Why is Catalytic converter theft on the rise?
Catalytic converter theft is a lucrative criminal act for thieves that only takes minutes. Considering multiple vehicles parked in the same parking lot or on the same street can all be hit at the same time catalytic converter theft has become a lucrative criminal act for thieves.
The precious metals and materials in a catalytic converter can be sold to metal recyclers once they are cut out from the vehicle's exhaust system. From reports and news articles, it seems that a single catalytic converter can be sold to a metal recycler for $40 to $300 depending on the size and volume of the catalytic converter. The high a metal recycler may pay is due to precious metals that are used in catalytic converters to reduce emissions from the tailpipe.
Catalytic converters use a combination of platinum, palladium, rhodium. Depending on the prices for these metals and market demands these precious metals have values higher than gold at times. All these factors combined have led to a rise in catalytic converter theft.
How was my catalytic converter stolen?
The simple answer is "quick and easy". Typically vehicles that come into our auto repair facility with a stolen catalytic converter are towed into our facility. When the vehicle arrives we perform an inspection on a vehicle rack or hoist to raise the vehicle in the air. Once the undercarriage of the vehicle is exposed we typically see signs that the theft was committed with a battery-powered reciprocating saw. This type of saw is used in 90% of the catalytic converter thefts we see at our auto repair facility.
In this scenario, the thief will reach under the vehicle and cut both ends of the exhaust pipe that attach the catalytic converter to the exhaust system. Once both ends of the exhaust pipe are cut the catalytic converter drops out of the bottom of the vehicle and the thief has what they came for and moves onto the next vehicle. Keep in mind many vehicles are equipped with more than one catalytic converter, and some vehicles have up to four catalytic converters on the exhaust system.
Can I prevent my catalytic converter from being stolen?
Understanding how catalytic converters are stolen has led to the development of products that can reduce the likelihood of this type of theft happening to your vehicle. These products come in the form of plates, shields, and other variants that act as a deterrent. A vehicle equipped with one of these products is relying on the fact that it would be too time-consuming after the product is installed so the thief will move onto the next vehicle.
Make an appointment for a catalytic converter theft deterrent device.
Can A+ Japanese Auto Repair Inc. install a catalytic converter theft deterrent device on my vehicle?
Yes, we can install catalytic converter theft deterrent plates and shields customized for your vehicle in most cases. If you have questions we are here to help find the best option for you when it comes to installing a catalytic converter theft deterrent device. At this time we are installing these for clients in most instances after we replace catalytic converters that have been stolen. If you find yourself in this situation we can work with your insurance company to assist in the coverage or repair. As word spreads of catalytic converter theft, we have also had clients preemptively install these theft deterrent devices on vehicles that are at higher risk of catalytic converter theft.
Some vehicles at higher risk are:
- Lifted vehicles, SUVs, and trucks or vehicles with higher ground clearance. (which makes it easier for thieves to access the undercarriage of the vehicle)
- Hybrid vehicles (we see a lot of theft on Prius hybrid vehicles in our area)
- Vehicles with exhaust systems visible when viewed from the side.
Unfortunately, this new reality of catalytic converter theft has not slowed down. Contact us today if you have questions regarding preventative measures that we can take to deter thieves from targeting your vehicle.