Protect your Catalytic Converter

Below are tips we have been providing at meetings and to neighborhoods to post in their newsletters. We are seeing a number of these thefts across the city. Honda CRVs, unfortunately, is a commonly targeted vehicle.

What’s the one thing you would expect car burglars to steal when they break into your car? The car stereo, a cell phone, or that loose change you keep in the ashtray? All of these things may be, but would you think they would steal your catalytic converter?

Catalytic converter thefts are taking place because the converters contain several types of recyclable materials that can be easily “scrapped” for a quick profit. Thefts of catalytic converters increase each time the cost of scrap metal, particularly platinum, increases.

Your vehicle’s catalytic converter is a device used to reduce the toxicity of emissions from an internal combustion engine. Catalytic converters have been required by law on every motor vehicle operated in the United States since 1975. It is attached to your exhaust system and is located underneath your car. Catalytic converters contain expensive precious metals like platinum, palladium and rhodium.

Catalytic converter thieves generally target high profile vehicles like trucks or SUV’s because the higher ground clearance allows for easier access underneath the vehicle. However, sports cars and sedans are not immune to converter theft.

So what can you do to protect your vehicle? Below are prevention tips that can reduce your risk.

Park in areas where your vehicle will most easily be seen by passers-by. For example, park under lights after dark or near windows at a business. Park near security cameras, if possible.

* Park defensively. Park high profile vehicles so they are surrounded by low ground clearance vehicles. This may deter thieves by making it harder for them to access the most vulnerable targets.

If you have a garage, park your car in it overnight instead of leaving it in the driv eway.

When parking outside, make sure that your car is in a heavily lit, well-trafficked area where it will be hard for a thief to conceal his actions or equipment.

Install a vehicle alarm system with a shock sensor

If your catalytic converter is a “bolt on” model, you can have the bolts welded shut and have extra metal welded to the exhaust system.

Install a catalytic converter protection device that will clamp around the converter.

Etch your converter with your vehicle’s license plate number in several different locations. This will help police track your property if it is stolen.