Catalytic converters are present on practically every car on the road today. They use chemical reactions to clean harmful gasses – such as carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide and hydrocarbons – from your car’s exhaust emissions. Their job is particularly important these days now that we are more climate-conscious. They convert (hence the name) these harmful gasses into less damaging substances like carbon dioxide and water vapour. The interior of the ‘cat’ is generally fitted with a honeycomb structure onto which a coating is applied that contains a catalyst – this creates a reaction with the exhaust gasses, altering them chemically.
How often are catalytic converters being stolen?
Sadly, we are hearing from more and more customers who have had their ‘cats’ stolen. They’re being targeted not because of their value as car parts but because they use precious metals like palladium, rhodium and platinum as catalysts. In most of today’s cars, the converter is found underneath the vehicle towards the exhaust outlet, making it easily accessible to thieves who can cut the whole unit out from underneath the car, sometimes in less than 2 minutes. It’s a quick win for thieves but a big loss for car owners.
Is your car a target?
All vehicles are at risk, but cars and commercial vehicles that sit higher off the road (like SUVs and crossovers) are often in the firing line because getting under them is easier. Thieves may even keep targeting the same model of vehicle simply because they get used to removing that particular catalytic converter. Our customers have even come to us to replace their stolen ‘cat’, only to have the new one stolen not long after. This is not just very inconvenient, but also incredibly costly.
How can you prevent the theft?
It’s best to park your car in a locked garage if you can. If not, try to park in a well-lit and busy area. If you park your car in your driveway or on the road outside your house, installing sensor-enabled lights and security cameras is an effective way to deter or catch thieves. Some car manufacturers offer locks to slow thieves down, such as Toyota’s “Catloc” for the Prius and Auris. Or you can look into installing a Thatcham Category 1 alarm which uses tilt sensors to detect if a jack is lifting your car before it sounds an alarm.
Hopefully, the above will help to reduce the risk of your catalytic converter being stolen. Browse our other blog posts for more information and advice.