Do Catalytic Converter Anti-Theft Devices Really Work?

Catalytic converter theft has been rampant over the past couple of years. Many unscrupulous thieves nationwide continue to steal catalytic converters from cars in order to make big bucks from the precious metals they’re made of. However, there are a number of anti-theft devices in the market designed to keep a car’s catalytic safely intact. But do they really work?

A mechanic places a sticker on the catalytic converter of a Toyota Tacoma.
A mechanic places a sticker on the catalytic converter of a Toyota Tacoma. | AAron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images

Donut Media put a few different catalytic anti-theft devices to the test

The folks over at Donut Media aren’t ones to shy away from testing out products so that you don’t have to. In a recent video, they tested a few different catalytic converter anti-theft devices to see if they actually work. In order to adequately test the products, they first simulated stealing a catalytic converter, which took a minute and a half.

Afterward, they came up with a scoring rubric to grade each anti-theft method’s overall effectiveness. They scored each one on how much added time it would take a thief to steal the catalytic, the ease of installation, the cost, and the stealthiness of the product. Here is what they found.

The Fast Guard Catalytic Converter Alarm made a lot of noise

The Fast Guard Catalytic Converter Alarm set.
The Fast Guard Catalytic Converter Alarm set. | Fast Guard Alarm

The first product they tried was the Fast Guard Catalytic Converter alarm, which was easy to install. The alarm is strapped to a part of the exhaust pipe with two metal straps. Once installed, the car owner can activate the alarm with the remote. When a thief attempts to jack up the car, the alarm will sound off with 113 dB to scare them away.

When the guys at Donut Media tried it out, they noted that the alarm was mainly an annoyance, and it ended up stopping eventually. According to their scoring model, the Fast Guard alarm was easy to install and only cost $30, which is good. But they also said that a thief could easily cut it off, and it wasn’t loud enough to get anyone’s attention.

The Cat Clamp makes a mess out of cat converter theft

An illustration of the Cat Clamp.
An illustration of the Cat Clamp. | catclamp.com

The next product they tried was the Cat Clamp, which consists of a metal clamp at each end of the catalytic that’s strung together with a metal cable. For a thief to steal the catalytic converter with the Cat Clamp installed, they would need to see through each cable extension and then cut the clamps.

According to their testing, the Cat Clamp doubled the amount of time it would take a thief to steal the cat converter. However, it was tricky to install, costs $200, and it’s not very stealthy, which is good. After all, thieves want the least amount of attention possible when stealing a catalytic.

The Cat Strap provides sticky protection

A picture of the Cat Strap
A picture of the Cat Strap | Catstrap.net

The last product that Donut Media tested was the Cat Strap. This product is a long adhesive strap made of fiberglass and cables. The idea is that the strap will provide an extra layer of protection against a thief’s reciprocating saw since the loose cable inside the strap to cut.

In reality, the Donut Media guys were able to cut through the strap and only added around a minute and 15 seconds to the base time. That means it was pretty easy to defeat, but they gave it a pass. The Cat Strap was also easy to install, and it’s stealthy. However, it’s not cheap and costs around $200.

Ultimately, a cat shield is the best product to use

While products like the Cat Strap and the Cat Clamp are worthy products for keeping a car’s catalytic converter in place, Donut Media concluded that the ultimate product is the cat shield. Products like the Cat Security catalytic shield place a metal plate over the converter to protect it. At around $300, it was expensive. But it could take a thief to double the time to steal your car’s catalytic converter, which is a good thing.  

RELATED: 5 Ways to Prevent Thieves From Stealing Your Catalytic Converter