If your neighborhood is the target of car thefts, then you may always be on alert. Nowadays, instead of cars getting stolen, thieves are focusing on car parts, especially catalytic converters. They are installed close to the exhaust tips and are responsible for converting the harmful fumes from the car’s engine into harmless gases that are released into the air.
Catalytic converters are quite valuable and their theft is becoming increasingly common nowadays. Let’s have a look at why your car’s catalytic converter may be at risk of getting stolen.
They are Easy to Remove
The first reason why catalytic converters are stolen frequently is because they can be easily removed from vehicles. All the thief needs are a spanner to remove the bolts and if they are short or time, they simply cut the pipes from both ends to free up the catalytic converter. The removal takes only a few minutes, and thieves can easily stash away the device once they are done stealing it.
They are Quite Expensive to Replace
New catalytic converters are quite expensive, which is why there is an increased demand for second-hand converters by car owners whose converters fail to work anymore. As a consequence, these parts are stolen from cars and sold to auto part dealers that buy second-hand parts, as well as scrap metal dealers. Even if you buy a second-hand catalytic converter, you can expect to spend anywhere between $2,000 to $4,000, so you can imagine how much a new one would cost, along with installation costs.
Another reason why these converters are so expensive is because most of them consist of metals like palladium, rhodium, and platinum, which are highly precious metals and even more expensive than gold. Hence, they become an easy target for thieves.
Last but not least, the catalytic converters installed in electric and hybrid cars, such as the Toyota Prius, are highly in demand and they are stolen the most as well. The reason for this is that since these cars mostly or completely run on electricity, they don’t have as much emissions as gas-powered cars do. Therefore, the condition of the precious metals inside them is much better as well. Thus, they are removed from cars like the Prius and sold for higher prices.
What can Car Manufacturers Do?
Thankfully, car makers acknowledge the fact that some of their models are more prime targets for catalytic converter theft than others, mainly because the device is installed at an easily accessible location. This is why companies like Toyota have started adding a protective cage or casing over the catalytic converters, so that it becomes even more difficult for thieves to steal them.
This brings us to the end of our article on catalytic converter theft and its causes. While you may think there isn’t much you can do to prevent this, you just have to be a little more cautious, and prefer parking your car in the garage at all times, or increasing the lighting outside your home, so that thieves can’t easily slide under your car to steal the converter.