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What is catalytic converter theft and why is it on the rise?

Catalytic converter theft is continually on the rise. In a recent article published by the BBC outlining the surge in cases reported to the Met police, it was stated: “The Met’s motor vehicle crime unit investigated nearly 15,000 reports of such thefts in 2020, compared to 9,500 over the previous year.” The increase in cars being left vulnerable to thieves during lockdown and the increase in metal prices, could both be contributing factors. Here, we delve further into catalytic converter theft. 

What is a catalytic converter? 

Catalytic converters are a fundamental part of ensuring your vehicle runs healthy. They absorb harmful gasses through the exhaust, such as hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide, and they turn them into less harmful gasses such as water vapour and carbon dioxide. Catalytic converters are one of the most valuable parts on a vehicle and they can be easily accessed at the front of a vehicle with enough knowledge. They are simple to remove and sell for profit, therefore making them one of the most popular parts for car thieves to target.

Why are catalytic converter thefts on the rise?

Catalytic converters contain precious metals including platinum, rhodium and palladium, all of which hold value. In the past 12 months, the price of precious metals has sky-rocketed. This therefore makes the current scrap catalytic converter price much higher than usual. It only takes a matter of minutes to remove a catalytic converter from a car. This has resulted in catalytic converters becoming a prime target for thieves. 

How will I know if my catalytic converter has been stolen? How can I prevent it?

You will be able to notice if your catalytic converter has been stolen straightaway. The car will make a very loud noise and acceleration may be slow.

Read our top tips on how to prevent catalytic converter theft:

  • Parked cars are a prime target, always try to park in busy well-lit areas with active CCTV
  • Park in front of an object such as a wall or another car to make the front of your car more difficult to access
  • If you have a high value catalytic converter, consider purchasing a ‘catloc’ device
  • Fit a Thatcham approved alarm to detect if the vehicle is being jacked up
  • Purchase a ‘cat clamp’ to fit onto your catalytic converter to prevent it being removed

How much is it to replace a stolen catalytic converter?

Replacing a catalytic converter can cost between £200 to £1000. It’s important to be aware that if the police stop you and your catalytic converter is missing, you could be fined up to £1000 for driving while emitting toxic gasses.

Scrapping A Car

Catalytic converter thefts are extremely frustrating and we often receive calls from customers that have had this happen to them. We will collect your car for free if your catalytic converter has been stolen and you don’t want the hassle of replacing it. Simply call our happy to help team on 0203 870 2545. We will collect the vehicle on a day and time that suits you, plus we will handle the paperwork!