Why are Catalytic Converters Being Stolen And What Can You Do to Prevent Thieves From Stealing Yours?

Jan 16, 2023 - Articles, Resources


Recently we heard that an automobile’s catalytic converter was stolen in broad daylight, in the parking lot of a local pharmacy. According to State Farm, the largest auto insurer in the United States, from June 2021 through June 2022, its insureds had 43,200 catalytic converters stolen from their cars. And that’s just one insurance company.

According to National Public Radio, in October of 2022, the Department of Justice arrested 21 people in connection with a crime ring accused of profiting $545 Million by trafficking in stolen catalytic converters.

Catalytic converters have become a target for thieves because they contain precious metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium. Platinum was recently trading at $900 per ounce; palladium was at about $2,200 an ounce; and rhodium at nearly $13,000 a troy ounce. In comparison, gold was trading at $1,700 per ounce. The concentration of these precious metals in a vehicle’s catalytic converter can yield anywhere from $25 to $300 for a standard catalytic converter to as much as $1,400 for a hybrid converter because of the higher level of precious metals they contain.

According to CarFax, some of the top vehicles in the nation, targeted by thieves for their catalytic converters are the Ford F-Series trucks, Ford Econoline vans, Chevrolet Silverado, Honda CR-V and the Toyota Prius. The higher the ground-clearance, the easier it is for thieves to gain access to the underside of a vehicle. A catalytic converter can be removed in as little as five minutes with a battery powered sawzall.

The cost to replace a stolen Catalytic converter can be as much as $3,000 and unless you have the right insurance coverage (comprehensive, as opposed to just collision or liability), it will not be covered. Even with comprehensive coverage, you will still be out your deductible.

So what can you do? Police departments advise parking in closed garages whenever possible. A location with security cameras, which is brightly lighted is preferred. If you must park on the street, there are aftermarket catalytic converter theft prevention shields or clamps that can be installed on your vehicle. A popular manufacture and retailer of protective aluminum plates as the one depicted below is Cat Security

An alternative design seen below is the cable cage, manufactured and sold by Cat Clamp.

Another option, is to have your vehicle’s identification number (VIN) etched directly on the catalytic converter, which will serve as a deterrent, to the extent it raises doubts of an easy resell for a thief.

At Drake, Hileman & Davis, our personal injury attorneys have been concerned for the safety of those in our community for more than 30 years. We have been helping the injured find answers, whenever accidents happen. We have a proven track record of results and satisfied clients. We’re ready to answer your questions and provide you with the legal help you need. Contact us on-line or call us at 1-888-777-7098 to schedule your free consultation in the convenience of your home or at one of our five offices located throughout the region.

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"I was injured in an accident and my truck was totaled. The guy who hit me had a low insurance policy. I reinjured my neck and shoulder in the accident. I thought nothing could be done since the guy had hardly any insurance and I had a previous condition, but Jonathan Russell from Drake, Hileman & Davis was able to get me a nice cash settlement!"
Posted By: Brent

Drake, Hileman & Davis

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