We often take several necessary steps to ensure the safety of our vehicles. Why not? After all, that’s one of the major investments that we have. But if you haven’t come across the term ‘catalytic converter,’ you might be missing some very crucial information. Recently after the pandemic hit, there has been quite an upward shift in catalytic converter theft rather than vehicle theft.
Several countries reportedly mark thefts of catalytic converters every now and then. Recently, cops found a man whose gang was involved in this heinous task in Ohio, Columbus. In Texas also, the CCTV footage presented a man stealing this converter from under the truck. The same incident took place a few months back in Gujarat, India. Again, this was witnessed in Gurugram, India, also just a month back, and in the Kheda state of Gujarat (India), where two culprits were arrested in September 2020. And this cycle goes on tremendously upwards.
Read through this article to get detailed insights about catalytic converter theft.
Placed between a vehicle’s engine and exhaust, a catalytic converter subdues the adverse effects of fatal gases, namely hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide, and nitrogen oxides.
The catalytic converter is developed using a combination of precious metals, namely platinum, palladium, and iridium. That’s the reason it’s an alluring vehicle component for thieves. In fact, a sharp spike has been seen in catalytic converter thefts after the pandemic hit.
REASONS FOR RAPID INCREASE IN CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFT
What usually happens is that catalytic converters (or their parts) are first stolen and then get sold out to smelters, who then sell the procured metal to the manufacturers who further sell them implanted in these converters, to the customers who’ve been a victim of catalytic converter theft. This vicious cycle goes on and hampers the pocket of an individual by robbing him/her blind as they pay multiple times for the same thing. In addition to this, a lot of insurance companies also don’t cover this damage which is really a hard stroke for people’s pockets.
Below are some of the key causes why a thieve is interested in catalytic converters:
- One of the main reasons that catalytic converters are no less than a feast for a thief’s eyes is that they are made up of high-priced metals which can fetch them a good amount.
- Apart from that, it is the placement of this component that makes it quite an easy affair to detach it from a car or any other vehicle (especially vehicles with more ground clearance). Next to that, you’ll be surprised to know that all that thieves need in order to put their catalytic converter theft plan in action is ill-conscience, an angle grinder, a jack or saw, and less than thirty seconds. Yes, you read that right! This plan can be executed in less than thirty seconds. Now you must’ve got an idea about why it is a great opportunity for thieves.
- Also, the hassles of mining are to blame for this activity. Due to high demand pressure on the automobile industry, there has been excessive usage of metals, specifically rhodium and platinum, out of which more than 80 percent of metal consumption is accounted only for the manufacturing of catalytic converters.
But several laws have been refined, putting constraints on mining. This has been done to cope with the Covid-19 hit and environmental hazards. But another implication of such laws is that they have resulted in a shortage of these metals in the market. So identifying an opportunity here as well, the thieves have gone the whole nine yards stealing and selling catalytic converters in the black market.
SELLING PRICE OF STOLEN CATALYTIC CONVERTER
The components of catalytic converters are sold out at very sky-high prices in the markets. The dealers of this black market earn upto more than 80 USD (i.e., 14595 PKR) for even a tiny part of these metals, which sometimes shoot to 1100 USD (i.e., 200684 PKR). Based on a report, it is said that most of the attacks on these converters have been made on SUVs, Toyotas, and vehicles with high ground clearance.
HOW WOULD YOU KNOW THAT YOUR VEHICLE’S CATALYTIC CONVERTER HAS BEEN STOLEN?
Though you can’t make out that the catalytic converter of your vehicle has been stolen by just mere looking at it, there are some indications that your vehicle will give:
- Harsh and loud abnormal sounds from vehicles are an indication that one of the most expensive components of your vehicle (catalytic converter) has been stolen.
- You’ll find the ‘Check Engine’ light ON.
- You might feel uneasy sitting in your vehicle as the catalytic converter is responsible for bringing down the effects of fatal gases. In fact, in certain cases, severe headaches have been reported if this converter isn’t in place.
- Your vehicle’s engine performance will also shatter.
WHAT ACTION TO TAKE IN CASE YOUR CATALYTIC CONVERTER GETS STOLEN?
If such an unfortunate experience happens to you, firstly, go and report it to the nearby authority or law enforcement department. After that, get your vehicle repaired. This is going to be hefty for your pocket for sure! If the odds are in your favour, you might get compensation from your vehicle insurer.
Also, a lot of people wonder if they can do without a catalytic converter or not. So let me make it clear. Though you’ll be able to drive your car in the absence of a converter, it’ll be nothing more than a nine-day wonder because it’ll hamper your engine’s performance which in turn will affect the whole functioning of your vehicle adversely. Also, it can have severe effects on the health of both the driver and passengers.
WAYS TO BUFFER AGAINST CATALYTIC CONVERTER THEFT
- Park your vehicle somewhere in a well-lighted area.
- Park the vehicle against a wall as it’ll block the way to slide under it to attempt the theft.
- Get an all-comprehensive insurance policy and clear things out with the company in advance.
- Installing an alert alarm or an anti-theft device may help as well.
- Get your catalytic converter well-fixed in place through welding.
- One thing that you can do is to get the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN number) engraved on your catalytic converter so that it would be easier to look for it if somebody steals it.
So far, this article has discussed several crucial aspects of catalytic converter theft and what can be done to defend your vehicle against that. Which way do you think will work best to safeguard the catalytic converter? Comment below.