While some weeks we get to share encouraging news, this week we’re going to talk about a more severe issue that drivers face: catalytic converter theft. Here’s all you need to know about this problem and what you can do to keep it safe.
Why Are Catalytic Converters Being Stolen?
Your catalytic converter is an important component of your car that is meant to decrease the pollutants and hazardous fumes produced by your emissions system. To finish this procedure, valuable metals such as platinum, rhodium, and palladium are used. People have been stealing catalytic converters from automobiles in order to sell them for scrap metal.
While this has been occurring for years, a current increase in catalytic converter theft may be spurred by the pandemic’s economic instability. Furthermore, the lower foot traffic during this time period may make it simpler for criminals who believe they are less likely to get detected. A thief can saw the catalytic converter out of your automobile in a matter of minutes, causing thousands of dollars in damage.
What Cars Are Being Targeted for Catalytic Converter Theft?
The Toyota Prius is the most common vehicle targeted for catalytic converter theft. Prius converters include higher concentrations of the precious metals platinum, rhodium, and palladium as a low-emissions car.
From unscrupulous scrap yards, thieves may get up to $700 per converter. Unfortunately, this may result in expenses of up to $2,000 for Prius owners.
Because they are higher off the ground, trucks and SUVs are also typical targets for catalytic converter theft. This makes climbing beneath and sawing through the metal simpler. However, every vehicle on the road is susceptible to a stolen catalytic converter.
What To Do When Your Catalytic Converter Is Stolen
Step 1: Contact the Police
If you discover that your catalytic converter is missing, you should inform the authorities right once. They will examine nearby security cameras and seek to identify the individual who took your converter. A police report may also be required for your insurance coverage.
Step 2: Contact Your Insurance Company
Depending on your policy, your automobile insurance may cover the replacement of your catalytic converter. You may check with your insurance agent to see what your alternatives are and whether you are protected.
Step 3: Visit a Mechanic
Finally, take your car to a technician for servicing. An professional can talk you through your repair alternatives and save you from driving without your catalytic converter.
What Happens When You Drive Without A Catalytic Converter?
When confronted with the expense of recovering a stolen “cat,” many customers question, “Can I drive without my catalytic converter?”
Yes and no are the correct answers. An automobile can technically run without a catalytic converter. However, this is not a long-term viable strategy. Here are some of the issues you’ll encounter if you don’t have a catalytic converter.
Loud Vehicle Noises and Missing Catalytic Converter
Extremely loud car sounds are the first indication of a stolen catalytic converter. When driving without your catalytic converter, your car will sound like it is roaring, particularly when starting or giving it gas.
Rough Driving and Acceleration
As your exhaust system becomes uncontrolled, your car will drive more erratically. Normally, your engine drives exhaust via your catalytic converter. This powerful exhaust push will result in jarring, uneven acceleration if this component is not there.
Annual Vehicle Inspection Failure
You will fail both your safety inspection and your emissions inspection if you do not have your catalytic converter. While the failure to pass the emissions check may seem straightforward, you may be asking why a missing catalytic converter would lead you to fail your safety inspection.
Your yearly safety inspection includes an exhaust system examination, which looks for missing or tampered with components. This includes, among other things, your catalytic converter, muffler, exhaust pipe, PCP valve, and EGR valve.
As a result, if you do not have a catalytic converter, you will be unable to renew your car registration. About our list of everything checked during your yearly safety inspection, you can find additional information on exhaust system tests.
Harmful Car Emissions
Your catalytic converter gets its name from the fact that it transforms pollutants into less dangerous byproducts like water vapor and carbon dioxide. Your vehicle will no longer filter and reduce dangerous emissions such as hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxide if this component is missing. This is not only terrible for the ecosystem, but it may also lead to dangerously low air quality. These harmful contaminants may enter your house if you park in your garage, for example.
How To Avoid A $250 Fine
Not every driver who does not have a catalytic converter is a victim of theft. Some people prefer to remove their catalytic converters in order to increase their horsepower. If police discover that you purposefully removed your catalytic converter, you might face a $250 fine.
This does not apply to catalytic converters that have been stolen. The fine is imposed “for advising or enabling a person to tamper with a vehicle’s emission control equipment such that the device becomes inoperative or fails to function correctly.” However, if your catalytic converter was stolen and you try to prevent replacing it using workarounds, your actions may resemble those of a motorist attempting to tamper with their emissions system. This is also why it is critical to notify a stolen catalytic converter as soon as possible.
How Can You Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft?
Fortunately, there are a few precautionary actions you may take to keep your catalytic converter from being stolen.
Install a Protective Device
Theft of catalytic converters has grown so common that firms have begun to market protection devices. Nobody will be able to cut off your catalytic converter with these setups. Unfortunately, high-quality gadgets and installation will most likely set you back a few hundred dollars. It might, however, save you thousands of dollars in catalytic converter replacement.
Some contemporary automobiles include a security feature that sounds an alert when it detects vibrations. These alerts will be triggered by the sawing of your catalytic converter.
Pay Attention To Where You Park
When at home, park in the garage to help against catalytic converter theft. What happens while you’re on the go? When you don’t have a garage, here are some parking recommendations to keep in mind:
- Parking in well-lit places: Parking beneath street lights or in well-lit areas might help discourage theft.
- Highly crowded areas: If the lot or parking garage you’re in has a lot of foot activity, it will be difficult for someone to take your catalytic converter without being seen.
- Security camera: Keep an eye out for security cameras in your parking lot and attempt to choose a location where the cameras can see you.
At most, these precautions will avoid theft of your catalytic converter. Otherwise, it may aid police in apprehending the person who stole your auto components.