In Under 2 Minutes: Catalytic Converter Theft

You walk out to your cars and truck and it’s gone. Not your car itself, the navigation system and even your mobile phone. The “it” is your catalytic converter. If you don’t happen to see it immediately, the minute you begin your automobile, you will. The sound has actually been referred to as “a deep loud noise,” “an unmistakable holler,” and even like “a Harley Davidson.”

Dan McColl of Upland, California, remembers when it took place to him.

“When I got out of the gym, I launched my truck and it sounded like there was a hot rod in the parking lot,” stated McColl. “In truth, I didn’t even think it was my truck initially. However when I cut the engine and it stopped, I knew that it was me. I had the ability to drive it, but it was like the gas wasn’t actually engaging. I owned it to the mechanic and he was able to inform me right away that the catalytic converter had been taken.”

The catalytic converter was mandated for all U.S. cars and trucks and trucks in 1975, to convert harmful contaminants into less hazardous emissions before they left the exhaust system. Valuable metals such as platinum, palladium, rhodium or gold are used as the driver. Depending on which metal was used, thieves can offer the converters to metal recyclers for $20-$200. The recyclers then extract the metal and resell it for as much as $6,000 an ounce, as when it comes to rhodium. While nationwide theft figures are not taped for catalytic converter theft, the criminal offense has actually risen in tandem with dramatically increasing metal prices.

The unfortunate lorry owner will have to pay $1,000 or more for a replacement converter to be installed, depending on parts and labor charges. If the thief damages the lorry’s electrical wiring or fuel line at the same time, the vehicle might be left in a dangerous state and cost far more to fix. If the burglar takes your converter without triggering extra damage, you need to still have the ability to drive your lorry, however you’ll have to install a replacement converter as quickly as possible if the law still requires one. Ironically, throughout the writing of this article, a catalytic converter was taken from a Toyota truck coming from the brother-in-law of Director of Car Testing Dan Edmunds. The quote to change it was $1,200, however since there is no smog testing program in the rural county in which he lives, he’s not sure he’ll replace it.

An Easy Grab and Go

Burglars can remove a catalytic converter quickly, frequently in less than 2 minutes, so theft can even occur in broad daytime. The only tools a burglar requirements are a wrench (for converters that are bolted on) or a reciprocating saw (for converters that are welded in). Some burglars bring a mechanic’s climber. Then all they do is slide under the car, eliminate the bolts holding the converter, and take it. Thieves can remove the system within a minute or 2.

Normally, catalytic converters are taken from automobiles and trucks in driveways, shopping center or in parking garages. “Anywhere cars and trucks are exposed,” says Detective Abram Yap of the Long Beach Police Department.

The most commonly struck automobiles are SUVs and trucks, particularly late-model Toyotas, because they sit higher off the ground (making for simpler access) and the bolts that connect the converter are easily removed. Yap states his department has been seeing more Nissans targeted too.

Rudy Espinoza, wholesale parts manager for Browse City Nissan in Huntington Beach, concurs, keeping in mind an uptick in requests from owners of older-model Nissan Frontiers. “It’s insane,” he states. “We get calls, “What does it cost? is a catalytic converter? Mine was stolen!”

The best ways to Avoid Catalytic Converter Theft

There are a few alternatives that might assist prevent this kind of theft. Some mechanics recommend welding the heads on the catalytic converter bolts —– or just shearing them off.

The aftermarket has reacted by creating items to prevent and avoid catalytic converter theft. The concept behind such gadgets is that if it takes too long to make the steal, the burglars will move on to much easier pickings. The CatClamp, for example, which begins at $150, is a hard-to-defeat cage installed around the catalytic converter. This product can be installed by a mechanic or at home with a consisted of specialized tool and is backed by a money-back guarantee.

While most owners do not offer much thought to their catalytic converter, those with automobiles high off the ground may wish to hesitate. It’s constantly better to park in well-lit or protected public parking area, and to park your vehicle in your house garage if possible. Owners whose cars have simple clearance beneath may want to take it a step even more with an aftermarket item. Taking these preventive procedures will hopefully prevent thieves and keep your car running smoothly.

Disclosure: Detective Abram Yap is the author’s partner and assisted add to this story.

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