Why People Steal Catalytic Converters?
Mechanic Alex Esparza works on a catalytic converter of a vehicle at Van Ness Auto Repair on Sept. 13, 2022. In a nationwide rash of catalytic converter thefts, California has been hit harder than any other state. Photo by Larry Valenzuela, CalMatters/CatchLight Local

Have you heard about catalytic converter theft? It’s a crime that is becoming more and more common as people steal these parts from cars to sell them for scrap metal. But why people steal catalytic converters? The problem is that catalytic converters are not cheap, so thieves can make a lot of money by selling them.

There are several reasons why people might steal catalytic converters. Sometimes, they need the money and see this as an easy way to make some quick cash. Others might do it just for the thrill or because they enjoy breaking the law. Whatever the reason, catalytic converter theft is a serious crime that can have serious consequences. So if you see anything suspicious, please report it to the police.

What Is a Catalytic Converter?

Why People Steal Catalytic Converters?
Source: CalMatters

A catalytic converter is a device fitted to a car’s exhaust system. It helps to reduce emissions by converting pollutants into less harmful gasses. It does this by using a catalyst, which is a substance that speeds up a chemical reaction.

Catalytic converters are valuable because they are produced with expensive materials, such as platinum and palladium. It makes them a target for thieves, who can sell them for scrap metal.

Why Catalytic Converters Theft Rampant?

People are stealing catalytic converters because they are valuable and easy to sell. Catalytic converters are made of precious metals such as platinum and palladium, which means they are worth a lot of money. They are also easy to steal, as they are often located near the ground and can be removed without too much trouble. As a result, catalytic converters are becoming a popular target for thieves.

Catalytic converters are the heart of your car’s emissions control system. They’re designed to trap polluting gases, like carbon monoxide (CO), before they can enter your vehicle. They do this by releasing a special chemical called oleum into the air around them. The more oleum is released, the more effectively it absorbs other harmful gases like CO and nitrogen dioxide (NOx).

That’s why catalytic converter thefts are so common: people understand how valuable these devices can be! Police are urging motorists to take extra precautions to protect their converters, and businesses that sell them are installing security measures to deter thieves. But why would anyone steal one?

4 Major Reasons Why People Steal Catalytic Converters

Here are four major reasons why catalytic converter theft is common among people. Let’s check them out!

It’s easy money

Catalytic converters are easy to steal. It’s easy money and that’s why people steal catalytic converter. They’re made of plastic and can be easily moved around, so you don’t need a truck or trailer to haul them away. And they’re worth a lot: one stolen catalytic converter has been estimated to be worth $2,000 on the street.


It makes it easy for criminals to make cash in an otherwise low-paying job (it’s estimated that workers who steal catalytic converters make as little as $2 an hour). Plus, they’re undetectable by most security systems—and even if someone did see your cat converter at work, there’s no way for them to prove you didn’t take it off with intent!

They’re valuable

While the catalytic converter is not valuable, its materials can be. That’s why people steal catalytic converter. For example, copper and nickel are elements that are used in many industrial applications. These metals have the potential to be sold at a high price on markets like eBay or Craigslist.

MagnaFlow Universal Catalytic Converter Standard Grade Federal/EPA Compliant 91005 - Stainless Steel 2.25in Inlet/Outlet Diameter, 13in Overall Length, No O2 Sensor - Standard Grade Replacement
  • EPA PRE-OBDII COMPLIANT - This catalytic converter is designed to meet or exceed Federal EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) Pre-OBDII emissions requirements. Item is NOT shippable to CA or CO AND any order will need to be CANCELED if shipping address is located in either state
  • UPGRADED DESIGN - MagnaFlow’s latest manufacturing technologies make it possible for a catalytic converter such as this one to benefit from improved exhaust flow characteristics and a modern construction design when compared to the part it’s replacing
  • STAINLESS-STEEL CONSTRUCTION - The utilization of highly corrosion resistant stainless-steel construction, free-flowing mandrel bent pipes and MagnaFlow’s cutting-edge CNC precision robotic manufacturing techniques ensure consistently perfect fitment, reliability, and superior longevity
  • 5 YEAR / 50,000-MILE LIMITED WARRANTY - Worry-free ownership is made possible thanks to the 5 year/50,000-mile construction and 25,000-mile emissions warranty included with this MagnaFlow catalytic converter
  • UNIVERSAL FIT - MagnaFlow recommends professional installation for the universal configuration of this catalytic converter as cutting, fabrication and/or welding may be required. While this MagnaFlow part is universal, confirm fitment details above in "Confirmed Fit" feature


The same is true of other catalytic converter materials like platinum, palladium and rhodium. These are all valuable metals that you can sell for a pretty penny on the black market if you can steal them from cars.

No one can tell they’re missing

When looking at your car, it’s easy to see if something is missing. But, when someone steals a catalytic converter, they can hide it so that it seems like they didn’t take it. Many people believe catalytic converters gets because they’re under the car and not easily visible or reachable by anyone who doesn’t know what they are looking for.

The problem with this theory is that catalytic converters can be challenging to find. They often hide them from sight under hoods and other parts of vehicles (like fenders). You must look carefully at your vehicle before noticing anything amiss with its appearance—and even then, you might miss them!

They’re straightforward to steal!

The catalytic converter is the part of your car that filters out emissions from cars, trucks and buses. It does this by converting harmful gases into less harmful ones before they enter the atmosphere. The process doesn’t just filter out bad smells, though. Catalytic converters also keep you safe from polluting chemicals in your exhaust system! Catalytic converters are a lot of money and easy to steal.

What to do if your catalytic converter is stolen

The catalytic converter is a common sight on most cars, but it’s only sometimes something to be proud of. If your catalytic converter is missing, contact the police immediately and report your vehicle as stolen. Then get in touch with your insurance company as well. Visit Catstrap, they will help you keep your catalytic converter safe.

How To Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft

You can follow the tips to avoid catalytic converter theft.

Watch out for damaged undercarriage

If you notice any damage to the undercarriage, it’s important to take note of where this is. Scratches and dents can indicate that someone has been clamping down on your catalytic converter with a jack, which can cause serious damage. Holes in the undercarriage or broken exhaust pipes could indicate that someone has tried to steal your catalytic converter. You should also check for damaged mufflers and intake manifolds if you see evidence of tampering with these components.

Bad smell

If you have a catalytic converter stolen, the first thing to look for is a bad smell. Most catalytic converters release gases detected by the human nose and cause an unpleasant odour when burned. The smell of burning rubber or metal is common; burnt copper will give off an odour similar to rotten eggs.

If you suspect they have stolen our catalytic converter, turn on your car’s engine and determine whether there’s any output from its exhaust system while driving around town (or even just on the highway). If there’s no sign of escaping pollutants in either direction and no detectable leaks, then call 911.

Check engine light

If the Check Engine Light is on, it’s a good idea to check your catalytic converter. The check engine light will be on at all times if you have one of these sensors:
• A cracked or damaged oil feed pipe that needs replacing
• A clogged air filter (which could cause overheating)

Weird noises

If you suspect your catalytic converter has been stolen, the first thing to do is contact your local police department and file a report. The police will work with you to determine if there’s any evidence of a crime, and they’ll help track down the person responsible for stealing it.

If you own an ’84 or newer vehicle, check to see if there’s any damage on the front of your car that could indicate someone tampered with its exhaust system (especially around where it connects). It would help if you also took pictures as soon as possible after noticing something suspicious so that you can provide them with evidence later on down the line once things have calmed down again.

Engine misfires or bad gas mileage

If you have a catalytic converter, your vehicle may have been stolen. If this is the case, there are several things you can do to try and get your vehicle back. The first thing to do is check the engine light on your dashboard. You may also want to check for any other problems with the car, such as bad gas mileage or misfires, and check out the kind of catalytic converter in this particular model year (if possible).

Conclusion

It’s baffling that people are stealing catalytic converters, as they provide such an important vehicle service. Not only do they help reduce harmful emissions, but they’re also a key part of the car’s exhaust system. Without them, a car can’t run properly.

If you’ve had your catalytic converter stolen, we urge you to contact your local police department and report the crime. Consider installing a security system on your vehicle to help deter thieves in the future.

Catalytic converters are an important part of every car, and thieves shouldn’t be able to take them without consequence. Contact your local police department if your converter is missing, and help spread awareness about this issue.

We hope this article has helped you understand why people steal catalytic converters. If you live in the US, please keep your eyes open for these stolen parts! It’s not just for the money, but because they’re valuable and no one can tell they’re missing. Read more about catalytic converters on Vehiclesforall.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *