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How to Protect Your Catalytic Converter

If you never thought about the actual value of the catalytic converter, the seemingly unimportant component of your car’s exhaust system, it would be a mistake to think that car thieves and property criminals have done the same. On the contrary, the precious platinum and palladium components make them into excellent targets for property criminals. If you are looking for clever and efficient ways of preventing catalytic converter theft, follow some of the tips provided by our expert locksmiths in the next lines.

Why Do You Need Catalytic Converter Protection?

1. Worrisome Statistics

According to data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau, the theft of catalytic converters has been on an ascending trend in the past few years. The number of claims regarding stolen catalytic converters went up two times in the year that ended June 2022, reaching over 43,000 as proven by data from the largest car insurer in the country. 

The National Insurance Crime Bureau also explained that, since 2019 onwards, the number of cases of catalytic converter theft went up by a massive 1,215%.

2. High Vulnerability

The fact that they are located on the exterior of the vehicle’s underside turns catalytic converters into easy targets for thieves. Unfortunately, it takes under a minute for a seasoned criminal to take off with an expensive converter with the help of a saw operated by a battery. Thieves need to simply slide underneath the vehicle and slice through tanti theft devices for catalytic converterhe exhaust system. 

Cars that have sufficient tire clearance to allow thieves to easily slide underneath are the easiest targets, with special emphasis on pickup trucks and SUVs. Hybrids also represent good targets for thieves since their converters are more expensive as they are made of a larger number of metals.

3. High Cost of Replacement

Failing to repair a damaged or stolen catalytic converter will pose a serious risk to the engine. Unfortunately, replacing a stolen converter will usually cost a few thousand dollars. This is mainly because of the precious metals that are part of the converter, including rhodium, palladium, and platinum. On average, the cost of replacing a catalytic converter ranges anywhere between $900 and $3,500 and more for a high-end vehicle.

Here are our 5 recommendations to secure your catalytic converter with minimum effort:

Pay attention to your Parking Spot anti theft devices for catalytic converter

More often than not, the location that drivers choose to park their vehicles in will influence opportunist thieves’ decision to target their vehicles. Areas with high crime rates ask for more attention when choosing parking spaces that are less susceptible to being targeted by criminals.

Whenever possible, drivers should park their cars in locked or supervised garages. When this is not possible, opting for a street light or a busy public area are good alternatives. Choosing more hidden parking spots may work well to keep thieves away, but at the same time, this could also backfire, offering them the privacy they need to cut the catalytic converter and take off with it without being seen by passers-by. 

If possible, install motion sensor lights and surveillance cameras in your parking area at home.  

Use a universal catalytic converter lock

The catalytic converter lock is the best catalytic converter anti-theft device our locksmiths recommend for most drivers. This is due to their cables and clamps made of sturdy steel that do an excellent job at adding additional layers of protection to the converter, making it almost impossible for thieves to cut and remove the converter from the vehicle.

The CatClamp matches all makes and models of vehicles. Its installation requires part of the device to be routed through the chassis so it can reach maximum efficiency. Usually, this asks for help from a professional car locksmith who specializes in installing such devices on all types of vehicles, which might be considered a con or drawback by some car owners. While thieves may still use the same set of tools they would use to steal the catalyst converter to try to cut through the CatClamp, this procedure would take a lot more time which would automatically put them at risk of being seen and heard. 

The CatClamp’s cable cage design goes around the converter with aircraft-grade wire rope that is hard to cut even when using power tools. The wire rope also works by locking the converter to the chassis up to seven times. Since this catalytic converter anti theft device can be attached to the exhaust pipes and not the catalytic converter itself, this model has a universal fit and is compatible with converters of all shapes and sizes. 

Install a car alarm

Another way to prevent your catalytic converter from being stolen is by fitting a quality car alarm that can stop thieves from sneaking into the vehicle’s cabin. While these devices will not actually prevent criminals from getting access to the undercarriage, it is possible to change the sensitivity to the alarm and have it activate whenever the car is touched. The drawback here is that drivers are likely to expect a large number of false positive alarms because of surrounding wildlife.

Consider a catalytic converter alarm

There are dedicated alarms for catalytic converters. One such example is the Fast Guard Alarm Universal Catalytic Converter Alarm which comes with a universal fit since it loosely hands with the help of metal hose clamps to the exhaust. Once the driver sets the motion-based alarm with the help of a fob once the car is parked, the alarm will go off every time the device will be moved or jostled. Again, the drawback here comes from the high sensitivity to wind or any other type of movement that could easily trigger a false alarm. 

Set up a shielding device

Do catalytic converter shields work? If you have asked yourself this question, keep reading. Shielding devices add an extra layer of metal between the catalyst converter and the road. Usually, several metal shielding panels need to be installed in order to accurately block off the catalyst from the road and make potential thieves’ job of removing them more time-consuming. 

Drivers can either choose universal shielding devices or opt for fitted panels designed for their exact car make. 

Catalytic Converter Protection - LocksmithsPros' Final Thoughts

While the majority of comprehensive car insurance usually covers catalytic converter theft, it is essential to talk to your insurer to know exactly if your policy can and will minimize the impact of potential theft. Install the most reliable devices for enhanced catalytic converter protection so you can benefit from more protection if your vehicle is at high risk of falling victim to opportunist thieves.