Catalytic Converter Theft

By |2022-02-16T11:52:15-05:00February 16th, 2022|

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lately, you can’t turn on the news without hearing about another catalytic converter theft. A catalytic converter is part of a vehicle’s exhaust system that turns toxic gas emissions into gasses like nitrogen and carbon dioxide. In as little as 60 seconds, a skilled thief can slide under your vehicle and cut off the catalytic converter. The thief will then sell the stolen part for between $50 – $200, whereas, the car’s owner may spend upwards of $1000 to replace the same part at market value. But why exactly are thieves targeting the catalytic converter? A few crucial ingredients inside the catalytic converter are to blame: precious metals.

Over the last few years, the price of precious metals has grown exponentially. Metals such as palladium and rhodium are now typically worth 50% more than gold. The reason for this, simply put, is the demand exceeds the supply. Countries are decreasing their output of these metals, while the auto industry is drastically increasing their need for them. As countries institute more stringent vehicle emissions regulations the need and cost of these precious metals will also continue to increase.

This equates to a dramatic rise in catalytic converter theft. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) has stated that the number of these thefts has increased from approximately 3.5 thousand in 2019 to 14.5 thousand in 2020. The increased amount of thefts has now led lawmakers to create new tracking requirements for metal dealers buying these converters. Ten states now even require scrap metal companies to maintain records such as proof of ownership, and the seller’s address.

Luckily, there are a few ways to help deter catalytic converter theft from happening to you. Park in a secured garage, or, if you don’t have access to one park in a well-lit area with lots of traffic. There are also several theft prevention devices that you can attach to your vehicle. These devices, typically made of much more rigid materials than the catalytic coverter, are more difficult to cut. Alternatively, many police departments will help stencil or etch your vehicle’s VIN to your converter.