Why is Catalytic Converter Theft on the Rise and What to Do About It
By Julie Leicester February 8, 2023
Thefts of Catalytic Converters are on the rise dramatically. According to the National Automotive Dealers Association, “The number of catalytic converter thefts reported in insurance company claims has greatly increased over the past three years, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau estimates that these thefts increased by 1,215% between 2019 and 2022.” Here are some more details on this growing concern:
Catalytic converters are tempting to thieves because of the value of their components. The average catalytic converter contains one to two grams of three precious metals – platinum, palladium, and rhodium. These stolen units are as good as gold – actually, better. For example, as of January 2023, the price of gold is $1,880 (USD) per ounce. Rhodium is currently worth $12,300 (USD) per ounce.
For the most part, catalytic converter thefts are often “crimes of opportunity.” Parking vehicles in driveways, on the street, in poorly lit areas, and centralized parking lots with little to no security are all ideal scenarios for theft. A thief can slip under a vehicle, make two quick cuts, and remove the converter using a battery-operated saw and metal-cutting blade.
Catalytic converter theft is a huge headache for fleets. There is downtime and cost involved in the repair, and it is also dangerous, since the hot exhaust blowing from sawed-open exhaust pipes could heat the vehicle’s fuel tank and create a potential fire risk.
There are several steps that can be taken to prevent catalytic converter theft:
Park in well-lit and secure areas: Park in a garage or a well-lit area with surveillance cameras to deter thieves.
Use a catalytic converter lock: These locks physically secure the converter to the vehicle and make it more difficult for thieves to remove.
Etch the converter with a unique identification number: This makes it more difficult for thieves to sell the stolen converter and can aid in its recovery.
Be aware of suspicious activity: Keep an eye out for people loitering around parked cars or under vehicles and report any suspicious activity to the authorities.
Get it marked with the police: Some countries/states provide free marking service that is done by the police, this makes it difficult for the thief to sell it.
It’s important to note that while these steps can help deter and prevent catalytic converter theft, they are not foolproof and cannot guarantee the safety of your converter. Please be vigilant in securing your company vehicle and help deter thieves from targeting your vehicle!