Catalytic converters are a component of every vehicle's exhaust system. A catalytic converter is a device that converts toxic chemicals produced by your vehicle into relatively harmless gasses before they are emitted into the atmosphere. Catalytic converters contain precious metals like platinum, palladium, and rhodium. Thieves steal these devices and sell them on the black market where they are later harvested for their precious metals at illegal processing facilities. The cost to replace a catalytic converter ranges between $500 and $4,000 depending on factors such as the type of vehicle you own and your insurance coverage.
Catalytic converters are typically located underneath vehicles in the center of the undercarriage. Traditionally, SUVs and trucks have been targeted because their high clearance makes it easy for thieves to gain access. Recently, Toyota Priuses have been targeted as they are easy to jack up and contain more of the precious metals thieves desire.
If your catalytic converter is stolen, you should drive it straight to your preferred mechanic/muffler shop. You will know if your catalytic converter has been removed because your car will make a loud rumbling noise. Many different security devices can be installed to deter thieves from targeting your vehicle at a fraction of the cost of a full replacement.
Park your vehicle in a secure garage.
If you don't have a secure garage, park your car in areas easily seen by passers-by.
Park in well lit areas.
If possible, park near security cameras.
Install motion sensing lights in your driveway.
Install a catalytic converter protection device.
Etch your car's VIN number or license plate number on the converter to make it easier to identify a ring of thieves in the future.