What Cars Have Catalytic Converters?

Here at Chapel Hill Tire, we work to keep our customers up-to-date on automotive industry insights. While some weeks we get to share uplifting information, this week we are here to discuss a more serious problem facing drivers: catalytic converter theft. Here is everything you need to know about this issue and what you can do to stay protected.

While this has been happening for years, a recent uptick in catalytic converter theft may be motivated by economic turbulence from the pandemic. Additionally, the reduced foot traffic during this time may make it easier for thieves who feel less likely to be caught.

It takes just a few minutes for a thief to saw the catalytic converter out of your car and leave you with thousands of dollars in damage. As a low-emissions vehicle, Prius converters contain larger amounts of the precious metals platinum, rhodium, and palladium. They will check local security cameras and work to see if they can help catch the person who stole your converter.

When facing the recovery costs of a stolen cat, many customers wonder, Can I drive without my catalytic converter? You will find that when driving without your catalytic converter, it will sound like your vehicle is roaringespecially when starting or giving it gas. Without this component in place, this forceful exhaust push will lead to jarring, uneven acceleration.

Without this component, your vehicle will no longer be filtering and reducing harmful emissions, including hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxide. If authorities find that you removed your catalytic converter on purpose, it can lead to a hefty fine of $250 . The fine is delivered for instructing or allowing a person to tamper with an emission control device of the vehicle so as to make the device inoperative or fail to work properly. However, if your catalytic converter was, in fact, stolen but you try to avoid replacement with workarounds, your efforts might resemble the efforts of a driver trying to tamper with their emissions system.

Catalytic converter theft has become so prominent that companies have started to sell protective devices.

Do all cars have catalytic converters?

A catalytic converter, a part of every car’s exhaust system since 1993, receives pollutants from the car’s engine, and breaks them down to their molecular level components so they can then be released back into the environment, in a far cleaner form than what is created when your engine produces power from gasoline or …

What type of vehicle has a catalytic converter?

Catalytic converters – which are fitted to all petrol cars manufactured from 1993 – are there to reduce the harmful pollutants emitted from vehicle exhaust pipes. They do this by taking the gases produced and converting them into water vapour and less harmful emissions via a series of chemical reactions.

What cars do they steal catalytic converters from?

“We have listed in order the vehicles that have had the most thefts, Toyota Prius, SUV’s of all makes, pickup trucks of all makes, van’s (mostly Honda), passenger cars (mostly Honda), 2 U-Haul trucks and one box-style truck.” It should be noted that the Toyota Prius leads the nation in catalytic converter thefts.

What vehicles have the most valuable catalytic converters?

Which Catalytic Converters Are The Most Expensive? According to data from 2020, the most expensive catalytic converter belonged to the Ferrari F430, with a mind-popping $3,770.00 price tag. Moreover, the F430 needed two of them, so a full replacement would run car owners $7,540 before labor costs.

Mike Beglin with Sals Automotive once told KHOU 11 that converter thefts are rising because thieves are after small amounts of metal inside the converters which can sell for hundreds of dollars.

Park in well-lighted areas Park in your garage Etch your VIN or license plate into your converters Use bright high-temp paint (lets police know converter has been marked) Install a skid plate or large cover to the bottom of your vehicle Upgrade car alarms to activate when the vehicle is jacked up on one side Aftermarket products like straps or wire cages make it much more difficult for your converter to be cut off Not in residential neighborhoods, but in shopping centers and commercial parking lots during lunch hour.

Ive never seen it at the levels it is today,” said Dennis Laviage, owner of C&D Scrap Metal. Laviage has been in the industry for 52 years and said the specific metals in catalytic converters right now are going for top dollar. He told KHOU 11 that he’s strict about who he buys from and requires fingerprints, pictures and documents to be signed.

In order to sell a catalytic converter to us here, you must have a receipt that you just bought a new one or you are an automotive shop,” he said.

Catalytic converters are notorious for one thing and one thing only: theyre very expensive to replace. In fact, the catalytic converter is the single most expensive part of most vehicles. So, just how expensive are they, you ask? Heres a quick overview of which cars have the most costly catalytic converters.

According to data from 2020, the most expensive catalytic converter belonged to the Ferrari F430, with a mind-popping $3,770.00 price tag. The car with the second (or third) priciest catalytic converter is not as exotic as Lamborghini or Ferrari but boasts a very well-respected vehicle line.

The fourth most-expensive, the Ford F-250 , will run drivers $2,804, representing a significant price drop from the top three. The average catalytic converter ranges between $800 and $1,200, depending on the vehicles make and model. Other exhaust parts and labor charges can add to the total cost of repair if you have a busted converter.

When we think of thieves targeting vehicles, we usually think of them targeting high-value, high end luxury cars and SUVs that they can chop up or flip.

It turns out that there are some pretty precious materials inside of catalytic converters that are causing car thieves to go crazy for these components. Criminals arent just dropping to their knees, sliding underneath any old vehicle, and popping the catalytic converter off before escaping into the night, either.

They are looking for these vehicles because of how easy it is to separate the catalytic converter in record time so that they can (from their perspective, anyway) escape scot-free. Heres a quick breakdown of the most common vehicles targeted for catalytic converter theft today. The Toyota Prius is the most heavily targeted vehicle for catalytic converter theft in the United States today.

There are a couple of reasons that thieves really like this vehicle, but the biggest one is the fact that this hybrid is so popular and that there are so many of them on the open road. This gives thieves a lot of familiarity with the exhaust system, allows them to quickly break down the project, and if they have enough practice they can get in and out with minimal time wasted and with next to no extra tools. But theres another thing that makes this Toyota vehicle such a juicy target for these criminals, and thats how environmentally friendly it is!

Because the catalytic converter doesnt work as hard it stays in top condition longer, and that means there are more precious metals contained within the system (even if the Toyota is a little on the older side of things). These vehicles are targeted because they have fantastic fuel economy (to protect the catalytic converter compared to other options) and because they sit higher off the ground. After all, Lexus vehicles are really nothing more than luxury versions of the parent company Toyota options rolling off of the assembly line.

All of the Lexus SUV lineup vehicles have bright red bulls-eyes on their exhaust system. Thieves love to crack them open and steal the cat con whenever they have a chance to. For example, Honda cars (like the Element and Accord) have much better fuel efficiency than comparable vehicles from Chevy and Ford.

If you can get a truck or SUV fresh off of the assembly line (or close to it) its going to retain a lot of the precious metals within. That means that a thief can get as much as $500 for a stump of a catalytic converter with very few questions asked at the right scrap shop. Well, if you have a look right now youll see that rhodium alone (just one of the precious metals inside of a catalytic converter) currently has a value that is 10 times gold.

Any thief looking to make a buck (or two) with a little bit of mechanical inclination isnt going to be shy about swiping as many catalytic converters as they can to cash in on this crazy market. For starters, its important to park in a secure place whenever your vehicle is going to be left unattended for extended amounts of time. If thats not possible, make sure that the area is well lit and close to your home or other people to scare away potential thieves.

Its not a bad idea to park higher riding vehicles (like trucks and SUVs) in positions that limit access to their undercarriage as much as possible. Finally, its not a bad idea to etch something that identifies your catalytic converter as your own directly onto the metal itself.

Why Are Catalytic Converters Being Stolen?

Your catalytic converter is an essential part of your vehicle, designed to reduce the pollutants and toxic gas your emissions system produces. It uses precious metals like platinum, rhodium, and palladium to complete this process. People have been stealing catalytic converters off of cars to sell these metals for scraps.While this has been happening for years, a recent uptick in catalytic converter theft may be motivated by economic turbulence from the pandemic. Additionally, the reduced foot traffic during this time may make it easier for thieves who feel less likely to be caught. It takes just a few minutes for a thief to saw the catalytic converter out of your car and leave you with thousands of dollars in damage.

Step 1: Contact the Authorities

If you find your catalytic converter is missing, you should immediately contact the authorities. They will check local security cameras and work to see if they can help catch the person who stole your converter. Additionally, a police report may be essential to your insurance coverage.

Step 2: Contact Your Insurance Company

Depending on your coverage, your car insurance may cover your catalytic converter replacement. You can contact your insurance agent to see what your options are and whether or not you are covered.

Step 3: Visit a Mechanic

Finally, you should bring your vehicle to a mechanic for service. An expert can discuss your repair options with you and prevent you from driving without your catalytic converter.

Loud Vehicle Noises and Missing Catalytic Converter

The first sign of a stolen catalytic converter is incredibly loud vehicle noises. You will find that when driving without your catalytic converter, it will sound like your vehicle is roaring—especially when starting or giving it gas.

Rough Driving and Acceleration

As your exhaust goes unregulated, your vehicle will drive more roughly. Your engine usually forces your exhaust through your catalytic converter. Without this component in place, this forceful exhaust push will lead to jarring, uneven acceleration.

Annual Vehicle Inspection Failure

Without your catalytic converter, you will fail both your NC safety inspection and your NC emissions inspection. While the emissions inspection failure may seem obvious, you might be wondering why a missing catalytic converter would cause you to fail your safety inspection.Your annual safety inspection includes an exhaust system check, which checks specifically for removed and tampered components. This includes your catalytic converter, as well as your muffler, exhaust pipe, PCP valve, and EGR valve, among others.As such, you will be unable to renew your vehicle registration without a catalytic converter. You can find more information on exhaust system checks here on our list of everything checked during your annual safety inspection.

Harmful Car Emissions

Your catalytic converter is named as such because it converts toxins into less harmful byproducts, such as water vapor and carbon dioxide. Without this component, your vehicle will no longer be filtering and reducing harmful emissions, including hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxide. Not only is this bad for the environment, but it can also lead to harmfully poor air quality. When you park in your garage, for example, these toxic pollutants can find their way into your home.

Avoiding a $250 Fine

Not everyone who drives without a catalytic converter is the victim of theft. Some individuals choose to remove their catalytic converters to boost their horsepower. If authorities find that you removed your catalytic converter on purpose, it can lead to a hefty fine of $250.This does not apply to stolen catalytic converters. The fine is delivered “for

How Can You Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft?

Thankfully, there are a few preventative measures you can take to deter the theft of your catalytic converter.

Install a Protective Device

Catalytic converter theft has become so prominent that companies have started to sell protective devices. These installations make it impossible for anyone to cut off your catalytic converter. Unfortunately, high-quality devices and their installation will likely run you a few hundred bucks. However, it could save you thousands of dollars on catalytic converter replacement.You can learn a little more about Cat Security—one of these protective devices—in this video from our experts, and see the final installation here.

Vibration-Triggered Alarms

Some newer vehicles have a security setting that triggers the alarm when it senses vibrations. The sawing of your catalytic converter will be enough to set off these alarms.

Toyota

There are a couple of reasons that thieves really like this vehicle, but the biggest one is the fact that this hybrid is so popular and that there are so many of them on the open road.This gives thieves a lot of familiarity with the exhaust system, allows them to quickly break down the project, and if they have enough practice they can get in and out with minimal time wasted and with next to no extra tools.It turns out that because the gasoline engine in this hybrid doesn’t run as often as a full gasoline vehicle engine would the catalytic converter sees a lot less damage.Because the catalytic converter doesn’t work as hard it stays in top condition longer, and that means there are more precious metals contained within the system (even if the Toyota is a little on the older side of things).There are other Toyota vehicles that criminals like to attack to separate their catalytic converter, too.These vehicles are targeted because they have fantastic fuel economy (to protect the catalytic converter compared to other options) and because they sit higher off the ground.That makes it easier for thieves to get under the vehicle, to steal the catalytic converter, and to get out quickly.

Lexus

It should come as no surprise to anyone that Lexus vehicles are popular targets, too.After all,All of the Lexus SUV lineup vehicles have bright red bull’s-eyes on their exhaust system. Thieves love to crack them open and steal the cat con whenever they have a chance to.

Honda

Researchers once again believe this has to do with the overall fuel economy and fuel efficiency of Honda vehicles.Just like Toyota, these vehicles have a reputation for not being gas guzzlers and being a lot more friendly to the environment.For example, Honda cars (like the Element and Accord) have much better fuel efficiency than comparable vehicles from Chevy and Ford.That means that Honda vehicles just as old as Chevy and Ford vehicles are going to have cat converters in better shape (and with more precious metals), on average.

Thieves Prefer Late Model Trucks and SUVs

At the end of the day, though, because these crimes are crimes of opportunity thieves are generally willing to swipe a catalytic converter from any late-model truck or SUV they come across.If you can get a truck or SUV fresh off of the assembly line (or close to it) it’s going to retain a lot of the precious metals within.The reason they go after trucks and SUVs is something we touched on just a moment ago, too.The extra height of these vehicles allows them to work underneath the car without having to fiddle around with jacks, sliders, or a lot of extra tools.They are able to get in and out while avoiding detection most of the time.

Why Are Catalytic Converters Stolen So Often?

Truth be told, the reason that catalytic converters are stolen so often – and why they are being stolen more now than ever before – is because they are so valuable.Yes, you are reading that correctly.To do that, though, these components need to be filled with very specific materials that can convert harmful gases into much less harmful gases before they get released out the back of your exhaust pipe.It turns out that the materials needed to pull off this conversion are in super high demand. We are talking about rhodium, palladium, and platinum!These materials are always in high demand but have seen their value skyrocket during the pandemic even more so. The price of a catalytic converter has gone through the roof because of how rare these materials are at the moment.Sound crazy?Well, if you have a look right now you’ll see that rhodium alone (just one of the precious metals inside of a catalytic converter) currently has a value that is 10 times gold.Yes, you’re reading that right.Some of the materials stuffed inside of a catalytic converter just to transform harmful gases into less harmful gases from your exhaust are worth 10 times the price of gold.Now, remember that there’s platinum and palladium inside of that catalytic converter, too!Any thief looking to make a buck (or two) with a little bit of mechanical inclination isn’t going to be shy about swiping as many catalytic converters as they can to cash in on this crazy market.