How to Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft

Even though Catalytic converter thefts don’t make headlines the way they used to, they still are a problem. The increasing value of the precious metals contained in these emission control devices makes them very attractive for criminals.

With the right tools, stealing a catalytic converter can easily be done in less than a minute, and some models are targeted more than others. CARFAX recently published a top 10 of them, here it is!

  1. 1985-2021 Ford F Series
  2. 1989-2020 Honda Accord
  3. 2007-2017 Jeep Patriot
  4. 1990-2022 Ford Econoline
  5. 1999-2021 Chevrolet Silverado
  6. 2005-2021 Chevrolet Equinox
  7. 1997-2020 Honda CR-V
  8. 1987-2019 Toyota Camry
  9. 2011-2017 Chrysler 200 
  10. 2001-2021 Toyota Prius

Of course, there is variation from one region to another, but remember that pickups and hybrid cars often have their catalytic converters stolen. Pickups have a high ground clearance that makes access easier and their atalytic converters are larger, making them more profitable. Hybrid car catalytic converters use greater amounts of precious metals because their combustion engine works less and their exhaust doesn’t get as hot.

Some Advice to Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft

Waking up one morning and finding out that your catalytic converter was stolen can be upsetting. By the way, you’d notice its absence right away because your car would get very noisy and would produce more smoke than usual, not to mention your engine operating irregularly at all speeds.

Replacing a catalytic converter can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars. If your insurance policy doesn’t cover it, this can put a whole in your wallet! So, to prevent your catalytic converter from being stolen, here are some precautions you can take:

  • If you have a garage, store your vehicle in it as often as possible;  
  • Park it in a well-lit area, against a wall or close to other low vehicles;  
  • Consider installing motion-activated lights;
  • Have your VIN engraved on your catalytic converter and spray it with a bright heat resistant paint to discourage thieves and make the resale more difficult at the scrapyard;
  • Get an anti-theft device. Some look like wire mesh cages that can be bolted around the catalytic converter. A Kevlar and steel wire strap that is very hard to cut can also be added.  
Photo: Amazon
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