Catalytic Converter Thefts

13 July 2021 / Motasoft Administrator

Customers have been reaching out to us in recent weeks following a spate of Catalytic Converter thefts in our area.

A stolen catalytic converter replacement can cost as much as £2,500 for the often-targeted Toyota Prius.

Catalytic converter theft is on the rise nationwide. Thieves can steal this anti pollution device in a matter of minutes and sell it to scrap metal dealers for several hundred pounds for the precious metals it contains.

Such a theft is a crime of opportunity, with thieves often patrolling in the early hours of the morning in search of hybrid and electric vehicles.

There are however anti theft devices and methods available that would either deter or prevent such thefts from taking place.

Here are the top tips from our mechanics and North Yorkshire Police to avoid a wrenching experience and a costly repair.

Contact your local police division or trusted local garage ask what cars have been targeted in your area.

Vans and SUVs are often hit by thieves because it’s easy to slide under the vehicle rather than jack it up. Sometimes thieves unbolt the catalytic converter, but more often they just cut the connecting pipes using a battery-operated saw.

Thieves also usually operate in groups of two or three, and will be in possession of equipment such as a car jack.

Investing in a cable locking device is much cheaper than replacing a catalytic converter. The internet is filled with such devices to protect the catalytic converter, which is part of the exhaust system that runs along the bottom of your car. if your unsure as to how to fit such a device or are not sure which one to purchase, Dunnington Motor Care are able to source, supply and fit catalytic converter anti theft devices. You are welcome to contact a member of our team on 01904 481818.

Here are a few of the popular devices:

  • A steel shield that fits over the catalytic converter, requiring time and extra tools to remove.
  • Cages made of rebar or other high-strength steel that's difficult to cut.
  • Stainless steel cables welded from the catalytic converter to the car’s frame.

Some garages will custom-weld such a device to your car, we wish to attach caution to this option as attaching the catalytic converter directly to the car’s frame can be noisy since the exhaust system otherwise is suspended from the car by sound-buffering hangers.

3. Paint your catalytic converter

Some sources recommend using a high-temperature fluorescent orange paint, such as those sprayed on barbecue grills, on your catalytic converter and then inscribing your vehicle identification number in the painted surface. This makes it traceable, and in theory at least, a reputable scrap metal dealer might decline to buy it.

You can turn up the sensitivity of your car alarm so that it goes off when thieves jostle your car. That’s fine, but can cause issues for neighbours as the alarm may blare when, for example, a cat jumps on the car in the middle of the night.

Other alarms are designed to be activated when the car is tilted, such as when it's jacked up. Installing a motion-sensitive dash cam can notify you of a theft in progress or possibly record the license plate of the getaway car.

In addition to alarms, North Yorkshire Police recommend getting motion-sensitive lights and parking in your driveway or a closed garage whenever possible. They also suggest getting to know your neighbors so you can recognise strangers who might be casing parked vehicles.

Other devices such as Ring Doorbells are inexpensive and effective at deterring thieves.

Click here to view North Yorkshire Police advice in full.

5. Check your car insurance

Comprehensive insurance covers stolen auto parts.

If you have full coverage — liability insurance, plus collision and comprehensive policies that repair or replace your own car — you're covered, minus your deductible amount. It's typically required if you have a loan or lease. If you have a vehicle at high risk for a catalytic converter theft, you might consider lowering your deductible amount.

If you carry liability coverage only, you're not covered for theft.

If you come out in the morning and start your car, you’ll know by the loud exhaust noise that your catalytic converter was stolen. Here are a few steps that can get you going again:

  • Aftermarket catalytic converters are cheaper, but make sure they're compliant. A good garage will know what's legal. In some cases, an aftermarket catalytic converter will be less desirable and prevent future thefts.
  • Get you vehicle inspected by your local garage, many such as ourselves offer free vehicle health checks.
  • Contact your insurance company and take pictures of the damaged exhaust pipe where the catalytic converter used to be.
  • Contact the police, this will help police track such crimes and might assist in arrests.
  • While your new catalytic converter is being installed, ask your local garage about adding an anti-theft device to prevent future thefts.

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