Tips to Help Prevent Your Catalytic Converter from being Stolen
Thieves can remove a catalytic converter quickly, often in just a few minutes so theft can even occur during the day at times and with only a wrench and / or a saw. This can happen so quickly that other people walking by may think the thief is the owner of the vehicle.
Catalytic converter theft is on the rise and this is a problem for everyone but the thieves for whom this is a profitable endeavor for a few minutes of ‘work’. You will now have to get another catalytic converter and repair any additional damage the thieves may have done in the process. Utility vehicles are often targets but there are some tips and tricks to help deter catalytic converter thieves.
All across the country, thousands of drivers are experiencing the same awful surprise upon starting up their vehicle which is suddenly much louder than it once was and heading to the mechanic to figure out the problem. Upon arriving at the mechanic they hear the disturbing news that their catalytic converter has been stolen.
Catalytic converters are often stolen and sold as scrap for the precious metals they may contain worth a pretty tidy sum. Thieves are stealing catalytic converters because they contain platinum, palladium or rhodium to sell to scrap yards and make it worth the risk of stealing it from your vehicle. Thieves may also see some resale value in the theft of your catalytic converter though it is less common than being sold for scrap metals.
Vehicles that sit higher from the ground are often prime targets for catalytic converter theft because it’s quick and easy to slide under the vehicle and use some simple and easily gotten tools to steal the catalytic converter in just a minute or two without much outside notice.
Tips that may help prevent the theft of your vehicles catalytic converter
1. Park in well lit areas where thieves are less likely to want to venture and risk being seen during the theft of your catalytic converter. However, the process can be so simple that many people observing the theft of a vehicle’s catalytic converter have mistakenly thought the thieves were the owner! It is advisable to take some additional steps to deter the theft of your catalytic converter from your vehicle.
2. Try to avoid prolonged parking. A vehicle sitting in one place for long periods of time can be a tempting target for catalytic converter theft. Move your vehicle or make sure it’s in a busy or monitored area if it must stay in one place for awhile. A parking garage or space with security is an added bonus and a good idea.
3. Engrave your license plate number or other identifying and / or unique information on the converter to help make it more traceable. Engravings can be varied and you can also try something like your phone number or other identification.
4. Visit your exhaust and muffler shop and have the converter secured to the vehicle’s frame / exhaust system with a little bit of welding and fabrication and a little bit of extra steel. This is becoming very effective since it makes stealing the catalytic converter from your vehicle not as easy or as fast. The thieves tend to look for easier targets that take a very short amount of time. Shearing off the heads on the bolts of the catalytic converter or welding them on is another suggestion your mechanic may offer.
5. Manufacturers are now developing anti catalytic theft devices such as the Cat Clamp which can be purchased and installed to help prevent catalytic converter theft.
6. A sensitive and well equipped car alarm to blast notice when someone gets to close to your vehicle.
The catalytic converter uses some chemistry and converts not so good chemicals such as hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide and sometimes even nitrogen oxides into water vapor and carbon dioxide. Exhaust gases leave the engine and head through your exhaust to the catalytic converter where compounds inside the catalytic converter react and turn them into something better or less harmful for us and our environment.
Since 1975, all vehicles produced in the United States must have a catalytic converter as part of the exhaust system. It is a legal requirement and you should never let a mechanic tell you that you don’t need a catalytic converter.