Catalytic Converter Theft
Catalytic converter theft has exploded – since 2019, converter theft has risen 1,215%, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, an industry group that tracks insurance-related crimes. Thieves are removing catalytic converters from all kinds of vehicles, literally cutting them away from beneath the vehicle. A catalytic converter is a key component of your car’s exhaust system. Its job is to help reduce harmful emissions by cutting down on the number of pollutants that exit the tailpipe. Discovering that it has been stolen can be a rude & noisy awakening – the exhaust system will make a very loud noise from where the device was removed.
Why are catalytic converters stolen?
Thieves hope to make a big payday by melting down the precious metals found in the anti-pollution devices – platinum, palladium, and rhodium. These metals are so expensive because there is high demand and limited supply globally, which is why gold is being explored as an alternative for the future. Unfortunately, their location on the exterior of a car’s underside makes them easy to steal. Especially at risk are cars with enough tire clearance for a thief to easily slide underneath, like SUVs and pickup trucks. Hybrids are also attractive targets because their converters contain even more precious metals. Especially at risk are cars with enough tire clearance for a thief to easily slide underneath, like SUVs and pickup trucks. Hybrids are also attractive targets because their converters contain even more precious metals. Thieves can make anywhere from $25 to $300 for a standard catalytic converter, and the ones taken from hybrid vehicles can sell for up to $1,400.
How do I know if my catalytic converter has been stolen?
Stealing a converter takes just a few minutes and a battery-operated saw. A thief will crawl under your vehicle, cut both sides of the converter and remove it from the exhaust system. That means your car will essentially be running without a muffler. You can’t tell if your catalytic converter has been stolen by looking at your car, but you can tell once you turn it on. It will make a loud roaring sound, even louder than if the muffler fell off.
What should I do if my catalytic converter has been stolen?
If your catalytic converter has been stolen, call the local authorities and file a police report. Then, arrange to get your vehicle towed to a nearby repair shop. Since your catalytic converter is only part of the exhaust system, your car can technically run without it. However, since thieves use a saw to remove a catalytic converter, they can also cause damage to nearby parts of your car, like the alternator or fuel lines. You should get your car checked out by a mechanic as soon as possible.
Does car insurance cover catalytic converter theft?
Comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy can pay for damages that occur outside of a car accident, such as vandalism, fire, or theft. If your catalytic converter is stolen, give us a call so we can help you review your coverage and talk you through your options.
How Can You Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft?
There are some simple ways that you can prevent the theft of your vehicle’s catalytic converter:
- Have your mechanic install an after-market catalytic converter anti-theft device – this makes it harder to remove the converter and typically comes in the form of a shield, or a cage
- Have a muffler shop etch your vehicle’s VIN on the converter and spray it with highly visible, high-heat paint – this enables law enforcement to track the converters, which in turn could lead police to the thieves
- Park in a well-lit area or in a garage instead of on the street or in your driveway
- If you have to park in a driveway, install motion sensor security lights
We Protect What You Value Most
Discovering that you’ve been the victim of theft or vandalism can ruin anyone’s day. But you don’t have to face it alone. The entire team at SLIA is here to help in any way we can. If you have any questions, be sure to contact us!