Turn on the news these days and you’re likely to hear yet another story about catalytic converter theft. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the rate of theft increased by an astonishing rate of 325 percent in the U.S. between 2019 and 2020 … that’s huge! With the problem growing by epic proportions, it’s worth taking some time to take a look at why it’s happening and what can be done about it.
Why Are Thieves Stealing Catalytic Converters?
This is a great question and the answer is simple – money. Your vehicle uses a catalytic converter to change (or convert, hence the name) harmful exhaust byproducts into less harmful gasses. Components inside the converter react with exhaust gasses to make this process happen and those components just happen to be precious metals – platinum, palladium, and rhodium.
Why would thieves go through the effort of climbing under a car, sawing off its catalytic converter, and risking being caught? Simply because selling the precious metals inside the converter can bring a pretty penny on the black market – thousands of dollars in many cases.
Vehicles That Are the Biggest Targets For Catalytic Converter Theft
Although any vehicle that has a catalytic converter can be a target for would-be thieves, these are the vehicles that have the highest risk:
- Trucks – They’re higher off the ground so thieves can make their way under the vehicle and back out quickly and easily.
- Toyota Prius – This vehicle has two catalytic converters so thieves get more for their efforts.
- Street-parked Vehicles – Cars parked along the street are often out of sight of security cameras. Plus, it’s easy for thieves to park nearby and to get away afterward.
- Vehicles parked overnight in unattended lots – With no one around to stop them, this is an easy stomping ground for thieves.
How to Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft
With thieves so desperate to make easy money, even if they could face serious punishments if they get caught, is there a way to stop them? Fortunately, the answer is YES! While not every case of catalytic converter theft can be prevented, there are several things you can do to protect your vehicle and keep it from being a prime target.
Top tips to prevent catalytic converter theft:
- Have an anti-theft device installed at your local auto repair shop. There are now metal plates specifically made to cover your vehicle’s catalytic converter. This doesn’t guarantee full protection as a thief can still remove the plate, but it does act as a deterrent. Removing the plate takes more time and therefore, puts a thief at higher risk for getting caught and having to abort the job halfway through it.
- Park in well-lit areas. Without the cover of darkness, many thieves won’t attempt a catalytic converter theft. If street parking is your only option, be sure to park where it’s bright and highly trafficked when possible.
- Park within view of security cameras. Most thieves are looking for easy money and they’re not looking to get caught while they’re at it. When you park near security cameras on stores, homes, or other buildings, thieves will often take a pass on your vehicle.
- Make your catalytic converter easily identifiable. Some local auto repair shops offer catalytic converter theft deterrent services which includes painting your converter bright orange with heatproof paint. Your vehicle’s identification number can also be etched into it. Both of these scenarios make your catalytic converter easily marked as stolen so thieves are less likely to take it.
- Park in your garage or an enclosed lot. If you have the option, park inside your garage at night and lock the door. Or, if you’re parking in public, choose an enclosed, attended lot for additional safety and theft prevention.
Catalytic Converter Theft Deterrent Services in Tempe, AZ
At Good Works Auto Repair, we’ve seen a plethora of catalytic converter thefts in recent weeks and we’re on a mission to do our part to prevent them. That’s why we offer our customers catalytic converter theft deterrent services – painting your converter orange, etching your vehicle’s identification number into it, and installing a specially-made steel plate over the top of your converter.
In the case of catalytic converter theft, prevention is absolutely the best medicine. That’s because catalytic converter repair or replacement can set you back thousands of dollars. Furthermore, the prevalence of theft has placed a high demand on this part, meaning you may have to wait a while until the part is available for your vehicle.
Protect your vehicle and your wallet by scheduling an appointment for catalytic converter theft deterrent services today!