When you think of a car thief, chances are you imagine taking your entire vehicle in the process. However, a new report indicates that thieves target your catalytic converter for the precious metals it houses. As a result, you may wake up to find that a crucial component of your exhaust system is missing.
According to The New York Times, a rise in the cost of precious metals is causing a rise in catalytic converter theft across the U.S. Additionally, there is one type of car that is affected far more often than the rest.
Why do thieves want your catalytic converter?
Car thieves want your catalytic converter for one simple reason, to make money. The New York Times reports that the previous metals housed in these exhaust components could lead to a massive payday.
These include palladium and rhodium. The New York Times report that an ounce of palladium used to cost around $500 five years ago. However, last year, the price for an ounce topped out at $2,875. Rhodium, on the other hand, traded at $640 an ounce five years ago. In contrast, prices have gone up to $21,900 per ounce this year.
The problem with your car’s catalytic converter is that it can be easily and quickly sawed off and stolen. The car’s owner will quickly realize something is wrong next time they start up their vehicle and hear their car scream since the exhaust is flowing freely. The New York Times reports that thieves take these catalytic converters to junkyards to exchange for cash. From there, they get sent out to recyclers, which can extract the precious metals.
Is my car in danger?
According to The New York Times, cases involving catalytic converter theft have risen drastically across the U.S. as we head into 2021. In St. Louis, for example, cases increased more than eightfold from 50 in 2019 to 420 in 2020. As a result, you’ll want to protect your car.
If you drive a hybrid car such as a Toyota Prius, you should be extra cautious. In a normal vehicle, the catalytic converter wears out over time. However, since a hybrid vehicle relies on electric power as well, its exhaust components generally see less wear and tear than normal vehicles. As a result, thieves target these cars specifically to maximize their profits.
There are a few ways you can protect your catalytic converter. For starters, Allstate recommends installing an alarm that can sense vibrations. This way, as thieves attempt to mess with your car, the alarm will go off. Additionally, parking your vehicle in crowded areas will also deter potential thieves. You can even engrave your VIN onto the converter itself. This way, the scrapyard can easily tell if the part they are buying is stolen.
What does this crucial component do?
Aside from housing precious metals, your catalytic converter has one central goal, to reduce emissions. In short, Let’s Talk Science reports that the precious metals housed inside the chamber help reduce hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. Additionally, this process also greatly reduces airflow and noise levels. This is why many enthusiasts remove their car’s catalytic converters to boost power and noise levels.