The Toyota Prius is a Favorite Among Catalytic Converter Thieves

The Toyota Prius is a popular car for drivers and apparently thieves. These thieves aren’t after the entire Toyota car but just the catalytic converter. Due to a lack of mining production in recent years, there is a high value placed on this part.

Thieves love this generation of the Toyota Prius for its catalytic converter

The Toyota Prius is a favorite among catalytic converter thieves
The Toyota Prius is a favorite among catalytic converter thieves | Junko Kimura/Getty Images

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), a second-generation Toyota Prius is 40 times more likely to be subject to theft than a regular vehicle. This data comes from a recent report from the Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI). And it isn’t that people are going around stealing an entire Toyota Prius either. This theft is specific to the catalytic converter. The catalytic converter of the hybrid Toyota Prius has more precious metals that make it more valuable.

“Car thieves know their market. The demand is high for catalytic converters, and they seem to know which ones command the highest prices.”

Matt Moore | Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI)

The HLDI report says that the claim frequency for such thefts on the 2004 to 2009 Toyota Prius was “58.1 claims for 1,000 insured claim vehicle years.” That is up from 1.4 claims in 2016. The average price for those claims came out to be $137. In 2016, that average was only $3. That’s quite a jump in just a few years.

The 2004 to 2009 Toyota Prius is the main target

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HLDI said that there seems to be a preference for the Toyota Prius over most other vehicles from that time. Thefts of other 2004 to 2009 vehicles did not change much during the time between 2016 and 2020. HLDI says that the average price for such claims was $7.

The specific catalytic converter that the second-generation Toyota Prius 1.5 uses is the GD3+EA6. The average price for this part is $1,022, according to the marketplace website AutoCatalystMarket.com. The third-generation Prius uses the GP1+TB1 converter with a going rate of $548. For comparison’s sake, a converter used in a Chevrolet Impala and Pontiac Grand Am from 1999 through 2006 is valued at $269. The converter on a 2007 Ford F-150 FX4 is $143.

Though the HLDI database doesn’t recognize specific components for each claim, the value lines up with the price of replacing the catalytic converter and exhaust system. That was for the years 2019 and 2020. For the years 2016 and 2017, most of the claims were either $500 or between $1,500 and $2,500.

Keep an eye on your catalytic converter!

It seems that this specific generation of Toyota Prius is the preferred one. The newer version from 2010 through 2015 did not have the same theft frequency. It was only about 1.3 claims per 1,000 vehicles. That was up from 0.8 in 2016. The losses for 2020 were only priced at $5 for the 2010 to 2015 models. That was up from only $3 in 2016.

A catalytic converter doesn’t have any identification number, such as the vehicle identification number assigned to a car. Due to this, it isn’t quite as easy to identify a stolen catalytic converter. The pandemic seems to have thrown the market into a tailspin due to lower mining production. If you own one of these specific Toyota Prius vehicles, keep a close eye on it.

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