Most assume that luxury or high-end vehicles have the most expensive converters. But that is partially true primarily because many car owners could be targeted by thieves without even knowing it. There are some ordinary senses that Japanese brands have more expensive converters than others.
And by that, we don’t say that every single Toyota or Honda owner should be worried that someone will steal their catalytic converter. Well, there is no exact number, but there is some common sense about most targeted models. Lexus SUVs, Prius, Accord, models are among them. But that doesn’t mean that if you have an old Toyota Prius, someone will try to steal it during the night, or is it?
Hybrids, in general, have more expensive catalytic converters. It’s not because they were made that way but because they have a second electric motor. That means a hybrid engine has to handle less load than diesel or gasoline. At the same time, the catalytic converter works relatively easily during its lifespan. Therefore, it will last longer and contain more palladium, rhodium, and platinum.
And the amount of those expensive metals directly correlates to the catalytic converter price. The model you may come across on the internet is promoted as having the most expensive converter, but in reality, it may not hold much value. Those metals are ten times more valuable than the same amount of gold, and there is quite a bit in the car. Catalytic converters usually have some platinum, palladium, and rhodium, and they help to purify all car emissions. In the past few years, the price of those materials skyrocketed. This is primarily because of the complicated extraction process and demand, which is growing daily.
Ten years ago, there was no interest even in recycling those metals. Today, these materials have become so expensive, so something must be done. That’s why converters in some cars are way more valuable now. There is no straight answer to how much this part costs because many variables must be considered. Sometimes, original ones are replaced with aftermarket ones, which can be worthless or, even worse – useless.
Technically, vehicles can run without a catalytic converter, but it is illegal practically everywhere. Nevertheless, those cars would produce a lot of hazardous emissions into the atmosphere. It can be stolen, and the replacement procedure costs a lot. So, once more car manufacturers find a way to create a more protective design, converter theft will likely disappear soon.
Catalytic converter theft will likely continue until more car companies and manufacturers adopt a more protective design that prevents easy removal of the converters. Until then, this issue may persist for some time. Researchers will probably find alternative solutions that can help reduce the amount of those expensive materials. Of course, there are some ways to protect against theft, and by that, we mean metal cages that can be wielded around the converter. But still, until internal combustion engines are used, there would be a catalytic converter problem.