My Catalytic Converter Was Stolen

How to prevent catalytic converter theft

Catalytic Converter
••• Clive Streeter/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

Catalytic converters are a popular target by thieves. A stolen catalytic converter can be sold from $50 to $200 depending on whether it is an OEM part and what model vehicle you own. It is part of your vehicle's exhaust system and is located between the engine and the muffler. It is usually located on the passenger side. Thieves can quickly reach under your vehicle and cut off the catalytic converter and be on their way in less than one minute.

How do I know my catalytic converter was stolen?

Even the most unsuspecting driver will probably be able to tell right away something is wrong with their vehicle if the converter is missing. When stealing a catalytic converter the muffler is disconnected, so your vehicle will sound very loud. Toxic fumes will likely be easy to smell without your converter too. The vehicle should not be driven without the catalytic converter. Have the vehicle towed to a repair shop if you think your catalytic converter has been stolen.

Will my car insurance cover my stolen catalytic converter?

Stolen catalytic converters are covered by car insurance policies if you have comprehensive coverage on your car. Your deductible will apply if you have one on your comprehensive coverage. Most people carry a minimum of $100 deductible. A $500 deductible is becoming more and more common. Check with your insurance agent to determine your deductible or check your insurance declaration page.

Repairing your vehicle could cost upwards of $1000 depending on the damage left behind by the thief and your vehicle's year make and model. Most car insurance policies will cover an after-market part. In order to get an OEM catalytic converter, you will need to have selected OEM coverage on your insurance policy or pay the difference in cost out of pocket.

Tips for preventing catalytic converter theft

Be aware catalytic converter thieves prefer vehicles which are raised off the ground. They have easier access verse a low riding car. You are also a thieve's dream vehicle if you regularly park for long periods of time at shopping centers, factories, and mass commuter parking lots. Mass commuter parking lots seem to be the most susceptible. 

  • Stick to parking in busy well-lit areas of any parking lot
  • Engrave your VIN or license plate number into the converter to make it traceable
  • Get your catalytic converter welded to your vehicle's frame at a muffler shop
  • Install a sensitive alarm on your vehicle

Being the victim of any kind of theft is very upsetting. Definitely, contact the police if you are a victim of catalytic converter theft. Do what you can to help prevent the theft. If you are still concerned with future thefts consider lowering your comprehensive deductible on your car insurance to reduce your out of pocket expense.