The theft of catalytic converters does not appear to be going away anytime soon. At least until the legislation requires us all to drive electric vehicles.
Thieves will continue to steal hoods off convenient motor vehicles as long as it is quick, easy, and profitable. When they attempt to steal, some even employ unusual and amusing cars as a way of escape!
Aside from purchasing an EV, a hydrogen-powered vehicle, or just not driving an expired vehicle, there is little you can do to entirely protect yourself and your car from the act of activating the converter theft.
Why Does A Catalytic Converter So Easy To Be Stolen?
Although this part is quite expensive, around $1,000, it is quite simple to install under the car. Therefore, they are often “peeved” by thieves and become one of the most commonly stolen parts.
In reality, according to some reports, the catalytic converter under the vehicle was the target of 13,000 burglaries reported in 2019. Criminals target the precious metals used to make this device.
The catalytic converter uses two layers of catalysts, one that reduces emissions and one that oxidizes. Both consist of a ceramic structure coated with a metal layer, usually platinum, rhodium, and palladium. All these substances have rapidly increased in value in the market in recent years.
The price of palladium has doubled in the past two years, while rhodium has quadrupled and both are more expensive than gold, according to a recent survey.
In more detail, criminal gangs often target cars parked in one place for long periods or in poorly lit and unmonitored areas. They often loiter in each area, ready to drive and act very quickly. They even act in the middle of the day, in the presence of others.
Even when taking the catalytic converter, the thieves did not care about damaging the car. They can use chainsaws to cut the device apart, which can cause unforeseen damage to the vehicle system.
Several car insurance and repair service providers analyzed 10,000 bills in 2019 and found the average cost to replace a catalytic converter unit was as high as $4,000. In the same year, the number of complaints about these thefts also increased. Some people even have the same car stolen twice.
Which Cars Are Most Likely To Have Catalytic Converter Stolen?
So to help everyone to be more aware of what cars are targeted for catalytic converter theft, here is an updated list for your reference.
The F-Series has been one of the best-selling vehicles in America for decades. Given the large numbers, it’s not surprising that the F-Series is regularly stolen from the exhaust filter. Perhaps, due to the high ground clearance, it is very easy for thieves to access to remove this part from the car.
F-Series was born in 1948 now with 13 generations and is considered the most successful car line of Ford. The current generation Ford F-150 Raptor uses a twin-turbo Ecoboost V6 engine with a capacity of 510 horsepower. In the North American market, the Ford F-150 2021 Limited edition is available at $70,825.
Although it has a fairly short life cycle, only from 2011 to 2017, the Chrysler 200 is still one of the most frequently stolen models according to US police statistics. Chrysler’s mid-size sedan has a 3.6L V6 DOHC 24-valve VVT engine block and the price in 2017 in the US is more than $ 30,000.
The Silverado was introduced by Chevrolet in 1999 and has become one of the most popular pickup trucks in America to this day. Silverado starts at $37,600 for the regular version and $53,195 for the full version in the US.
Prius has been around since 2001 and is a pioneer in hybrid technology. The latest version of the Toyota Prius is equipped with a 1797cc engine (1.8L) combined with an electric motor for a capacity of 120 horsepower. The price of the 2022 version in the US of this model from about 28,000 USD.
The Camry doesn’t offer much driving excitement, but its practicality, economy, and durability have kept it at the top of the sales charts. The 2019-generation Camry in the US has up to 10 versions including L, LE, XLE, XLE V6, SE, XSE, XSE V6, Hybrid LE, Hybrid SE, and Hybrid XLE with prices from 24,000 USD.
Similar to fellow names from Japan, Honda CR-V is also one of the best-selling cars. In the US, Honda CR-V was introduced in about 1997 and has gone through 5 generations so far. The current CR-V in the US has 2 engine options, 1.5L, and 2.0L Hybrid, with prices ranging from 29,000 to 40,000 USD.
Ford E-Series or Econoline is a series of full-size vans that have been produced from the 1960s to the present, mainly used for cargo purposes. Econoline is not as popular as other Ford models, but this is still a model with a catalytic converter that is often stolen by thieves because of its high price.
With millions of Honda Accords in the US today, it’s no surprise that it’s a prime target for Catalytic poachers, especially the 4th generation Accord (1989) to date. This part on the Accord is even easier to get than the ‘brother’ CR-V and only takes 2 minutes to get them out of the car.
In the US market, Honda Accord is priced from 24,770-36,240 USD, the price does not include the cost of additional equipment options.
Introduced by Jeep in 2006 and discontinued in 2017, this generation Patriot is still a successful model, having sold nearly 2 million units in just 10 years. This small SUV has two versions of 2.0L and 2.4L engines with many equipment options, priced from 19,000-27,000 USD.
When the small SUV market began to heat up in the early 2000s, Chevrolet was not left out when it introduced the Equinox in 2004. In the Chevrolet family, the Equinox is a mid-size 5-seater crossover between the Trailblazer brother (7-seat SUV) and younger brother Trax (5-seat Mini Crossover).
Over 3 generations, Equinox has sold more than 3 million units in the US and is one of the most popular SUV models with a selling price of approximately $ 30,000. People joke that if you don’t want to lose the exhaust filter or catalytic converter on the Equinox, buy the electric version of this model.
How Much Does It Cost To Replace A New Catalytic Converter?
Recognizing your car parts are stolen and being reduced in performance is intriguing. But what’s even worse is that the cost of replacing them will be very high. Most catalytic converter price ranges from $800 to $1,200.
In some cases, car owners even have to pay $1,000 to $3,000 to replace the carbon catalytic converter and repair the vehicle. The whole kit used to cost only about 350 USD. However, due to the impact of the pandemic leading to a lack of supply, the price of this part has increased drastically.
How To Prevent The Catalytic Converter Theft?
After getting to know which cars are most likely to have catalytic converter stolen, here are several ways car owners can help protect their car from those who are targeting the catalytic converter, including:
- Engrave VIN or license plate number on the catalytic converter
- Install an anti-theft alarm device
- Park your car in the garage, basement, driveway near the house, or where there are lights
- Consider installing motion sensor lights for vehicles
- Try to park your car in places that make it difficult for thieves to reach under the car, such as against a wall or close to other cars.
- Install the lock to protect the catalytic converter
Currently, the governments of several states in the US have come up with solutions to prevent the catalytic converter thefts. In Ohio, for example, legislators have enacted legislation banning the sale of undocumented catalytic converter.
Check out this video form Donut to get more interesting ideas on some catalytic converter anti-theft products
The above measures only have a preventive effect to a certain extent. Car owners should regularly pay attention to their cars and increase vigilance.
If you find your car makes an unusually loud exhaust, consumes more fuel, or the warning light illuminates on the dashboard, chances are your car has become a “victim” of a catalytic converter thief. In this case, call your insurance company immediately and check if a catalytic converter is included in your insurance plan.
No matter which cars are most likely to have catalytic converter stolen, the all-time effective solution to protect your car is always parking in monitored and manned parking lots, or in garages with locked doors.