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What to do if your catalytic converter is stolen

Nothing can sink your heart faster than turning on your car and hearing the gratuitous rumbling noise that comes from when your catalytic converter is stolen.

For many, that sound will be their first introduction to what was once one of the fastest-rising types of car theft during the pandemic. The increase was driven in part by soaring prices of the precious metal found in this division, which is a key part of a car’s emissions system.

“The noise and the smell of the exhaust – I don’t know what it is, but I know it sucks,” said actor Cameran Hebb, who had his catalytic converter stolen from her Toyota.
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Prius last summer.

Catalytic converter theft has increased tenfold since 2018 and the problem is rampant nationwide, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, a trade group that tracks theft and fraud. cheat.

‘As the value of precious metals contained in catalytic converters continues to rise, so does the number of thefts of these devices.’


– David Glawe, Chairman of the National Insurance Crime Bureau

“We have seen a significant increase during the pandemic. It’s an opportunistic crime. As the value of precious metals contained in catalytic converters continues to rise, so does the number of thefts of these devices,” said David Glawe, the group’s president and chief executive officer. said.

Thieves can sometimes charge up to $1,000 for a catalytic converter, experts say, depending on its condition and the vehicle from which they were taken.

What should you do if your catalytic converter is stolen?

So you’ve discovered your catalytic converter has been stolen. What’s the first thing to do?

“Don’t drive it,” says David Bennett, repair systems manager for the American Automobile Association. “Put it on.”

Mechanics say a car can operate without a catalytic converter, but it will be extremely noisy and emit smoke both inside and outside the car. Thieves often cut the underside of a car with an electric saw or a welding torch, and if they do the cracking work, they can also damage other systems, possibly affecting the vehicle’s ability to drive.

Once the vehicle is safely at the repair shop, the next call should be to the insurance company.

Does auto insurance cover catalytic converter theft?

What’s important here is whether your policy includes comprehensive coverage. Otherwise, you may get pickpocketed for a large bill.

Old-fashioned car drivers often buy only statutory liability insurance and forgo comprehensive coverage. This can be a problem, as catalytic converters from some older models are in high demand as they can contain more precious metals than newer cars.

The most popular stolen car models include Toyota Prius, Tundra and Honda
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Element and Accord, according to the NICB and multiple agencies. Vehicles with higher ground clearance are often preferred because thieves do not need to jack them up to slide underneath.

A company spokesperson told MarketWatch: “Honda is aware of an increasing number of catalytic converter thefts involving various brands and models of vehicles, including our own. “With our industry trade association, Honda is exploring various approaches to addressing this issue and is ready to work with other stakeholders to develop practical solutions.”

A Toyota spokesman also noted: “Theft of catalytic converters is an industry-wide challenge.”

He added: “In our view, the most effective approach requires close cooperation between the auto industry and local and state governments to devise legislative solutions to eliminate market for these stolen parts.

Currently, thieves are often looking for situations where they can move quickly and collect multiple catalytic converters in one go, experts say.

“Thieves will sweep through residential or apartment buildings or fleet parking lots and simply walk away with a dozen names in,” said Alex Reulta, auto shop manager at Elite Auto Group in Houston. this number.

The supply chain problems the US has faced over the past year have only made matters worse, as getting a new part can now take longer.

Ultimately, the cost of replacing the part alone can be as high as $3,000, and if the vehicle is further damaged during the theft, the repair cost can be as high as $5,000, Revulta said.

What can I do to protect my car from catalytic converter theft?

While it can be difficult to stop a professional thief, there are some steps one can take to convince a less determined person to move on to the next vehicle.

Some manufacturers fabricate shields around the catalytic converter in a type of metal cage that adds to the time it takes to cut the part. That extra effort will deter many thieves.

Another option is to stamp the vehicle’s vehicle identification number (VIN) on the catalytic converter. That can make it harder to sell stolen parts.

“The thought that it could be stolen again makes me very nervous,” said Hebb, whose Prius was vandalized in Seattle. “I finally got the shield. Although it cost me about $400, it gave me more peace of mind.”

https://www.marketwatch.com/story/my-catalytic-converter-just-got-stolen-what-do-i-do-next-11637190380?rss=1&siteid=rss | What to do if your catalytic converter is stolen

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