A thief breaks into a vehicle in this stock photo.

Stealing car radios has become outdated, thieves find new target

Why do people steal catalytic converters? 

Thieves have been breaking into other people’s automobiles since automobiles were first created. Many of us have had to deal with the violating feeling of knowing a stranger has been inside of our property. Car radios, easily seen valuables and the vehicles themselves continue to be popular targets of criminals. But over the last couple of years, these people are targeting a new component, the catalytic converter. So, why do people steal catalytic converters? Well, the answer is pretty simpleit is a valuable piece of equipment that is actually very accessible and easy to remove if the thief knows what they are doing. Our team thought it would be helpful to understand this phenomenon and provide you with advice to prevent having your catalytic converter stolen. Let’s take a look at what they came up with. 

READ MORE: Do red cars get pulled over more often? 

What makes catalytic converters so valuable to thieves? 

A vehicle’s catalytic converter is the last line of defense from a car, truck or SUV pumping pollution into the atmosphere. Some still escape, but the amount of potentially harmful gasses that gets put into the air is much less than if this part isn’t used. A catalytic converter uses several precious metals like platinum, palladium and rhodium to filter harmful contaminants out of a vehicle’s exhaust. All of these metals are extremely valuable to metal dealers, and each catalytic converter unit can be worth as much as $200. 

In addition to being valuable, a catalytic converter is relatively easy to steal. According to some of the experts we spoke to, an experienced thief can use a power saw to remove a catalytic converter in as little as one minute. Every automobile built after 1974 is required by law to have a catalytic converter. However, pickup trucks and large SUVs are more often targeted because they sit higher off the ground and the underside of the vehicle is easier to access. 

How do I know if my catalytic converter is missing? 

Unless someone does a very extensive inspection of their vehicle before they leave the house, it is unlikely that you’ll immediately notice your catalytic converter is missing. However, once you turn the key and the engine starts, it will become immediately clear. Your engine will suddenly sound very loud, and it will get louder when you press the gas pedal.  

Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft 

There are a few simple things you can do to make it more difficult for someone to steal your catalytic converter: 

• Park your vehicle in a secured structure like a garage 
• Park in a well-lit area near the entrance of a building 
• Install a car alarm that is sensitive to vibration 
• Have your VIN engraved on your catalytic converter 

If there is anything Carizma Motors can do to make your day a little easier, at least as it comes to buying a pre-owned vehicle, don’t hesitate to make an appointment with us today.