Why Thieves Are Crawling Under Your Car After Dark

With the recession still impacting many Canadians, thieves are finding new ways to rip people off including crawling under your car. What are they looking for? It is the expensive to replace, yet profitable for thieves, catalytic converter.

What is a Catalytic Converter?

A catalytic converter is located between the exhaust manifold and the exhaust pipe on the underside of the vehicle. The engine burns fuel and the exhaust enters the catalytic converter before exiting through your car’s exhaust system. The exhaust burns again at approximately 1600-degree temperatures where the precious metal causes a chemical reaction. The exhaust then flows through the tailpipe into the atmosphere.

Most people are aware of the term because the law requires vehicles to have one to reduce pollution causing emissions. Many people do not know that a converter contains precious metals. A catalytic converter is composed of an inner ceramic honeycomb design plated with platinum, palladium, or rhodium. These metals range in price from $2,000 to $9,000 per ounce. The precious metals stimulate a chemical reaction that renders hydrocarbons less harmful to the environment.

Why are Thieves Stealing Catalytic Convertors?

Thieves target catalytic converters because they can sell them to scrap yards for several hundred dollars and they are one of the easiest vehicle parts to steal. Thieves conceal themselves underneath the vehicle taking only minutes to unbolt or cut off a converter with a battery-powered saw. Any car is a target, but thieves prefer high clearance vehicles that require no jacking up. Vehicles with the largest converters are a favourite because the bigger converters contain more metal and sell for a higher price.

Your Parking Location is Important

Vehicles parked for long periods are most at risk. Thieves target shopping malls, commuter parking lots, and areas where they can hit several targets at the same time. Converter replacement costs from $400 to $1000 dollars or more depending on the type of vehicle. It is up to the owner to get a new converter installed on the vehicle so it is legal to drive again. Several things make a vehicle less appealing to thieves including parking:

  • Indoors and in well-lit areas
  • Close to roads containing heavy traffic
  • Close to entrances and fenced lots
  • Guarded parking lots

How Can You Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft?

  • Take the vehicle to a muffler shop and have the converter secured to the frame with steel straps.
  • Engrave your license plate number into the converter so it is traceable in the event of theft.
  • Invest in a basic alarm system with shock sensors

With an alarm, if a vehicle is bothered, a sensor sends a signal indicating movement of the vehicle. Alarms go off with sounds that range from a warning horn beep to a full-scale alarm based on the amount of movement detected.

Take a moment to protect your vehicle. Your wallet will thank you for it!

About the Author: Jason Lancaster wants you avoid losing your catalytic converter by following this advice, you can follow his writing on the ExhaustVideos.com blog to learn more about vehicle exhaust systems.