As we all know, the catalytic converter is in the car’s exhaust system, and its main task is to reduce harmful emissions. Unfortunately, this part is very tempting for many thieves because a few expensive metals are inside it. Palladium, platinum, and rhodium are expensive, and it doesn’t matter that converters contain a small amount of them, which can be sold to scrap dealers. It still happens.
Since most of them are not explicitly marked, they can’t be traced back to the owner. And the worst part is that they are relatively easy to steal. In some cases, removing catalytic converters only takes a few minutes by cutting them with hydraulic shears or reciprocating saws from underneath a car.This situation is even worse for SUV and truck owners because their underside is even higher off the ground. That means the catalytic converter of that car is even easier to reach.
Even though it may be possible to obtain a few pounds of scrap metal from a hundred catalytic converters, from the car owner’s perspective, the cost of replacing a stolen converter could be as high as a couple of thousand pounds. As bad as it already sounds, there is more. In many cases, thieves damage other exhaust system parts in the removing process, so that means additional repairs. This problem isn’t new, but its number is growing yearly.
This situation has worsened in the last few years, primarily because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Thieves started to target commercial-use cars that were left by their owners. And it’s not only the pandemic fault. It is just easier to hit multiple targets in the same location. Imagine that you are a business owner, and this happens to you. Loss of revenue, search for replacement vehicles, expensive repair costs, etc. And the worst part is that this problem is visible after a car is started because you can hear a loud noise from the exhaust system.
There are some ways to deal with this problem or at least to try. Business-related cars should be kept in locked, closed areas which are well-lit. Alarms and cameras can also help to drive away possible thieves. You can park your vehicle in place, which makes it harder to reach its underside. For example, near a wall or around other lower cars.
Of course, some products are designed to prevent converter theft. You can install a wire cage around this part, which should be bolted or, even better – wielded under a car. There is a strap from Kevlar material that is hard to cut through. An experienced mechanic could place a unique license plate number or use a car’s identification number to deter some of the thieves. That makes catalytic converters harder to sell because scrap yards usually don’t take them in. And there is auto insurance, which may help compensate for all the damages, but you must ensure that it covers it first.
In the end, there is no way to prevent thieves from stealing catalytic converters that work 100 percent of the time. It is usually the owner’s responsibility to ensure it won’t happen.