Catalytic Converter Theft – Here’s What You Need to Know
Catalytic converter theft isn't just a problem here in Acadiana, it's a problem all over the U.S. and the world. The whole thing seems confusing and odd, so let's take a look at why thieves are stealing catalytic converters and, what you can do to prevent becoming a victim.
Just yesterday the Lafayette Sheriff's Department announced they were looking for a thief who stole a catalytic converter from a GMC C4500 truck in Scott. If your catalytic converter gets stolen, you're going to be in a bad spot. Technically your vehicle can still run without one, but the smell alone from the emissions will make you wish they had just stolen the whole thing.
(Even though your vehicle will start without a catalytic converter, it is very dangerous to operate a vehicle without one so please, please...just don't do it)
What Do Catalytic Converters Do?
A catalytic converter processes an engine's harmful emissions and changes it all into something safer like steam before it's released into the environment. According to uti.edu "It works to split up the unsafe molecules in the gases that a car produces before they get released into the air."
Why Do People Steal Catalytic Converters?
Catalytic converters contain a valuable combination of precious metals such as platinum, rhodium, and palladium according to quora.com. Palladium alone sells for almost $2,700 an ounce. Unfortunately, there are far too many recyclers and secondhand dealers willing to buy catalytic converters with no questions asked.
On average, a used catalytic converter sells for about $700 on the secondhand market.
Catalytic converter theft isn't anything new, but it seems the pandemic's negative economic impact has unfortunately kicked it up a few notches. That combined with the fact that apparently, it's fairly easy to steal a catalytic converter and, here we are.
Which Cars Are Most Likely To Have Catalytic Converter Stolen?
It looks like hybrid vehicles are the most targeted for catalytic converter theft. The reason is due to the fact that hybrid engines don't run all of the time as regular engines do. As a result, the catalytic converter has less work to do and therefore is usually in better condition on hybrids than other vehicles.
Carparts.com reports the Toyota Prius is the hybrid most often targeted for catalytic converter theft.
It's not just hybrid vehicles that catalytic converter thieves are targeting. Trucks and SUVs are more often targeted simply because they're higher off of the ground which makes it easier for thieves to slide underneath with a hacksaw and steal the converter.
How To Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft
Thankfully there are actually things you can do to help detour anyone from stealing the catalytic converter off of your vehicle. Catalytic Converter Theft Prevention Cage Kits are available online in a variety of different models.
Catclamp.com claims their "award-winning, patented cable cage design surrounds the catalytic converter with aircraft-grade wire rope that is very difficult to cut, even with power tools."
Obviously that's just one of many devices available that can help keep cat thieves from ruining your day, and possibly your car.
What To Do If Your Catalytic Converter Is Stolen?
If you discover your catalytic converter has been stolen, your fist move is to call the police. Next call is to report the theft to your insurance company. Whether or not your insurance will cover the cost for a new catalytic converter depends on your coverage.