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4 ways to Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft – Ways to Stop Catalytic Converter theft

Blog_Cars_4 ways to Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft - Ways to Stop Catalytic Converter theft

Don’t let this happen to you once, twice or more.  Catalytic converter theft has been happening a lot because they are easy to steal and criminals can sell them for a nice profit.  Know that whether a catalytic converter theft has already happened to you or not, it can happen for the first time and again within a short period, as some victims have experienced.  Our neighbour had it happen to her twice within 1 month.  If you own a vehicle with a catalytic converter, also known as a CAT, you might want to consider taking several steps to protect yourself, a friend or family member.

Frakking Creations.  Showing you the good stuff on 4 ways to protect your catalytic converter from theft.

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Background on CAT thefts

We had our catalytic converter stolen while our SUV was parked in our apartments underground parking.  You would think parking in one would be safe enough to prevent these kinds of thefts but the reality is that theft is a crime of opportunity.  In this case, being underground, secluded and accessible makes it a great place for theft to occur.  The thieves were able to get in even though it is a secured parking lot.

Parking lots are great for thieves because there are a lot of unattended vehicles in one location making it easy to target multiple vehicles in one swoop.  Unless you park your vehicle in secured locations 100% of the time, you are vulnerable too.  Thieves are stealing CATs at parking lots of malls, movie theaters, grocery stores, apartments, home driveways and much more and in broad daylight.

Catalytic converters are often located on the underside of a vehicle where they are easily accessed.  Here are some pictures of what they look like.  They are used in combustion engine vehicles to reduce the pollution emitted out the exhaust.  They contain small amounts of precious metals like Rhodium, Platinum and Palladium, which can command high prices that are higher than gold, as can be seen in this table.

Metal Price / oz.

  • Gold $1,781.20
  • Platinum $949.00
  • Palladium $1,911.00
  • Rhodium $14,750.00

Source: Kitco 12/6/2021

Vehicles like SUVs, trucks, buses and vans are common targets due to their elevated height.  Thieves often don’t need to bring a jack and can easily slide underneath to cut out the CAT in a few minutes.  But, don’t assume that you are safe just because you have a car.  Thieves can just as easily bring a jack to jack up your car to steal the CAT.

So what can you do to prevent theft?  

You can, however, lessen your risk by using multiple layers of security.  Making it more difficult and time consuming for thieves will hopefully cause them to move on to target the next vehicle and not yours.  Here are the 4 ways you can protect your catalytic converter.

4 ways to protect your catalytic converter

#1 Paint and Etch

The first thing you can do is to spray paint your catalytic converter with bright color, high temperature paint and engrave it with your license plate number or VIN number.  According to police, this is supposed to indicate to scrapyards and any recycler that the catalytic converter is stolen.  Though, it is still possible that a scrapyard may buy a stolen and painted CAT, it may help make it harder for the thieves to sell.  Also, removing all the paint will take time and effort, which thieves may not have.  If your engraved and painted CAT is recovered it can be traced back to you and help in prosecuting the thieves if they are caught in possession of stolen property.

Look for our DIY video on how to paint and engrave your CAT if you want to do this yourself.  Alternatively, you could also look for auto body shops that offer these services.  In some cases like Midas, or some police stations, they offer a free engraving service.

#2 Custom solution

The second thing you can do is check with your local muffler shop to see if they offer a solution.  In some cases, they can weld the CAT to the vehicle, such as welding additional steel bars around and on the CAT.  This will help make it harder to cut through the exhaust piping to steal your CAT.  Alternatively, they also can fabricate a cage or plate to cover the CAT.  Prices and solutions will vary so call around to find out.

If you are handy, you also have an option to do this yourself.  Fabricate a cage or skid plate to cover the CAT using sheet metal or steel expanded metal sheets.  Alternatively, you could use multiple clamps and steel cables like these to run the entire length of the exhaust pipe and to wrap around the CAT.  These cables give saws a hard time, making it hard to cut through.

#3 Ready made solution

The third thing you can do is to look for aftermarket security devices to protect your CAT.  There are ones you can install yourself and others that are installed for you.  There are many solutions available to choose from so pick one that is suitable for your make and model of vehicle.  There are generic ones that attach to the CAT and the exhaust pipe of most vehicles.  These ones have an alarm that goes off if the strap is cut.

There are also ones that clamp the CAT to the vehicle and others that use cages or skid plates that cover the whole CAT.  The cage and skid plate type of CAT security are the most effective solutions as they block off access to the CAT.  If you are lucky, your vehicle will have a ready-made skid plate solution available for it already.  

#4 Alarm, Dashcam, Security camera

The fourth thing you can do is to have an aftermarket alarm, dashcam and home security camera.  Though these don’t prevent the theft, they can alert you to the theft or provide evidence that could lead to the arrest of the thieves.

For dashcams, you will need one that is powered on even after the vehicle is turned off.  There are some models that do this and have battery pack add-ons, park mode with motion detection and even cloud storage and smartphone integration with notifications.  Make sure if you get a dashcam for this purpose, that it has these features.

As for car alarms, just be aware that even if you have a car alarm with tilt or motion sensors, they may not be sensitive enough to trigger when a CAT theft is attempted.  On the other hand, setting it to be too sensitive can lead to a lot of false alarms.  Make sure to consider this when getting a car alarm.

Though, alarms and dashcams with these features are expensive, they are also good for other purposes like deterring car theft, wheel theft, insurance fraud and also auto accident footage, so they may be worth the investment in more ways than one.

If you park outside your home, a security camera that can capture video day and night with motion detection, recording, notifications and remote access would be necessary.  There are many to choose from so get one that suits your needs.

There you have it.  Four things you can do to prevent CAT theft from happening to you.  Are there other methods not mentioned in our video?  Comment to let us know.

Stay safe out there and always use multiple layers of security to protect yourself.

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