For any driver, the thought of a car being stolen is usually top of mind, but rarely thought of is catalytic converter theft. However, that is one bit of crime that’s on the rise. Little known to consumers but always a hot commodity, these pricey pieces are seeing a great spike in burglary popularity. Catalytic converters contain three very expensive metals (platinum, palladium and rhodium). This means they are a top prize for thieves in the know, making this a booming illegal industry item.
Why Catalytic Converters Matter
So what are these items and what do they do? Catalytic converters are metal boxes with two pipes coming out from them. They attach to the bottom of a car. They’re exhaust emission control devices, meaning they’re responsible for reducing the amount of pollution coming from your car. They utilize internal combustion to convert toxic gases found in exhaust systems into less environmentally harmful emissions.
Also, it is illegal to drive your car without one. If your catalytic converter is stolen, you’ll need to be towed into a service center to get the repair done.
The metals thieving world is seizing this summer and fall as prime opportunities. Career criminals know what catalytic converters are worth and they are taking advantage of every opportunity to grab them.
Officials have taken to warning residents and releasing reminders on car safety, since this trend shows no sign of stopping. One single town has seen back to back catalytic converter thefts: one from a home, one from a lot. One thief hit a Chevy pickup and the other chose a Honda. This proves that catalytic converter criminals don’t discriminate.
Even if your city is only seeing a normal amount of catalytic converter theft, that’s too much. Not only are these items pricey (up to $2,000) to replace, they are big headache. Losing them means not only a costly repair bill, but possible damage to your car. Thieves are also not concerned about protecting the rest of your car during the theft. They will often leave scratches and dents on the body in a hurry to get away. They can also cause other damage while removing catalytic converters from the underside.
Keep Your Car in Check
Thieves are especially targeting cars at homes or parking lots that were not well lit or monitored. Ideally, storing your car in a garage at home will prevent catalytic converter theft. If you don’t have that ability, your driveway or street front should be well lit. Law enforcement recommends motion detecting cameras, lights and alarms to scare off criminals if they approach your car.
Also, make sure you do not leave your keys in your car. Though catalytic converters are removed from the bottom of a vehicle, thieves will also drive cars to more remote locations before removing the piece. It’s not always just your car itself you need to worry about being stolen.