The theft of catalytic converters continues to be a persistent issue, with thieves targeting cars for their valuable metals. As the demand and market value of precious metals like platinum, rhodium, and palladium increase, catalytic converters have become an attractive target. In this article, we will discuss why catalytic converters are vulnerable to theft, which cars are most likely to be targeted, and effective preventive measures for car owners.
Why Are Catalytic Converters Prone to Theft?
Catalytic converters are relatively easy to steal due to their accessibility and the valuable materials they contain. Although these parts can cost around $1,000, their simple installation under the car makes them an appealing target for thieves. Reports indicate that catalytic converters were the focus of approximately 13,000 thefts in 2019 alone. Criminals primarily target the precious metals used in these devices, such as platinum, rhodium, and palladium, which have experienced a significant increase in market value in recent years.
Cars Most Likely to Have Catalytic Converter Stolen:
- Ford F-Series: The Ford F-Series, renowned for its popularity in America, is frequently targeted by thieves due to its high ground clearance. The accessibility of the catalytic converter makes it an easy component to remove. The F-150 Raptor, powered by a twin-turbo Ecoboost V6 engine, is one of the notable models in this series.
- Chrysler 200: Despite its relatively short production span from 2011 to 2017, the Chrysler 200 ranks among the frequently stolen models. With a 3.6L V6 DOHC 24-valve WT engine block, the Chrysler 200 presents an attractive proposition for thieves.
- Chevrolet Silverado: Introduced in 1999, the Chevrolet Silverado has remained a popular pickup truck in America. Its enduring popularity contributes to the high incidence of catalytic converter thefts. The Silverado offers various versions, with the price ranging from $37,600 for the regular version to $53,195 for the full version in the US.
- Toyota Prius: As a pioneer in hybrid technology, the Toyota Prius has been around since 2001. Its eco-friendly reputation and the presence of valuable metals in the catalytic converter make it an attractive target for thieves. The 2022 version of the Prius in the US is priced around $28,000.
- Toyota Camry: Known for its practicality and reliability, the Toyota Camry has maintained its position as a top-selling car. With a range of versions available, including hybrid options, the Camry appeals to a wide customer base. Prices for the 2019-generation Camry start at $24,000 in the US.
- Honda CR-V: The Honda CR-V, one of the best-selling cars in the US, has undergone several generations of updates since its introduction in 1997. The current CR-V offers 1.5L and 2.0L hybrid engine options, with prices ranging from $29,000 to $40,000 in the US.
- Ford Econoline: Although not as popular as other Ford models, the Ford Econoline is a full-size van often utilized for cargo purposes. Its relatively high price makes it an attractive target for thieves seeking valuable catalytic converters.
- Honda Accord: With millions of Honda Accords on US roads, the Accord, particularly the fourth-generation model from 1989 onwards, remains a prime target for catalytic converter theft. Thieves can remove the part within minutes due to its easy accessibility.
- Jeep Patriot: Although discontinued in 2017, the Jeep Patriot, introduced in 2006, remains a sought-after model. With two engine options and various equipment choices, the Patriot attracts thieves due to its valuable catalytic converter.
- Chevrolet Equinox: As part of the small SUV segment, the Chevrolet Equinox has gained popularity since its introduction in 2004. The Equinox’s catalytic converter is frequently targeted, but car owners can consider purchasing the electric version to mitigate the risk.
Preventing Catalytic Converter Theft:
Car owners can take several preventive measures to protect their vehicles from catalytic converter theft. Here are some effective strategies:
- Engrave the VIN or license plate number on the catalytic converter.
- Install an anti-theft alarm device to deter thieves.
- Park your car in well-lit areas, preferably in a garage, driveway near your house, or places with surveillance.
- Consider installing motion sensor lights around your vehicle.
- Park in locations that make it difficult for thieves to access the underside of the car, such as against a wall or close to other vehicles.
- Install a protective lock on the catalytic converter.
- Stay updated with local regulations and support legislation aimed at curbing catalytic converter theft.
Catalytic converter theft remains a prevalent issue, with thieves targeting cars for their valuable metals. Understanding which vehicles are at a higher risk and implementing preventive measures can help car owners protect their vehicles. By engraving identification marks, installing security devices, and parking strategically, individuals can minimize the chances of falling victim to catalytic converter theft. Additionally, supporting legislative measures aimed at curbing this crime can contribute to a safer automotive environment for everyone.