Catalytic Converter Theft Continues with Vans Targeted as Often as Cars

A catalytic converter is a vital part of your exhaust system that helps to ensure your car or van is not producing harmful emissions. The reason they are so popular with thieves is that they contain precious metals. In particular catalytic converters can contain palladium, platinum, and rhodium, and the street value of all of these precious metals has risen dramatically over the last few years. When you combine this with the fact that it is really quick and easy for thieves to remove a catalytic converter, you can see why thefts continue to rise.

Vans Are Targeted

The news often reports the theft of catalytic converters from cars but fails to mention how often this also happens in vans. In fact, vans and SUVs are actually more likely to have the catalytic converter stolen because they sit higher off the ground, and this gives better and easier clearance access for the thieves to get in and steal this vital piece of machinery. Clever criminals also target hybrid cars. This is because the internal combustion of a hybrid car is used less than a full diesel or petrol-engine vehicle. In turn, this means the catalytic converter gets less use, and the precious metals that they are after half become less corroded and, therefore, will be worth more.

Mainstream news stories tend to report on car thefts, and catalytic converters are most often stolen from the Toyota Auris, the Toyota Prius, the Honda CR–V and the Honda Jazz. This is thought to be because the design of these vehicles offers the most access ability for the catalytic converter.

Many Thousands Stolen

In 2019 the Metropolitan police investigated 9500 reports of catalytic converter theft. By 2021 this had risen to 15,000. It is thought that the thieves profit from the crime and use these funds in bigger criminal acts in both the UK and abroad. It is estimated that car insurance customers will pay an average of £1500 if a catalytic converter is stolen, and irritatingly the crime can also cause your car to become a write-off, meaning you need to start again and find a new vehicle.

Staying Safe

When it comes to keeping your vehicle safe from catalytic converter theft, the best advice is to ensure all white vehicles are locked in a garage or warehouse overnight. If your employees take the vehicles home, those most at risk are people who live in poorly lit and underpopulated areas. If you have to park a van on the street, try and keep the catalytic converter as close as possible to a high curb, another vehicle, or a fence. The catalytic converter is normally located on the same side as the exhaust pipe. In order to remove the catalytic converter, the thief needs to get under the car, so making this as difficult as possible helps. They require tools to unscrew bolts and sometimes even resort to power tools and cutting away the brackets.