Your catalytic converter is basically what transforms those harmful pollutants coming out of your exhaust into less harmful ones. In other words, it’s an important part of your engine. The metals that make up this converter have increasingly become a target for auto thieves. Unfortunately, it’s become quite the issue throughout the pandemic. With people no longer commuting to work and instead of working from home, cars have been sitting on the streets waiting for their next predator. Let’s discuss the ways in which you can prevent catalytic converter theft.
Preventing Catalytic Converter Theft
Solving the problem
One of the main reasons this has become a popular car part for thieves is how simple and fast it is to remove and take. A jack and an angle grinder are all a thief needs in order to have a new converter in minutes. The simplicity of it and the value of the metals within it make for the perfect equation. According to Heycar, Toyota is one of the only manufacturers addressing the catalytic converter theft problem. The company stated, “We’re doing all we can. We’ve shared police guidance with customers, and we have developed and reduced the price of a ‘Catloc’ device which can deter theft and make it more difficult. Toyota teams in the UK and other countries are urgently exploring new technical possibilities to deter criminals as well.”
Toyota is working with both the police and the government to change the standards around scrap metal sales. Addressing the root of the problem (making it more difficult to sell) may have a significant effect on thefts. However, there is more that can always be done. Spreading awareness and reporting it to authorities as soon as possible should also move things in the right direction. In general, newer cars are targeted less as they don’t contain as many of these metals that thieves are searching for. Now let’s jump into what you can do today to keep the thieves away.
What can we do to prevent it?
1. Park for prevention
How and where you park matters here. Do you have access to a safe garage? This will obviously be the best-case scenario. If not, you can try to park up against a wall or create some sort of barrier to prevent easy access. In order to steal a catalytic converter, thieves need to get down under your car to cut it out. Taking away this access may be enough to have them moving along.
2. Serial number
Does your converter have a serial number on it? If not, you can always get it engraved. AAA Texas states, “That may alert a scrap dealer that it was stolen and may make it easier to find the owner,” Zuber said. Not only that, it may prevent them from even stealing it in the first place.
3. Weld it to the frame
With thieves having the ability to steal a converter within a matter of minutes, welding it to the frame may make it difficult enough for them to give up on taking it altogether.
4. Security cameras and alarm capabilities
If you keep your car parked in your driveway, installing security cameras or motion sensor lights outside your home may be an excellent option. You can also install an alarm that will activate if someone tries to jack up the car on one side. These options will not only prevent catalytic converter theft but are generally going to prevent and protect against theft of any kind.
5. Park near other vehicles and in well-lit areas
Keeping your car parked up against another car may deter a thief in and of itself. If they can’t shimmy on under it, well, there’s really no way around that. Additionally, keeping it under a street light or in well-lit areas with frequent pedestrians is always a smart choice. Auto thieves seek out the dark and isolated cars.
Awareness and Prevention are Key
Spreading awareness that this has in fact become a problem is one of the first steps in mitigating it. Toyota, in particular, has done an excellent job in starting the conversation. Where and how you park matters. Marking it will make it more identifiable. Welding it may make it impossible to cut out. Finally, installing security measures is always wise. Follow these prevention tips and you should have more peace of mind when it comes to your precious converter.
Additional Reading: There’s Big Money In Stolen Catalytic Converters
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