According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, catalytic converter thefts are soaring across the U.S. In 2018, there were a reported 1,298 catalytic converter theft claims made. However, in 2021 that number rose to more than 52,000 claims. Thieves look at catalytic converters as a means to make thousands of dollars. The prices for the precious metals inside the catalytic converters continue to rise. However, there are some ways drivers can help prevent their catalytic converters from being stolen.
What is a Catalytic Converter?
First, let’s understand the function of a catalytic converter. It’s a filter attached to the bottom of gas-powered vehicles. It’s designed to help remove harmful emissions from the car’s exhaust system. It’s essential to pass safety and emissions testing that is required in many states. Replacing one catalytic converter can cost between $1,500 and $3,000.
Catalytic converters contain rhodium, palladium, and platinum. According to the NICB, rhodium per ounce costs $20,000. The cost of palladium per ounce is $2,938. Lastly, the cost of platinum per ounce is $1,128. Experts believe these prices have been impacted by a disruption in the supply chain; turning these precious metals into limited resources.
According to one study, certain cars are more likely to have their catalytic converters stolen in the United States. Here’s the list:
- 1985-2021 Ford F-Series
- 1989-2020 Honda Accord
- 2007-2017 Jeep Patriot
- 1990-2022 Ford Econoline
- 1999-2021 Chevrolet Silverado
- 2005-2021 Chevrolet Equinox
- 1997-2020 Honda CR-V
- 1987-2019 Toyota Camry
- 2011-2017 Chrysler 200
- 2001-2021 Toyota Prius
Preventing Theft of Catalytic Converters
There are always ways you can help prevent your catalytic converter from being stolen. Some of these include:
- Anti-theft Device – This device does exactly what it sounds like. It’s usually in the form of a steel plate or cage that would make it very difficult for a thief to steal your catalytic converter. It’s meant to discourage them from attempting to steal your car part because the thieves know it would take quite some time. It is assumed that thieves want to make this process as quick as possible. Without a cage, it usually takes thieves a few minutes to steal a catalytic converter. Some alarms can be installed to guard your catalytic converter specifically. Any deterrent is a helpful one.
- Paint It – The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, Inc. and the International Association of Auto Theft Investigators released information suggesting that people paint their catalytic converters. They suggest you use high-temperature automotive exhaust spray paint in a bright color. They believe this will serve as another deterrent. Law enforcement officers believe this will signal to recyclers or scrap metal dealers that the part could be stolen.
- Etch onto the Device – Law enforcement officers suggest etching the VIN or license plate number onto the catalytic converter. It’s believed that doing this will make it more difficult for thieves to sell the part. You can check with police departments or muffler shops in your area. They may be able to etch the information on your catalytic converter for free.
COBIA Insurance: Offering Protection and Peace of Mind
You’ll know that your catalytic converter has been stolen if you start your car and begin hearing a loud noise from the exhaust. If you check the back of your car and notice it’s been stolen you should take a picture of the damage. Then, you should obtain a police report detailing the crime before contacting your insurance agency. COBIA Insurance offers comprehensive auto insurance that is designed to cover the costs of stolen parts. You can also check out our newsletters and blogs for more helpful information. Contact us for more details about the insurance options available to you.