It seems that any time you log onto social media these days or turn on the news, there’s always one story that gets mentioned: an uptick in the number of catalytic converters that are being stolen directly off of cars. Thieves are able to quickly and efficiently remove them from parked cars, sometimes even from a person’s own driveway.
This is a serious issue, as a catalytic converter replacement can be an extremely expensive proposition. Thieves know that these pollution-decreasing devices contain precious metals that can fetch high prices on the black market, so the incentive is there. Also, instances are soaring during the pandemic. Overseas mines are not in operation due to restrictions and excessive absences/labor shortages, which drives prices on these metals even further up.
Knowing how to protect your car’s catalytic converter can be a good way to save yourself an awful lot of money, so read on for more tips about preventing theft.
Etch your license plate number
We all remember labeling all of our clothes for summer camp—it made them a lot easier to track if things got jumbled up into a big pile of laundry. Catalytic converters can also be tagged with identifying marks that will make them easier to find. If you use a blade of some sort to etch your license plate number onto your converter, it will make it a whole lot easier for the police to track down the part if the worst happens.
It also serves as a deterrent—if a thief spots an etching, he might move on to a softer target. In fact, check your local community for events that many police departments are holding with repair shops, where they’ll etch your car parts for free.
Install an anti-theft device
There are a lot of devices now on the market that aim to prevent your needing a forced catalytic converter replacement. Some shops will install low-tech (but effective) anti-theft devices by placing sheets of metal over the entire underside of the car. This restricts access to the part in the first place and makes it inaccessible to most thieves. This is theoretically a job you can do yourself, if you’re so inclined—some sheet metal, a drill and some bolts and fasteners would be all you need to protect your catalytic converter.
If you need to park your car for an extended period, especially overnight, make sure you’re parking it in well-lit areas. Thieves like to work in the darkness, away from potential witnesses’ eyes, and streetlights can serve as a great deterrent. You can also install bright motion sensor lights in your own driveway to scare off anyone who might have designs on your car’s undercarriage. The sheer surprise might be enough to chase off a thief.
Catalytic converter theft can be a lucrative undertaking for wrongdoers who thrive on easy pickings. However, car owners are not defenseless—the steps above can help protect you from needing a pricy catalytic converter replacement down the road. If you need more advice on protecting your car, or if you’re just in the market for some routine vehicle maintenance, get in touch with the team at Rivergate Muffler & Auto Repair today!
Categorised in: Auto Maintenance
This post was written by Writer