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Catalytic Converter Thefts Up Over 1,000% 

Catalytic Converter Thefts Up Over 1,000% 

Catalytic converter theft has spread rapidly across the country in recent years. From 2019 to 2020, there was a 325% increase in catalytic converter thefts — and the trend continued, reaching more than 52,000 catalytic converter thefts nationwide in 2021. That’s more than a 1,200% increase over 2019. 

The primary function of the car part is to convert environmentally hazardous gases from the engine into less hazardous gases. Precious metals such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium are contained within the catalytic converter. The price of rhodium varies, but it is the most valuable of the three precious metals listed, hovering around $15,000 per ounce. 

Which cars are most likely to have catalytic converters stolen? 

According to a 2022 study by Carfax, these are the 10 cars that are targeted most for these kinds of thefts nationwide: 

  • 1985-2021 Ford F-Series pickup trucks (F-150, F-250, etc.) 
  • 1989-2020 Honda Accord 
  • 2007-17 Jeep Patriot 
  • 1990-2022 Ford Econoline vans 
  • 1999-2021 Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks 
  • 2005-21 Chevrolet Equinox 
  • 1997-2020 Honda CR-V 
  • 1987-2019 Toyota Camry 
  • 2011-17 Chrysler 200 
  • 2001-21 Toyota Prius 

Many vehicle owners have installed converter shields, which make stealing the catalytic converter more difficult. If experienced thieves attempted to break through the shield, a job that takes less than 3 minutes per vehicle would take more than 15 minutes. They are unlikely to risk being caught in the act and will instead move on to another vehicle that has not taken any precautionary measures.  

Since replacing a catalytic converter can cost you, on average, up to $2000 and it is against the law to drive your car without one, it is crucial to keep it safe. The typical theft deterrent upgrade costs about $150. 

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