Catalytic converter thefts have surged by a staggering 104% on average between 2019 and 2020, according to consumer group Which? This calls for consumers to put safety measures in place to protect themselves from falling victim to catalytic converter thieves.
A catalytic converter makes up part of your vehicle’s exhaust system,and processes the emissions from a combustion engine into less harmful gasses. But why are they at such a high risk to be stolen?
You’ll find these vehicle components are made up of a combination of precious metals such as rhodium, platinum and palladium, and due to a lack of mining during the pandemic and a surge in demand for private vehicles, the value of these metals has risen considerably. Palladium is currently more valuable than gold, pushing the price of a catalytic converter on the black market above and beyond £500.
Which vehicle is most at risk?
The most desirable vehicles are those slightly older petrol-hybrid vehicles due to hybrid vehicle systems having a lower workload, meaning the catalytic converters will be in better condition than pure petrol vehicles. Models that have shown to have fallen victim to catalytic converter thefts are Toyota Auris, Toyota Prius, Honda Jazz and Honda Accord - if you own one of these vehicles, be sure to take the correct precautions.
Taller vehicles, such as 4x4s are also at higher risk, due to the increased accessibility to the underneath of the vehicle.
What can I do to prevent thefts?
To help protect your car from catalytic converter thefts, police forces across the country have issued some advice.
- If possible, park your vehicle in a locked garage when at home
- Park close to fences, walls or kerbs, with the exhaust situated closest to the barrier to make it harder for thieves to access.
- Avoid mounting your car on a kerb, the higher your vehicle is off the ground, the easier it is for your catalytic converter to be accessed
- If your catalytic converter is bolted on, ask a local garage to weld the bolts to make it more difficult to remove
- Consider a ‘cage clamp’ which locks around the converter
- Enquire into installing a tilt alarm, which will notify you when the car is lifted or tilted
- If parking in a public car park, park alongside other cars, or situate the bumper close to other parked cars