Catalytic converter theft is on the rise and as we’ve seen in the press of late, the thieves are getting ever more brazen, stealing catalytic converters in broad daylight from cars parked on their owner’s drives.
What is a catalytic converter?
*/*Your catalytic converter turns pollutants emitted from your car’s exhaust into less harmful gases, but it’s also a tempting target for thieves.
Why do people steal catalytic converters?
There are two simple reasons for this. Number one, nicking a catalytic converter is a relatively simple job – all you need is a flagrant disregard for the law and other people’s property, a jack, an angle grinder and a few seconds of your time to get the job done.
Most catalytic converters on modern cars are located under the vehicle towards the exhaust which makes it easily accessible to thieves. Lifting the back of a car and cutting out the whole unit can be done in no time at all.
SUVs are more vulnerable due to their raised ground clearance. This means the catalytic converter is easier to get to and because they tend to have larger engines, these cat converters contain more precious metals.
What is a catalytic converter worth?
Reason number two is that some of the precious metals hidden inside your catalyst are worth more than gold. Inside a catalytic converter there is a ceramic element coated in various precious metals like platinum, rhodium and palladium.
This is what attracts thieves – you can easily make $700 selling a catalytic converter on the black market.
Catalytic converter theft prevention
In the main, it remains older cars that are targeted because advances in efficiency and technology mean, for example, the newest generations of Toyota vehicles have catalytic converters that contain vastly lower amounts of precious metals, while still doing their job just as well or even better – this means their value for recycling is very low and they are not attractive to thieves.
It’s a serious problem then and while manufacturers are doing something about it, it will take these changes some time to filter down to the cars you’re buying. There’s still plenty you can do to prevent yourself becoming a victim though so keep reading for our top ten tips to stop your catalytic convertor getting stolen.
Park to prevent access underneath
In order to steal the parts, thieves need to slide under the vehicle and use cutting tools to detach the box from the pipes around it. This means how you park you car matters. Parking close to walls or fences can help, but remember not to block pedestrian access, especially for wheelchair users.
Catalytic converters with a serial number
Mark it to protect it. Some garages will etch a unique serial number onto your catalytic converter so it can be easily identified if it is stolen. You’ll also be provided with a sticker to be displayed in your window that indicates your catalytic converter is marked – which prevents offenders from targeting your vehicle.
Ask a garage to weld the bolts shut
Make it difficult for it to be removed. If your catalytic converter is bolted on, you can ask for your local garage to weld the bolts to make it more difficult to remove.
Keep your car stored off road
Out of sight, out of mind. This option simply won’t be suitable for everybody, but if you have a garage you can use – it makes sense to keep your vehicle in there, especially if you live/work in an area where catalytic converter thefts are common. If you don’t have a garage you can access, try to park alongside other vehicles or in designated parking areas – i.e. car parks, multi-storeys etc.