Why Do People Steal Catalytic Converters?

Pieces of broken catalytic converter
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Catalytic converters are used to control pollution by converting harmful emissions into less harmful gases. While they’re a necessary part of modern vehicles, they can also be targets for thieves. Catalytic converter theft is a growing problem across the United States, with many states reporting hundreds of incidents each year. If you own an older vehicle or live in a region where this crime is common, your car may be at risk for catalytic converter theft.

Catalytic converters contain costly metals.

A catalytic converter is a device that’s responsible for converting toxic gases into less harmful ones. It uses a variety of metals, including platinum and palladium, to achieve this task—metals that are quite expensive on the open market. In fact, catalytic converters contain about 45% platinum by volume—a metal worth thousands per ounce.

Hybrid catalytic converters are even more valuable.

Hybrid vehicles have one or two catalytic converters in order to keep emissions even lower than non-hybrid vehicles. Because hybrids switch from electric to gas power, more valuable metals are required in the converter due to the need for it to run on a cold start. Therefore, more precious metals are required in the converter to compensate, which could mean double the value sold!

So what does all of this mean for you? Well, it means if someone steals your catalytic converter from your vehicle (or any other vehicle), they’re going to be able to sell it at an auto shop or scrap yard for some serious cash—enough to pay off most loans and still have some leftover! That’s why it’s so important to keep an eye out for thieves looking to make a quick buck by stealing parts off of your car or truck.

catalytic converter

Thieves can quickly and easily remove a car’s catalytic converter.

  • Thieves target areas with large populations of cars or fleets, usually at night.
  • They know that there are more cars in these areas, making it easier to steal catalytic converters and get away with it.
  • They also know that they can sell the parts for money.

Because of the way catalytic converters are designed, thieves can quickly and easily remove a car’s catalytic converter. They will not leave any readily visible signs of tampering or damage to the vehicle, making it difficult for you to detect that a theft has occurred. However, the process of sawing off a converter is not quiet.

If you want to protect yourself from this kind of crime, you should take the following steps:

  • Make sure that your catalytic converter is equipped with anti-theft features like a lock or a sensor.
  • Research which parts are required for your vehicle. This will help you avoid scams when buying new ones and make sure the mechanic installs them properly!
  • Keep your vehicle close, in a well-lit/well-populated area. Or, always park your car in a garage and also near surveillance cameras.