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How to Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft

catalytic converter under vehicle

When it comes protecting our car, we often secure what is in plain sight. This makes sense as typically thieves target cars to steal stereo systems, tires and any valuables lying visibly on car seats. However, thieves are targeting catalytic converters more and more frequently.

Thieves can remove catalytic converters in seconds, leaving you with a car that cannot run properly. We’ll detail how to prevent catalytic converter theft, so you don’t have to take an expensive trip to the mechanic.

Why Do Thieves Want Catalytic Converters?

The inner parts of a catalytic converter are made from a mixture of platinum, rhodium, and palladium. These precious metals are expensive, making your converter an enticing treasure for would-be thieves. Depending on the size of your converter and the current value of the metals inside it, your friendly neighborhood thief can sell it to a scrap yard for $150 to $200.

How Converters Are Stolen

Removing a converter is fairly simple. All a thief needs is a saw to slice through piping on both sides of your converter, then voila. Your converter is pulled off.

The only trouble a thief would have is getting under your vehicle. For cars with low ride heights, a jack is used to make access to the undercarriage easier. However, this is rare as that extra amount of time required to jack a car is risky. If you’re a truck or SUV owner, you must exercise extra caution. The high ground clearance of your vehicle makes it an easier target.

If they’re so easy to steal, how can we prevent catalytic converter theft? Well, there are a couple steps you can take to keep your car intact.

Catalytic Converter Theft Prevention Tips

  1. Park Smart

Make sure you park in well-lit areas when possible. If you can, also make sure your chosen spot is close to a building entrance or an access road when you park in a public lot. Pedestrians tend to frequent these areas, making it harder for thieves to plan a theft without witnesses.

Another good move is to park you car in your personal garage. This adds an extra layer of defense that will discourage thieves looking for easy pickings.

  1. Invest in Security Devices

If you’re willing to invest, you can also attach security devices that will make stealing your converter harder. You can choose to weld the converter to your car frame, which will make removing it more complicated. If you have a car security system, you can also adjust it so vibration sets it off. This means your alarm will activate once a thief starts sawing off your converter.

Video surveillance installed in your garage or around your driveway can also be an effective deterrent.

  1. Mark Your Converter

Engrave your vehicle identification number (VIN) on your catalytic converter. It is a 17-character number that is assigned to motor vehicles after manufacturing and can often be found on the dashboard on the driver’s side, or in the driver’s side doorjamb. This can alert scrap dealers that the converter was stolen and make it easier to find the owner.

Play It Safe

As reports of catalytic converter thefts continue to stream in, it does not seem any car will be safe soon. Try to maintain awareness of your vehicle. One bad move is all it can take for thieves to get the jump on your precious converter.

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