The Catalytic Converter
We frequently receive calls from customers that need service because their catalytic converter has been stolen. Sadly, people take this expensive part from your vehicle, but did you ever wonder why these parts are in such high demand? There are plenty of reasons why this is the most stolen piece from an automobile, and it has everything to do with quick cash.
Catalytic converters are located in the exhaust system of your vehicle. Times are hard right now, and many people struggle to put food on the table, so criminals must get creative. First, you should know that while they bring in some money based on their metal content, these converters won’t make anyone rich. It takes time to unhook them from the exhaust, making them susceptible to being caught.
The catalytic converter plays a significant role in exchanging your exhaust gas to another state. Many folks think this is another muffler due to its tubular design, but its position higher on the exhaust system indicates it’s not. A muffler is nothing but a hollow tube, but the catalytic converter has an intricate design inside.
The interior of the converter looks like a honeycomb, with a series of tiny holes. The gas goes through these chambers and is converted. The chemical process that occurs inside is called a redox reaction. The unit takes oxygen, hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide to make water and carbon dioxide. Have you ever seen water leaking from your exhaust? Your catalytic converter causes this leakage.
Without this vital part of your car, your vehicle would omit nitrogen oxide into the atmosphere, which is highly toxic. Think of all the vehicles that drive down your road in one day and the number of toxins they would release without this part. So this converter helps keep the atmosphere cleaner and protects your lungs.
Many people try to run a straight pipe to bypass the converter after theirs has been stolen or has gone bad, but this is very dangerous to the driver and anyone near this vehicle. Additionally, it’s illegal to operate your car without one on it.
You may have noticed that the price of metals has skyrocketed with inflation. Things like gold, silver, and even aluminum bring a good value. Well, many precious metals are inside the converter, so thus it brings in some much-needed money.
Remember that the amount of metal used to make these isn’t all that much, and most people get a few grams to sell. However, those few grams are enough to make it worth the while for the thief. The key is that the honeycomb structure inside has high dollar metals like platinum, palladium, and rhodium, bringing in more than typical aluminum or steel.
To keep things in perspective, selling one catalytic converter from a small car like the Toyota Prius can bring over $2,000 in metals. So, it’s easy to see that someone who was down and out could sell this for some quick change.
Catalytic converter theft is on the increase. Thieves will take these parts because they know it’s quick money. However, replacing this is very costly to the vehicle owner. We see many more of these thefts in poorer communities where money is tighter.
The ironic thing is that you need a buzz saw to get them off, so it’s not a quiet process. Thankfully, there are ways that you can help to ensure your vehicle isn’t targeted. Here are some tips:
1. Watch Where You Park
You want to make sure you park your car in well-populated areas. Leaving a vehicle on a desolate street or empty parking lot can increase your chances of being targeted. Remember that it makes noise to take one of these off, so a thief wants it to be an area where they won’t get caught.
2. Park Inside Your Garage or Close to Your Home
Street parking is the worst for these thefts, but you can protect your car by parking it close to your house or in the garage. Thieves will go for the easiest targets first before coming too up close. They fear security cameras, and you hear them when they are close to your home.
3. Buy Steel Security Plates
One of the best ways to prevent your catalytic converter from being stolen is to buy a steel security plate. These work best on trucks or SUVs, but you can control access to the converter by screwing this plate to the frame.
4. Use Special Socket Screws
Another valuable option is to use unique screws that only you have the socket key to match. It’s impossible to take off the converter if the thief can’t find a socket that matches your screws.
We have you covered if you should be the unfortunate victim of a catalytic converter theft. We can replace this vital part so that your vehicle is roadworthy. It’s unfortunate, but many insurance companies will cover these claims under your comprehensive coverage. From problems with your exhaust to a complete engine overhaul, we are the ones to call.