Catalytic converters are pollution control devices that are part of your exhaust system. These devices have been mandatory in all vehicles since 1975 to help reduce emissions. Recently, catalytic converter theft has been dramatically rising because of the ultra-precious metals used to make these converters work.
The exhaust from your vehicle is passed through the catalytic converter to break down emissions. Inside the converter, you will find rhodium, palladium, and platinum. When the exhaust interacts with these precious metals, it is cleaned. The clean exhaust is then released.
Each catalytic converter only has a few grams of each of these metals. However, with the current price for rhodium at approximately $11,000 per ounce, palladium at $1,600 an ounce, and platinum averaging 1,050 an ounce, it is easy to see why thieves are tempted to steal the devices.
Catalytic Converters are Easy to Steal
The position of the catalytic converter on all vehicles makes it very easy to steal. Thieves can slide under a vehicle with a battery-operated saw and remove the device within a minute or two. The longest a theft will take is five minutes, This meaning dozens of these devices can be stolen in a day.
Hybrid Vehicles are a Major Target
The precious metals contained within the catalytic converter work because of the heat in the exhaust. The heated metals are what removes the emissions. However, hybrid vehicles’ engines do not run as hot as regular ones which means that some of these vehicles have two catalytic converters or larger catalytic converters containing more precious metals than others to meet emission standards.
10 Most Targeted Vehicles for Catalytic Converter Theft
According to recently released data, the following vehicles are most often targeted for catalytic converter theft:
* Ford F-Series
* Honda Accord
* Jeep Patriot
* Chevrolet Silverado or Equinox
* Ford Econoline
* Jeep Compass
* Toyota Tacoma
* Dodge Avenger
* Ford Explorer
* Chevrolet Cruze
As you can see, most of the top targeted vehicles are pickup trucks and SUVs. These vehicles are highly targeted because they are easy to get under, which helps speed up the theft process.
Even if you do not see your vehicle on this list, you are still not protected from theft. Catalytic converter thefts have increased by almost 400 percent since 2020, and all vehicles are targeted. Newer vehicles of all makes and models are the largest target because there is little corrosion or use of the converter. This means the thieves will get a higher price for the device when they take it in for scrap.
Preventing Catalytic Converter Theft
You can try to prevent catalytic converter theft in a few ways. These include:
* Having a cage installed around the converter
* Engraving your VIN into the converter case so it can be identified
* Having an alarm system put on your vehicle
* Having an alarm installed just on the converter
You should always park in secured parking structures and well-lit areas. Where you park can have a significant impact on protecting your car from theft. Thieves look for vehicles that are easy to access and where they cannot be seen.
Placing your VIN on the converter will not prevent theft, but it can help identify the part when it arrives at a metal recycling center. This can help the police track down the thieves.
Catalytic Converter Theft Is Expensive For The Vehicle Owner
The catalytic converter is part of the exhaust system and is necessary for your vehicle to operate properly. If the converter is removed, you will experience problems with your car. Your car may begin to backfire, chug, lose power, or have difficulty running. The engine cannot properly release pressure through the exhaust system.
To replace your catalytic converter, you will pay between $1,500 and %5,000, depending on your vehicle. The cost of hybrid cars may be even higher because these vehicles often have larger or two converters. You will have to replace the converter to use your car.
Insurance companies will only cover catalytic converter theft if you have comprehensive coverage on the vehicle. If you have comprehensive coverage on your vehicle, the deductible will still apply to complete this repair.
Lawmakers Are Addressing The Problem
Catalytic converter threat has become a serious problem for people everywhere in the United States. The expense of replacing the stolen converters and repairing any other damage has hurt many people. Lawmakers are responding to the issue.
State and federal lawmakers are looking at different ways to stop catalytic converter theft. Many of the ideas deal directly with the scrap metal recycling businesses. Lawmakers believe they can reduce the number of thefts by making it mandatory for the people bringing in the converters to show ownership.
They are also considering making it mandatory that all converters are stamped with the VIN of the vehicle so that ownership can be easily proven. The only issue with this is if a vehicle owner replaces their catalytic converter at a later time, it would not have the VIN.
When Purchasing a Vehicle
Always remember to run a VINsmart report on any used vehicle before making a purchase. A VINsmart report runs a complete history on the vehicle including whether it has ever been reported as stolen, involved in a major accident, or listed as a totaled vehicle.
VINsmart reports will also give you a registration history and mileage at registration. It reports any significant incidents related to the vehicle, such as being involved in a fire or flood.
When purchasing a used vehicle, the best way to ensure you make a good purchase is to know the vehicle’s complete history.