Catalytic converter theft is on the rise, as criminals look to cash in on the metals they contain. Unfortunately, this component used to control vehicle emissions is relatively straightforward to remove, especially on larger vehicles.
Before finding out someone has stolen your catalytic converter when you attempt to start the car, learn the steps you can take to prevent theft.
Why Catalytic Converters Are In Demand
Due to cleaner air standards in the 1970s, cars started featuring catalytic converters. The combination of rhodium, palladium and platinum chemically neutralizes pollutants generated by the combustion process before they exit the vehicle.
Today, catalytic converters are a key component of the exhaust system that’s bolted to the base of your car. Unfortunately, thieves looking to sell the part to a junkyard or recycler know that’s all the security it has and can use a wrench or saw to detach it. With power tools, this job takes minutes.
An SUV or pickup truck has more room to get underneath and essentially makes the removal easier. Along with larger vehicles, hybrid cars are targets because they contain more of the in-demand metals.
Signs Your Catalytic Converter Was Stolen
While it’s unlikely that you check under your vehicle every day, theft becomes apparent when attempting to start the vehicle. You may notice a combination of the following:
- A loud growling sound once you step on the gas
- The car sputters or drives unevenly as you attempt to accelerate
- You can smell or see exhaust surrounding your car
- The check engine light turns on when you start driving
Reducing Your Risks
To deter thieves from stealing your catalytic converter:
- Have it welded to the vehicle’s frame, which poses a challenge when attempting to detach it
- Get the car’s vehicle number (VIN) engraved onto the part
- Have a cage or other barrier installed around the part
- Have the catalytic converter painted for a more distinct appearance
- Park in a well-lit spot that can be seen from your home or any time you go into a store
- If you regularly park outdoors, get in the habit of changing spots
- If you have one, park your car in the garage, keeping the door closed and locked
- Use anti-theft devices, including an alarm or motion-sensitive lights and a camera
Are you looking to have your catalytic converter modified to prevent theft? Work with DaSilva’s Auto Body for the necessary updates. Contact us to schedule an appointment today.