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5 Ways to Thwart Catalytic Converter Thieves

Liz Macauley

Thieves have targeted catalytic converters for years, but recently these crimes have been on the rise. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), there were 1,298 reported catalytic converter thefts in 2018. That increased to 3,389 in 2019 and skyrocketed to 14,433 in 2020.

Why do people steal catalytic converters? These automobile parts help convert toxic gas into carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide, which are less hazardous pollutants. To do this, they use precious metals that recyclers can get a lot of money for, including:

  • Rhodium
  • Palladium
  • Platinum

Catalytic converters are a part of your car’s exhaust system. They’re located between the engine and the muffler. Thieves will often slide right under your car or truck to steal your converter. However, it is possible to keep your car safe if you take the right precautions. To learn more, read through our five tips below.

Five Ways You Can Prevent Theft on Your Catalytic Converter

If you’re worried about a catalytic converter theft with your vehicle, some steps you can take, include:

  1. Storing your vehicle inside whenever possible: Parking your car in your home garage is a great option. If you don’t have a garage, you can install motion sensing lights in your driveway. You can also find a parking garage or other type of secured parking area.
  2. Considering sensors: You can get gate opening sensors or other detection devices that will trigger a burglar alarm and lights. You can also get deterrent devices like CatstrapTM or CatClampTM to keep your car safe.
  3. Re-calibrating your vehicle’s alarm: You can re-set your alarm to detect any vibrations. This can help it go off when thieves are tampering with your vehicle.
  4. Parking in strategic locations: Don’t just park anywhere. Make sure you’re leaving your car in a space that’s well lit, highly visible and has security cameras. If you have a high-riding vehicle like a truck or SUV, you can park them near cars that are lower to the ground to make it more difficult to access underneath.
  5. Marking your catalytic converter: You can etch your vehicle identification number (VIN) into your catalytic converter. If it’s stolen, this can help police trace it and identify thieves.

You can learn more about catalytic converter thefts and how to safeguard your vehicle by reading through our Catalytic Converter Theft Resource Page.

What Should You Do If Someone Steals Your Catalytic Converter?

If someone steals your catalytic converter, you should report it to the police immediately. You can then contact us and check your collision insurance coverage. Your policy may cover your car for theft. However, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll likely need to pay your deductible but our claims professionals can help answer any question you have.

Your catalytic converter is very costly to replace. So, whether you drive an SUV, sedan or truck, you’ll want to take action and prevent thieves from targeting your vehicle. It can be as easy as parking in your garage every night or in a well-lit area. You can also re-calibrate your car alarm and install sensors on your property for even more protection. Whatever course of action you decide on, you won’t regret it. Remember, these thefts are on the rise across the country.

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4 Responses to "5 Ways to Thwart Catalytic Converter Thieves"
    • MarkMessinger | September 9, 2021 at 12:38 pm

      Interesting the article does not mention installing a catalytic converter shield. Why was this not listed as a means of preventing theft?

      Is marking the VIN on a catalytic converter an effective means of preventing theft? Or are we finding it doesn’t actually prevent theft, but does make it easier to prosecute thieves?

      • Small Biz Ahead | September 22, 2021 at 12:06 pm

        Hi Mark, thanks for reaching out!

        We mentioned two examples similar to the shield in item two of the article but catalytic converter shields are definitely an option. However, installers need to make sure that these are installed properly and do not void any warranties offered by the OEM.

        Marking the VIN clearly on the bottom of the catalytic converter is meant as a deterrent to thieves in preventing resale.

    • Emaredong | August 1, 2021 at 12:38 am

      Very informative. Thank you so much.

      • Small Biz Ahead | August 2, 2021 at 8:49 am

        You’re welcome! Thanks for reading SBA!

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