Which Cars Are Most Likely To Have Catalytic Converter Stolen?

Which cars are most likely to have catalytic converter stolen?’ If you’re asking this question, you might be wondering if your car is at risk of losing its cat converter and how you can protect it.

Catalytic Converter Stolen ~ Ran When Parked

People steal catalytic converters due to the rare and valuable precious metals, making car owners cautious. In this guide, we take a closer look at the cars that are most likely to lose their cat converter.

Which Cars Are Most Likely To Have Their Catalytic Converters Stolen?

The cars that are most likely to have their catalytic converters stolen are the Ford F-Series trucks, including the F-150, F-250, and F-350. Other options include the Prius, Explorer, Accord, CR-V, Econoline E-150, Chevy Silverado, Equinox and Cruze, and Tacoma.

Theft of cat converters has proven itself to be a quick and lucrative way for criminals to make money. You are only protected if you have an EV, a hydrogen car, or you don’t own a car. While there is a wide range of cars targeted by thieves, here are the top 10 options.

Ford F-Series Trucks

The Ford F-150 truck has remained the best-selling truck in the United States for over four decades, and so there is always a need for parts. Other trucks in the F-Series are also popular, increasing the demand for parts like the converter. Since it’s easy to get under the truck without a jack, this makes the F-Series a popular target for theft.

Toyota Prius

Another car that all the criminals have their eyes on is the Toyota Prius. The Prius hybrid models are highly targeted because the cat converters are in good condition.

Luxury Toyota Prius ~ Ran When Parked

Since the car is a hybrid, the converters only work when the vehicle is not in electric drive mode, putting less pressure on it.

Ford Explorer

The Explorer is not only popular but designed for off-roading, which means it has a high ground clearance. It’s easy for anyone to slip under the car and remove your cat converter. Plus, replacing the part would cost up to $1000, which means the more you want to prevent spending this amount, the more the thieves would be interested.

Honda Accord

The Honda Accord is a widely driven full-sized sedan in the United States, making the parts have high demand. It is pretty easy for thieves to steal parts and get quick profit in the second-hand market. Also, the Accord cat converter costs up to $2,000, so it would be a headache if it gets stolen.

Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V is a hybrid truck, which makes it popular among cat converter thieves.

Honda CR V on Road ~ Ran When Parked

The truck has high clearance that makes it vulnerable like every other SUV or truck, and the hybrid design keeps the converters in better condition than your average car.

Ford Econoline E-150

If you own the E-150 van, you might be worried about the cat converter getting stolen. Since thieves can remove this part from a regular coupe in a few minutes, a high-clearance vehicle like a van would be even easier and faster. If you park your van on public streets, you should be worried about theft.

Chevrolet Silverado

Another popular American truck is the Silverado, which has a valuable cat converter and high clearance that offers access to thieves. Replacing the converter costs about $2,000, and this does not include the labor costs. Also, the converters are larger, which increases the number of precious metals.

Chevrolet Cruze

Since the Cruze is no longer part of the Chevy lineup, its parts would be rare, which makes the cat converter even more expensive. But this part is directly connected to the exhaust manifold, so it would be hard to get it.

Chevrolet Cruze Car ~ Ran When Parked

If they do get it, you should be prepared for expensive replacement costs.

Chevrolet Equinox

The Chevy Equinox is an SUV that offers high clearance, making it a high target. The cat converter costs about $800, which makes thieves target it. But the electric version is coming out soon, so owners of the EV won’t have to worry about theft.

Toyota Tacoma

Any car with high clearance would be targeted by catalytic converter thieves. Combining the fact that the Tacoma is among the best-selling trucks in the US, their parts would be in higher demand. The converter is also larger on this truck, making it more valuable. If you own this pickup truck, you would spend up to $1,000 on the converter.

What Makes Your Car More Likely For Catalytic Converter Theft?

Your car is more likely for catalytic converter theft if it is an SUV or truck, a hybrid car, or you park in the same place every day. Pickup trucks and SUVs have larger catalytic converters to match their engines before they can pass the emission standards.

SUVs and trucks have a higher height, too, which increases their clearance. This makes the cat converter easier to reach in a few minutes. Also, most hybrid car owners have reported theft of their cat converter. Since a hybrid car combines electric motors with a standard engine, it does not use the cat converter in electric mode.

Catalytic Converter Theft ~ Ran When Parked

So, the cat converter on a hybrid car would be of better quality than that of a standard car. Furthermore, the cats in hybrid cars have a higher concentration of palladium, which makes it more valuable.

Scheduled parking would make your car more likely to have a cat converter. If you park in the same place during the same hours for school, work, or in your neighborhood, it makes you vulnerable to crooks scouting the area. This is especially true if you have the same routine and your car has a high-value converter.

How Can You Prevent Cat Converter Theft?

You can prevent cat converter theft by parking in well-lit, high-visibility areas, making your cat converter hard to sell by engraving your VIN or painting it, and using a cat converter shield device, motion sensors, or any other anti-theft system.

Since catalytic converters cost about $1,000 and more, it’s a good idea to invest in anti-theft devices. You can consider installing a cat converter shield device, but ensure you do proper research before choosing one. If you’re parking in your driveway and not a garage, you can add motion sensor security lights or CCTV systems.

Prevent Cat Converter Theft ~ Ran When Parked

Where you park can affect the safety of your vehicle’s parts. Ensure you have parked in a well-lit area when you go to school or work, and when home, park in your garage if you have one. Check the area where you park your car and consider mixing it up daily.

You can also discourage thieves by making your cat converter hard to sell. For instance, if you paint it with a bright color, the thieves would have to repaint it before selling, which would discourage them.

You can also engrave your license plate number or VIN into the converter at an exhaust shop. Some cities offer this service for free due to the high rate of theft.

What Are The Signs Of a Missing Catalytic Converter?

The signs of a missing catalytic converter include loud noise, darker or smellier exhaust, the under of your vehicle looking damaged, sluggish or sputtering acceleration, and the Check Engine Light coming on. If you notice something is wrong with your exhaust, check if the converter is still there.

If the cat converter has been stolen, it would be easy to realize this. The converter is located between the muffler and the car engine, so if it is removed, the exhaust won’t pass through the muffler. This would make your car engine sound surprisingly loud and noisy. The sound would be louder when you hit the gas.

Missing Catalytic Converter ~ Ran When Parked

You might also smell the exhaust smoke while inside your vehicle, which can be deadly. It would mostly be carbon monoxide getting into the cabin from under your car. You can also simply look under your car for any damage.

If you realize that the converter has been removed, you should contact a mechanic immediately. The exhaust would have been cut to remove the cat converter, increasing the repair and replacement costs. Avoid driving your car because it can eventually cause damage to your car’s exhaust system.

What Should You Do If Your Catalytic Converter Has Been Stolen?

If your catalytic converter has been stolen, the first thing you should do is contact the police. The police should know about the theft quickly so they can work on finding the thieves, although the chances of this happening are slim.

You should also check your car insurance policy or contact insurance companies. If the theft is covered, you won’t have to spend a lot of money on replacing the part. Most liability insurance coverage doesn’t cover theft of cat converters.

If the theft is covered by your auto insurance, you can follow the steps given by your provider to replace it. But if it isn’t, contact your mechanic to get it replaced. It is not ideal to drive your car with a damaged cat converter.

Depending on the make and model of your car, it can cost from $800 to over $2000. You also have to consider the labor costs.

There have also been some efforts by the government to reduce the stolen catalytic converters. For instance, new cars are required in many states to have the VIN stamped onto the converter.

This allows the police to return it to the rightful owner if found. Also, anyone selling a cat converter to a scrap dealer should show identification and proof of ownership.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which State Has The Highest Catalytic Converter Theft?

California has the highest catalytic converter thefts in the United States. The state recorded 10,577 claims of thefts in 2022. This is way higher than the next state, which is Texas, with 5,867 recorded claims. Other states include Illinois, Washington, and Minnesota.

What Cars Are Hard to Steal a Catalytic Converter From?

Cars that are hard to steal a catalytic converter from include Volkswagen, Audi, BMW, and some Honda models.

Catalytic Converter in Car ~ Ran When Parked

These cars have the converter located close to the engine instead of at the end of the exhaust system. This makes it harder to reach and steal.

What Vehicle Has The Most Valuable Catalytic Converter?

The Ferrari F430 is the vehicle that has the most valuable catalytic converters. The converter on this model is $3,770 for one, and it requires two of them. That means that you would spend about $7,540 to purchase the cat converters, not counting the labor costs.

Will a Car Alarm Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft?

A car alarm can prevent catalytic converter theft, but it does not provide a guarantee. A car alarm might blare if a thief touches the exhaust system, but it depends on the model of your car. It’s best to install a cat converter shield device to prevent theft.

Conclusion

Now that we’ve answered the question, ‘Which cars are most likely to have catalytic converter stolen?’ you know how to protect your car. Here’s a rundown of our article:

  • Cars that are most likely to have a cat converter are F-Series, Accord, Prius, Explorer, and Chevy trucks.
  • Cars that are more likely to lose their cat converter are SUVs, trucks, hybrid cars, and scheduled parking.
  • You can prevent the cat converter from getting stolen by installing an anti-theft system or cat converter shield device and parking properly.
  • The missing converter would cause your car to sputter and sound loud when driving, dark and smelly exhaust, and damage under the car.
  • If your cat converter is stolen, you should contact the police and your insurance company before going to the mechanic.

With our detailed guide, you know how much it costs to replace your cat converter and how to stop it from getting stolen.

References 

https://www.uti.edu/blog/automotive/catalytic-converter

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