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Catalytic converter thefts have been on the rise in the last few years. This critical piece of technology helps make cars, trucks, and SUVs give off less toxic fumes. According to CarFax, the 1985-2021 Ford F-Series pickup trucks, including the F-150, F-250, and other Ford trucks, are the most targeted for this theft.

Ford F-Series pickup trucks are targeted for catalytic converter thefts

The Ford F-Series pickup trucks is a frequent target of catalytic converter thefts
A Ford F-Series pickup truck driving along a road in Miami, Florida | Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) is an organization dedicated to fighting insurance fraud and crime. In this instance, CarFax and the NICB tracked thefts reported to insurance companies, such as the theft of a catalytic converter. The NICB says the number of theft reports increased 977%, from 1,300 in 2018 to more than 14,000 reported in 2020. By the time 2021 rolled around, more than 52,000 thefts were reported. That’s an increase of 1,215% from 2019, CarMax says.

The main reason for this is the increased price of precious metals found in the catalytic converter. The most targeted vehicle is the 1985-2021 Ford F-Series pickup trucks like the F-150, F-250, and F-350. That wasn’t the only Ford on the list, either. The 1990-2022 Ford Econoline vans were also targeted by thieves.

The Ford F-Series and Econoline van were big on the country’s West coast but not as popular as the Toyota Prius. Oddly enough, the F-Series truck was the most targeted vehicle in the Northeast, South, and Midwest. It is easier for thieves to get up and under the Ford F-150 to steal the catalytic converter.

This catalytic converter theft could total it depending on how old your car, truck, or sport utility vehicle is. If you don’t have the proper insurance or any insurance, you have to pay out of pocket for a new one. That can be costly and a considerable inconvenience.

“There is a clear connection between times of crisis, limited resources, and disruption of the supply chain that drives these thefts.”

National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB)

A hybrid, such as the Toyota Prius, has an even more valuable catalytic converter. A regular one out of the Ford F-Series pickup truck would go for $25 to $300. A catalytic converter from a hybrid can sell for up to $1,400. These need more of the precious metals that are so valuable.

There isn’t much you can do to protect your vehicle


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Other targeted cars include the 1989-2020 Honda Accord and the 1999-2021 Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks. The 2005-21 Chevrolet Equinox, 1997-2020 Honda CR-V, and 1987-2019 Toyota Camry are also popular targets. There isn’t that much you can do if someone wants to steal your catalytic converter.

CarMax suggests parking in well-lit areas or a garage if possible. A motion-sensor light on the outside of a house might deter some thieves, but not everyone. You can also have your VIN etched into the catalytic converter if you want to. It makes it easier to track if it ever does go missing.