Catalytic Converter Theft
There’s a new kind of car thief in town, and he’s not out to steal your car, your stereo or even your tires. He’s out to steal your catalytic converter. Thefts of catalytic converters are on the rise. A catalytic converter can be removed from your vehicle in a matter of few minutes. The thief probably won’t even set off the car alarm. Why is catalytic converter theft so popular with thieves? Can you do anything to prevent it? Here’s everything you need to know about catalytic convert theft.
What is a Catalytic Converter?
A catalytic converter converts toxic emissions into something a bit safer. All cars made after 1974 have them. You’ll find your catalytic converter located under your car. It’s attached to the exhaust system. It looks like a metal box, or a widened section of the exhaust. Those metal boxes have value. A thief can remove them easily by sawing through the exhaust either side of the converter. Then, he’ll be straight off the local scrap yard to make a few bucks.
Why Thieves Are After Your Catalytic Converter.
Thieves steal catalytic converters to sell for scrap metal. Catalytic converters contain valuable metals, like palladium, rhodium and platinum. If a thief sells a catalytic convert to a scrap yard, he will get approximately $200 for it. That’s not bad money for a few minutes work. If your converter gets stolen, it’s going to be a lot of hassle for you. It’s illegal to drive a car without one. And, it could cost you up to $2,000 to replace it.
How Do You Know If Catalytic Converter Has Been Stolen?
You will know that your catalytic converter has been stolen the moment you start your car. Instead of the usual engine sound you will hear a loud roar. If you hit the gas, that roar will get louder. The exhaust system won’t be working properly. So, you’ll notice that the car doesn’t drive smoothly too. If you look underneath the car, you will see that you have a gap in the exhaust where the catalytic converter used to be. You’ll probably also be able to see the saw marks where the converter has been hacked away. Driving without a catalytic converter is illegal, and it may damage your engine.
How do Thieves Steal Catalytic Converters?
Removing a converter is quite easy. The only tool a thief needs is a saw. The thief crawl under your car and then saw through the exhaust either side of the converter to remove it. The thief must get under the car do this, and he’ll need some uninterrupted time to do it. Sometimes they will use a sliding board to make the job easier. They may use a jack, but this is less likely as it takes time to jack a car up. Cars parked in isolated places are the most susceptible to catalytic converter thefts. Cars that are high off the ground are more vulnerable, such as pickup trucks and SUVs.
How to Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft
You’ll be pleased to know that are ways that you can prevent catalytic converter theft. Or, at least make the thieves task harder. The simplest things to do is be careful where you park your car. The police recommend parking your car in a well-lit area or in a locked garage.
You can prevent catalytic converter theft by welding the converter to the chassis of the car. You can also install a wire cage around the converter. The cage would need to be welded and bolted to the underside of the car. It would still be possible to steal the converter, but both these methods would be a good deterrent.
Having your license plate number or vehicle identification number etched into the converter will also be a deterrent. In some regions, scrap yards must ask for proof of ID before they can buy a catalytic converter. Of course, this will only be effective if the people at the scrap yard are honest.
There are also some catalytic converter security devices that you can buy. The Catstrap, for example, is a strap made of Kevlar fabric with hardened steel cables running through it. The strap runs down the length of the exhaust. It prevents the thief cutting through the exhaust. The Catstrap also has an alarm that will sound if someone attempts to cut through it. Another anti-theft device for catalytic converters is the CatClamp. This is clamp and steel wire security device. It secures the converter to the chassis of the vehicle.
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