Why Do People Steal Catalytic Converters (Easiest Catalytic Converters To Steal)

Catalytic converters are frequently stolen from trucks, cars, and buses. This is because the metals used to make cat converters, whether old or new, are valuable. A catalytic converter is an exhaust system component that removes harmful particles and prevents them from entering the atmosphere. In certain vehicles, removing the catalytic converter is simple. In this post, you’ll find the easiest catalytic converters to steal.

Many people that steal the cat converter can expect to get anywhere from $300 to as much as $3000 if they sell the cat to scrap yards. These scrap yards will then sell them to recycling facilities just to reclaim the precious metals that cat converters contain, which include platinum, palladium, rhodium, and others. Read this also How To Fix Catalytic Converter Clog

What Catalytic Converter Has The Most Rhodium In It?

Note that the quantity of rhodium per catalytic converter may vary by model and manufacturer. But on average, a standard catalytic converter contains around 1-2 grams of rhodium, 2–7 grams of palladium, and 3–7 grams of platinum. This will result in lots of gains when tons of scrap catalytic converters are recovered.

However, the Toyota Prius brand of cars is one of the most popular for catalytic converter thefts since they contain more rhodium than any other car. While a new Toyota Prius cat converter is worth around $2,000, since the precious metals that the Toyota Prius contains can be used in various industries and are in high demand, this is what makes them attractive to thieves.

Do All Cars Have Catalytic Converters?         

My answer to this question is “yes.” You can go and check on older vehicles that were designed before the emission laws were passed. They were able to run just fine. But in modern cars, they are required to contain catalytic converters, and this has become very vital as they help in taking care of the environment.

Note that this is in line with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s regulation of exhaust emissions, which means most gasoline related vehicles from the 1975 model year must be equipped with catalytic converters.

The duty of catalytic converters is to use chemical reactions to clean the toxic gases that come out of a vehicle’s emission system. It helps to take harmful substances such as carbon monoxide, nitric oxide, nitrogen dioxide, and hydrocarbons and make them less harmful to the environment. So cat converters are a very important part of your car’s emission system.

Vehicle Design Of The Easiest Catalytic Converters To Steal

One of the easiest catalytic converters to steal is the Toyota Prius. It has become the most targeted car for catalytic converter theft. Since it is a low-emissions car, its cat converters contain large amounts of precious metals such as rhodium, platinum, and palladium. But why do thieves target the Prius’s catalytic converter?

One of the most common factors thieves employ whenever they want to decide which vehicle to target is the ease of detaching the cat converter from their victim’s exhaust system. Thieves prefer the Prius since many of the cars are on the road. So this will provide them with the opportunity to easily disassemble the catalytic converter, especially those that know how the exhaust system works.

However, one of the reasons that makes this Toyota Prius such a tempting target for these criminals is its ecological friendliness. The Toyota Prius has a hybrid gasoline engine that is supplemented by an electric motor. This simply means that it doesn’t have to handle the same load as other gasoline engines.

It also means that the catalytic converter won’t have to work as hard as others. This will increase the lifespan and retain more precious metals in the system.

According to trending reports, the Toyota Prius, Lexus SUVs, Tacoma, and Honda Accords are some of the most targeted cars for catalytic converter theft since they are the easiest to steal.

This is because these vehicles sit high off the ground, and it will be easy for these criminals to slip underneath and steal the catalytic converter. Not only that, the engine in these SUVs is said to give the best fuel efficiency, which also saves the catalytic converter from damage.

And this will help to retain more precious metal inside of them. So, if you own one of these vehicles, just ensure your car is locked up safe and sound.

Is Catalytic Converter Theft Covered by Insurance?

Yes! If you purchase comprehensive auto insurance, you will be completely protected against catalytic converter theft.This is because comprehensive auto insurance policy coverage will typically pay to replace your stolen vehicle catalytic converter and pay for the repair of any related damage caused by its removal.

How To Prevent Catalytic Converters From Being Stolen

There’s a trend of people stealing cat converters from trucks, cars, and buses. So for those who intend to avoid having their vehicle’s catalytic converters stolen, below are some measures to put in place:

  1. Ensure to park your car to prevent accessing the underneath

For thieves to steal the cat converter, they are required to go under the vehicle and make use of cutting tools to detach the box from the pipes around the cat. So the way you park your car matters a lot. Whenever you park close to a wall or fence, it can help prevent them from accessing underneath your car, but remember never to block pedestrian access. 

  1. Use catalytic converters with a serial number.

Note that some car garages will mark a unique serial number on your cat converter. This will allow you to easily identify your cat when stolen. With the Scrap Metal Dealers Act, which requires that all dealers check the identity of sellers against the unique code.

However, illegal sales of cat converters have continued since, but trusted dealers still check the combination of letters and numbers so they can identify which car the part belongs to and this will help in retrieving it. 

They will also be providing you with a sticker which will be displayed in your window indicating that your catalytic converter is marked. This will help to prevent offenders from targeting your vehicle’s cat converter.

  1. Ask a garage to weld the bolts shut

This may sound extreme, but you wouldn’t want your cat converter to be stolen. So, if your catalytic converter is bolted on, simply have your local garage weld the bolts shut to make it extremely difficult for these thieves to remove.

  1. You can install a security camera.

I think installing a security camera such as CCTV, Ring Doorbell, and others seems to be the right thing to do. But if you are the type that doesn’t park in your driveway, then this strategy will be more difficult to implement.

Whenever you park your car, there are lots of alternative options to keep an eye on it, such as wildlife trail cameras. However, the best thing to do is to park the car in areas where there’s CCTV filming. Currently, the cost of installing CCTV systems is falling, and it has become a very easy job to install, which does not require specialist services.

So installing a security camera is worth considering for peace of mind, not just for catalytic converter theft alone.

  1. Park in well-lit areas.

This one has more to do with common sense. Parking in well-lit areas will lower the chances of criminals invading, and it’s not specific to catalytic converter theft alone. Note that thieves are just opportunistic and the equipment needed to cut out a catalytic converter happens to be heavy-duty.

This simply means that once a vehicle is being targeted, they tend to wait for the right opportunity to strike as stealing the cat takes a few minutes. So when you park in an area that’s well lit, where people regularly walk past, you’ll be less likely to find your catalytic converter missing when you come back.

  1. Set up a car alarm.

You can install an alarm if your vehicle doesn’t have any. If you live in an environment where catalytic converter thefts are on the rise, then you should install an alarm. When you do, the noise of the alarm will be enough to scare off any thief.

  1. Park your car off the road.

This strategy won’t be good for everybody, but if you have a garage in your home, then your car should be parked in there. Do this if you live or work in an area where catalytic converter thefts are common. But if you do not have a garage, then try to park alongside other cars or in parking areas.

  1. Block access to the underside of fleets.

If you have a fleet of cars, then consider preventing access to cars with higher ground clearance by parking your lower cars close by. You should also keep an eye on anyone who’s working underneath of any car nearby, this is because they could be scouting out their next target car.

2 Best Catalytic Converter Guard
  1. Catalytic Converter Protection Shield Fit for Toyota Prius

This is a great product with electric plugs that is designed for use in the US. However, its outlets and voltage differ internationally. This Toyota Prius Catalytic Converter Protection Shield may require an adapter or converter for use in your area. So you need to check the compatibility before purchasing. It goes for the price of $89.99.

The function of this catalytic converter safety shield is to protect your converter from theft. Its fitness is for Toyota Prius l4 1.8L, 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 models. This shield is very easy to install; there’s no need to cut it or install it with rivets.

Please note that this cat converter protection shield only fits Toyota Prius lift-backs and plug-in trims. This won’t fit the Toyota Prius C and the Prius V Wagon.

  1. LOSTAR Catalytic Converter Anti-Theft Protection Cover Shield Fits Toyota Prius models from 2004 to 2009.

This catalytic converter anti-theft protection cover shield is designed for perfect fitness, great performance, and quality. It has heat extraction holes, which gives room for proper ventilation of the exhaust area.

It is produced by Lone Star Auto Parts, Inc., which happens to be a professional automotive spare parts supplier with over 15 years’ experience. They are dedicated to providing you with state-of-the-art products and delivering the best services.

This product provides a strong barrier for theft. There’s no need for welding, and it’s corrosion-resistant. The product package includes a catalytic converter anti-theft protection cover shield with some hardware. It’s compatible with 2004 to 2009 Toyota Prius models. It comes with a 1 year unlimited-mileage quality guarantee and goes for $95.65.

Do Catalytic Converter Shields Work?

A catalytic converter shield is a strongly built aluminum plate designed to prevent catalytic converter theft. The trending cat theft going on has made most reputable dealers take it upon themselves to provide these catalytic converter shields.

Every catalytic converter shield has a unique design with specifications that should fit a particular vehicle so that it can provide maximum protection. Note that any catalytic converter shield model you choose needs to feature security, fitment, quality, and convenience to achieve the protection that’s intended.

The features of every cat shield must include:

  • material that’s light and convenient.
  • It must have heat extraction holes to allow proper ventilation of the exhaust area.
  • must be corrosion resistant.
  • It must not require welding.

Which Cars Are Least Likely To Have Catalytic Converters Stolen

As you may know, cat converter thieves steal converters from hybrid cars since their conditions are better since they release fewer toxins. The cars that are least likely to fall victim to converter thieves are those built before 1974, since they did not have converters. Also, cars that have cat converters with less precious metals are least likely to be stolen, but this doesn’t mean thieves won’t steal them.

An example is vehicles with bead catalytic converters, which bring little to no money in the scrap yard. This is because diesel converters do not have much value as they do not contain precious metals.

Another thing is that newer car models like the Honda Jazz and 2015 Accord models install their catalytic converters inside their engine compartments, which makes it harder for thieves to steal them.

Also, car brands such as Ford, Chevy, Dodge, Jeep, Mazda, Subaru, Nissan, Chrysler, and Hyundai have the least valuable cat converters. So thieves might not think of stealing any of the above cat converters as they have no value since they don’t contain precious metals.

Most Stolen Catalytic Converters UK

Trending reports show that the Toyota Prius, Lexus SUVs, Tacoma, and Honda Accords are some of the most targeted cars for catalytic converter theft in the UK since they are the easiest to steal and most valuable. 

In the UK, a catalytic converter can cost drivers between £250 and £800. Car owners spend this kind of amount because cat converters contain three rare precious metals such as platinum, rhodium, or palladium. The value of these metals makes it lucrative for thieves to target catalytic converters even in the daytime.

Most Stolen Catalytic Converters California

According to the report, over 8,000 Californians lost their catalytic converter within the first five months of 2021. This represents a 33 percent increase over the 2020 report and a 380 percent increase over the 2019 report, which included only 1,254 thefts.

However, the most stolen catalytic converters during the past three years in California happened to be the Toyota Prius, Tacoma, Lexus SUVs, Honda Accord, and Honda Element.

Who Buys Stolen Catalytic Converters?

Theft of cat converters has increased over the past few years due to the valuable precious metals they contain. People who steal catlytic converters expect to receive anywhere from $200 to $800 when they sell the converters to scrap yards. Then scrap yards will sell them to recycling facilities who will now reclaim the precious metals they contain, such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium.

People who have lost their cats are dissatisfied because replacing a stolen catalytic converter can cost between $1,000 and $3,500, depending on the make and model.Not only that, losing a cat converter makes you unable to drive your vehicle for days or even weeks.

So who buys stolen catalytic converters? Note that there are two options when you think of selling your catalytic converter: local auto salvage yards, metal scrap yards, or online buyers.

Local Auto Salvage (easy option)

One option is to visit your local car salvage yard. Local auto salvage places are where used car parts are sold all the time and they will offer you money for your catalytic converter. This is because junkyards are in the business of making money. But note that they may want to offer you the lowest possible price for your cat converter so they can sell it for a profit.

But if you’re trying to take advantage of selling the hot precious metals (cat converter) for a better price, then your local auto salvage yard will not be your best option for the best payout.

The reason you won’t get a good price from local auto salvage is that they don’t deal in precious metals.

Local scrap metal facilities.

The local scrap metal facilities are very easy to use, like the auto salvages. So the likelihood of getting a higher payout will be better as well. This is because the scrap metal yards follow the metals market closely and are aware of the current price of materials inside the converter better than anyone. Even at that, they may not buy it as you expect because the extraction process of the metals will add up to their overhead expenses.

List Of Most Stolen Catalytic Converters In US

According to the recently released report by NICB, which shows the rising catalytic converter theft trend nationwide. The data in the report indicates that catalytic converter thieves prefer certain cars over others. So here is the list of the most stolen catalytic converters in the US.

  • Toyota Prius
  • Honda Element
  • Honda Accord
  • Ford Econoline
  • Honda CRV
  • Ford F-250
  • Toyota Tundra
  • Toyota Sequoia
  • A Ford Excursion
  • Toyota Tacoma.

These are the vehicles that have been most often targeted for catalytic converter theft in the past few years in the US.

What You Need To Make A Diy Catalytic Converter Protection Shield Lock?

If you are actually a handy type of person with an angle grinder, then you can consider designing a homemade version of a catalytic converter protection shield lock. Here are the things needed:

  • Bolts
  • A metal brush for cleaning
  • A cutter
  • An aluminum plate
  • A metal
  • Safety glasses
  • A set of gloves to protect your hands.

Step By Step Guide On DIY Catalytic Converter Lock

If you are a resourceful person, you can come up with your own DIY solutions. A lot of people will weld a piece or two lengthwise to give more cut resistance. Others, on the other hand, will go to great lengths to create their own rebar catalytic converter cages for protection.

So if you’re handy with these kinds of things, go for it.

First, go under your vehicle and design a cardboard stencil stretching out to the rails. After that, cut the stencil off from a sheet of metal. A perfect example is from an old washing machine, your fridge, or even a car bonnet, but it must be from a non-rust material.

Next, bolt the plate onto the frame by cutting off all access to the cat converter. Doing this might even make your car more aerodynamic!


Bear in mind that thieves can steal catalytic converters from almost all car brands, but some car brands might still not work for them compared to other car models. This is because thieves don’t steal catalytic converters that contain less precious metals because they have low market value.

Also, diesel cat converters do not have any value in the market as they lack precious metals like fuel-enabled cars, and this means that thieves may not steal diesel cat converters.

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