Learning about “what cars are targeted for catalytic converter theft?” helps you protect your vehicle and prevent purchasing a car with a stolen catalytic converter. Although Toyota Prius and larger trucks are more targeted for catalytic converter thefts, this does not mean that your vehicle is safe, and you must take all necessary precautions to protect your vehicle from catalytic converter theft.
The catalytic converter is one of the most valuable components in your vehicle. It is responsible for converting harmful emissions generated through the combustion processes to less harmful gases. Without a catalytic converter, your vehicle cannot pass the emission tests, and your car causes harm to the environment.
Interestingly, catalytic converter theft grew significantly over the last couple of years. For example, in 2019, about 3389 catalytic converters were stolen, while in 2020, about 14,433 reports indicated stolen catalytic converters. Surprisingly, by the beginning of 2020 only and during the first five months, about 25,969 reports indicated stolen catalytic converter.
With this significant trend and increase in catalytic converter thefts, automotive experts focus on learning about what cars target catalytic converter theft. This way, you know whether your car is targeted or not, and you put extra precautions to protect it. Similarly, if you're planning to purchase a car, this article helps you go through a list of vehicles expected to have stolen catalytic converters, so you don't get scanned by buying a vehicle without a catalytic converter.
What is the catalytic converter?
The catalytic converter is an essential component in the exhaust system. It is responsible for converting all harmful gases generated within the combustion process into less harmful emissions here. This way; the vehicle does not adversely impact the environment.
When looking at the catalytic converters, you'll find two common types:
1- Two-way catalytic converter
You will find the two-way catalytic converter in older vehicles. In this type of catalytic converter, harmful Gas is like carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide and hydrocarbons. In other words, all the carbon monoxide is converted into carbon dioxide and water.
2- 3-way catalytic converter
The three-way catalytic converter exists in more modern vehicles. It not only converts carbon monoxide into less harmful gases but also targets nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide and reduces its harmful impact.
Why are catalytic converters targeted for theft?
One of the critical elements that automotive experts focused on when researching catalytic converter theft is the reason. There are several reasons for thieves to focus on the catalytic converter more than any other part of your vehicle, including:
The catalytic converter is one of the most valuable components in the vehicle, and it consists of very precious rare metals that hold their value over time.
The catalytic converter is not a huge component, and it was very easy for thieves to carry it over from public parking lots without needing any huge equipment to carry it. The catalytic converter is something that you can hold in your hand without needing any help.
3- Easy to take out
Finally, the cuddle to converter is in an area that is easy to access. In other words, most thieves rely on a handheld power saw to cut the area around the converter without damaging it and without people noticing it. Unfortunately, those who had to deal with a stolen catalytic converter did not realize the problem until they turned on the vehicle and started noticing weird behaviors.
What cars are targeted for catalytic converter theft?
With the growing trend in cattle to convert theft, drivers need to familiarize themselves with the vehicles expected to be targeted the most.
1- Toyota Prius
According to experts, Toyota Prius is the most vehicle that is most targeted for catalytic converter thefts. This is because it contains the largest number of expensive metals like Palladium, rhodium, and platinum.
When selling the Toyota Prius cars converter, thefts could make at least $700 at junkyards only. However, keep in mind that they can make much more money when selling these components in other locations.
Unfortunately, Toyota Prius owners who had to deal with stolen catalytic converter indicated that they needed to pay a bill of $2000 to install a new converter.
2- SUVs and trucks
SUVs and trucks, in general, are also targeted for catalytic converter thefts. This is because these vehicles are typically raised above the ground, making it easy for thieves to sneak underneath the vehicle and take out the converter without any problem.
3- Other cars
While Toyota Prius and available larger vehicles are expected to be targeted for converter thefts, that does not mean that your vehicle is safe. In other words, any car on the road is targeted for catalytic converter theft, and if you don't take all necessary precautions to protect your vehicle, don't be surprised to deal with catalytic converter theft.
Can your car run without the catalytic converter?
If for any reason, your catalytic converter was stolen, one of the first questions that you need to ask yourself is whether you can drive your car without a catalytic converter or not.
The short answer is you will be able to drive your vehicle without the catalytic converter. However, you will be dealing with one of the following:
1- Your vehicle will make loud noises
One of the first things you will notice immediately once the catalytic converter is stolen is a weird loud, roaring noise. Obviously, this noise will not prevent you from driving your car, but it will be extremely annoying to most drivers.
Your vehicle will have rough acceleration
Without a catalytic converter, your vehicle will run rough, and you will find that the vehicle's behavior changes significantly, especially if you're trying to accelerate. Furthermore, without a catalytic converter, your vehicle will have uneven acceleration, and it will not run as smoothly as before.
2- Your car will not pass the emission test
Every vehicle needs to pass the annual emission test, and one of the first things you will notice when you drive without a catalytic converter is failing the emission test. This is because all States and governments' regulations will not allow you to drive your car without passing the tests and making sure that no harmful gases get to the environment.
Therefore, you must never delay replacing or installing a new catalytic converter if you want to keep the vehicle and continue driving it.
3- Your vehicle will emit harmful gases
Since the primary role of the catalytic converter is to convert harmful gases into less harmful emissions, continuing driving in the vehicle without a catalytic converter will harm the environment. If it's not only about yourself, it should also be about other people around you, and no one would want to continue driving a car that causes risks to the community and the entire world.
4- You might get a $250 fine
Not every driver without a catalytic converter will receive a serious $250 fine. For example, some drivers are trying to boost the horsepower of their vehicles by removing catalytic converters. If your government figured out that you intended to remove the catalytic converter for that purpose, you would receive another $50 fine.
This does not apply to vehicles that had stolen catalytic converters. However, you must approve to authorities that your catalytic converter was stolen, and you are not just trying to avoid replacing it by continuing driving the vehicle.
What do I do if someone stole my catalytic converter?
If you discovered that through catalytic converter was stolen, you need to follow these steps:
1- Informed the authorities
Immediately after discovering that your current converter is stolen, you must reach out to your local authorities. The authorities will use their tools to identify the potential thief. For example, they might rely on security cameras and other means to identify the person who stalls your catalytic converter.
2- Reach out to your insurance company
After informing the authorities, the next step is to reach out to your insurance company. First, give them a call and describe what happens. Then, check with them their options and see what you can do to replace the catalytic converter and if it's something they will cover.
3- Take your vehicle to there with her shop
You must install a new catalytic converter, whether it's broken or stolen. Therefore, you must take your vehicle to your local mechanic and inform him that the catalytic converter is missing. The mechanic well performs an inspection and confirms whether any other component got impacted by being taken out of the catalytic converter this way.
How to protect yourself from catalytic converter thefts?
Whether your vehicle is one of the most targeted for catalytic converter thefts or not, you must educate yourself about Ways and Means to protect your vehicle from catalytic converter thefts. Here are some recommendations from automotive experts:
1- Consider protective devices
Manufacturers and automotive experts realized the need to install protective devices targeted to monitor any catalytic converter theft attempts. However, keep in mind that some of these devices are very expensive, which means that the more security you're looking for, the more you're going to pay.
Therefore, you must perform a thorough evaluation to check whether it's worth installing a very expensive protective device. In some scenarios, you might be OK with a general normal protective device rather than installing a very expensive one.
2- Install vibration triggered alarms
Some specific types of alarms target vibrations. Therefore, these alarms can be very effective if someone is trying to sell the catalytic converter. Your vehicle will immediately activate the alarm and scare away the thieves.
3- Be mindful about where to park
With the whole trend of catalytic converter theft, it is time to be very mindful about where to park your vehicle. In general, experts recommend parking your car in the following locations as much as possible:
- Bright areas like locations under streetlights are very effective to these carriage thieves and keep your vehicle safe
- Areas where there are a lot of people like parking lots of larger retailers like Walmart or moles.
- Locations where some security cameras discourage thieves from trying to steal your catalytic converter.
It's been shown that catalytic converter theft has increased significantly over the last couple of years. Therefore, all drivers are recommended to educate themselves with the most common vehicles expected to be catalytic converter theft targets.
According to experts, together Prius is one of the top vehicles targeted for catalytic converter thefts. Also, any high enough vehicle like trucks or SUVs is expected to be a catalytic converter theft target. However, this does not mean that your vehicle is safe. You must assume that your vehicle is a target for catalytic converter theft anytime, so you prepare all necessary precautions.
If you realize that someone stole your catalytic converter, you must evaluate the situation properly to check whether it's worth installing a new catalytic converter or not. If you have other major problems in your vehicle, it might not even be worth the repairs, and it's better to sell the vehicle and use its money towards about a car.
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