Protect Your Vehicle From Catalytic Converter Thieves

Protect Your Vehicle From Catalytic Converter Thieves

M.C. Millman 

With catalytic converter thefts rising nationwide, keep in mind there are ways to minimize the risk of being targeted. 

The valuable antipollution device can be stolen in minutes and sold to scrap metal dealers for hundreds of dollars. Unfortunately, a targeted car owner will subsequently have to shell out $2,000-3,000 to replace the stolen catalytic converter while, at the same time, fix the underside of the vehicle in the aftermath of the robbery. 

Here are some tips to prevent the theft of your catalytic converter:

Choose your parking location wisely. If you have the option, park in a well-lit area. Park in your garage instead of the street or driveway whenever possible. If you have to park in your driveway, installing motion sensor security lights works well when discouraging thieves. 

Install an anti-theft device on your catalytic converter. The cost for this generally ranges from $200-$800. Options for an anti-theft device include a steel shield that fits over the catalytic converter, cages made of high-strength steel that are difficult to cut, and stainless steel cables welded from the catalytic converter to the car's frame.

Etch a VIN on the catalytic converter. You can go to a muffler shop to have your vehicle's VIN etched on the converter. Then have the number sprayed with highly visible, high-heat paint. This makes the converter traceable, which makes it harder to sell and gives law enforcement a better chance to track down your converter.

Check your car insurance. If your vehicle carries liability coverage only, theft is not covered. If you have comprehensive insurance on your auto insurance policy, which covers stolen auto parts, then you're likely in luck. Comprehensive insurance typically replaces the converter and pays for the repair of related damages as well. 

Check your susceptibility. Certain cars are more prone to catalytic converter theft than others. Older cars tend to be a bigger target as they have a larger amount of valuable materials in the converters. Hybrid cars are a particular concern because their catalytic converters are much less used than regular cars, making the materials easier to salvage. Cars with higher ground clearance, like SUVs, are a bigger target than smaller cars because it is easier for thieves to reach the converter. Another factor is how the converters are installed. Automakers that install converters with bolts are a bigger target. It pays to check how your vehicle converter is installed and respond accordingly. 


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