Why catalytic converters are being stolen and what you can do about it
Cooley On Cars
Theft of catalytic converters.
It's off the charts these days.
Let's find out why they take these things and frankly, how to get them to take someone else's
Theft of cars is real and weigh up.
I'd be surprised if you don't know somebody in your neighborhood has had theirs ripped off.
Few years ago, we'd only see maybe one a week one a month.
Now it's well yeah One a day two, sometimes three a day.
It's absolutely crazy.>>Don Johnson runs Johnny Franklin's an institution among exhaust shops in the San Francisco area.We came down here when there were two cars on the lift getting stolen.
Cats replaced Well we've been here, two more came in.
This is a second generation Prius.
There's actually two converters on the car, there's one that goes here, and then one right up here.
But what they do is actually come in with a Sawzall, cut it right here.
Cut the sensor wire that goes and tell us if the converter is doing its job and then they just unbolt it right up at the manifold, and away they go.
How long do you think that took?
Well, i've seen some ring doorbell videos from customers.
I'd say a minute and a half, maybe two minutes.
Pretty darn quick.
Look how fast you can cut through an exhaust pipe with a common reciprocating saw.
The next morning you come out and your mild mannered Priya sounds like this.
Cost to fix, plenty.
It's getting near $1,000 because the cost of the converters just keeps going up.
Some are more because you have to buy more components like the special oxygen sensor for the car.
Some of those oxygen sensors are like $500 higher and more expensive side your $3,000 starting $200.
As you might imagine, there's now a vibrant cottage industry making plates and guards that can be installed under your car to keep thieves away from your cat.
Now catalytic converter is like a little oven that re cooks and converts with a catalyst The exhaust coming out of your engine.
From something really nasty into something not so nasty.
They've been coming on cars since the mid to late 70s.
Here's what makes them work though.
Precious metals that are deposited.
Can you see in there?
Just inside on that very fine honeycomb to create lots of area for the metal to react with the exhaust.
You probably had no idea there were precious metals dangling under the belly of your car, but thieves do.
It's not a ton of it.
You're not gonna get this stuff out and make a wedding ring.
Maybe a few grams, three, four or five grams inside of a catalytic converter, but it's platinum, palladium and rhodium.
Rhodium as of today is going for like $28,000 an ounce.
These aren't being stolen to be reinstalled in some other car.
That's not really the end game here.
It's more about what they call washing, getting the precious metals out of here.
But trust me, the guy was the saws or doesn't have the facilities to do that.
There's some kind of an interesting market where these things are going elsewhere.
A New York Times report recently estimated that the auto industry spends $40 billion a year on those precious metals to go into cars new use and repair parts that recall back in the day when they were stealing batteries, so we used to put chains and locks on our hoods to keep them from being opened enough.
I kid you not During the fuel crises in the seventies, they were stealing all of our gas, siphoning it out of tubes at night, and everyone had a locking gas cap.
I've got some older cars that don't have locking ignitions.
You know, these things, the club, modern cars don't need them, but anything older and you have this dumb thing on your steering wheel.
Detachable car stereo faceplates, date back to the golden age of, car audio upgrades back in the 80s.
And the car audio thefts that inspired.
Like most of their past epidemics of auto parts theft, this one too should pass.
I just don't know when.
So in the meantime, here are a few tips you can consider.
First of all Park carefully that used to mean out in a well lighted space but a whole bunch of the videos you've seen these things getting stolen are in well lighted places.
So try to put your car where it's hard to get under it if that's possible.
If you've got a high ground clearance car, you've really got to think about this talking to you truck owners because you not only have easy access to your cats, but you probably have more of them and more expensive ones.
muffler shop like this might be able to somehow write your VIN number onto your cat.
That might help the cops connect the dots that they intercept the cash of stolen ones.
And think very much about how you might get some kind of a guard plate or other apparatus that it becomes sadly common, attached to the belly of your car.
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