a used converter
  • Install an anti-theft device, like a protective shield that fits over the catalytic converter, or stainless-steel cables welding the device to the vehicle frame

Work with an agent at Ion Insurance to make sure you have sufficient auto coverage. In the event you become a victim of catalytic converter theft, contact local law enforcement right away and report the incident to Ion Insurance. For more information, contact us today.