How to prevent catalytic converter theft?

15 November 2022 | Van Security

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VDL discuss how to prevent catalytic converter theft?

Catalytic converter theft isn’t a new crime but is becoming a trending crime due to the precious metals found within them. If your an expert, these can be removed in as little as 60 seconds. The harsh truth is no matter what vehicle you possess, if it has a catalytic converter, it is at risk of theft.

Catalytic converter theft – what you need to know

As car owners, you don’t regularly check underneath your vehicle before your drive – you just drive! So how do you know if you start your daily commute that your Catalytic converter has been stolen? Well, you’ll experience an excessive amount of noise from your engine and noxious fumes will be coming from underneath your vehicle, so you’ll know pretty much immediately.

So why are they suddenly so popular to steal and what do they actually do?

Located in the exhaust system, the catalytic converter helps clean the emissions on a diesel or petrol-powered engine. Most are found underneath the car and are merely fastened in place by bolts that are easily undone and removed. Thieves will occasionally choose to cut them off, but this happens much less frequently than most people are led to believe.

The traces of valuable and rare metals found in catalytic converters are frequently blamed for the theft (palladium, rhodium, and platinum). This might be the case in some situations; however, most thefts are assumed to be committed to feeding the illicit market for spare parts. A good condition, genuine stolen part can sell for as much as half the price of a new replacement exhaust, and the buyer won’t know that it’s been stolen.

With thieves taking hardly any time to steal this sought-after part, it’s a profitable, quick and easy hit, however, it is becoming an increasingly large inconvenience for the car owner. Some vehicle owners are seeing their vehicles being written off due to the damage it’s caused to the vehicle as its been removed.

So all in all, what precautions can we take to prevent this from happening in the first place?

Van Catalyic Converter

What cars are most targeted?

Hybrid vehicles have been commonly targeted for catalytic converters as they tend to have a higher concentration of valuable metals than average cars.

It means the catalytic theft phenomenon has seen vehicles like the Toyota Auris, Toyota Prius, and Honda Jazz increasingly popular for its catalytic converter.

Because they are less susceptible to corrosion than ordinary cars, vehicles with great fuel efficiency typically contain more precious metals. An electric motor relieves the gasoline engine and, consequently, the catalytic converter, of a significant amount of pressure in a hybrid vehicle.

The good news is, that since this growing crime, manufacturers have started to change the design of catalytic converters to but thieves off, so the newest models of hybrid don’t tend to be obvious targets.

Cars and Commercial Vehicles

Commercial vehicles are just as much of a target as they are just as easy to remove from the vehicle – any win is a quick, profitable win. SUVs and crossover vehicles that are higher off the road, are relatively easy for thieves to access catalytic converters. According to the NPCC (National Police Chief’s Council), over 15,000 catalytic converters were stolen in the first HALF of 2021 alone.


There are always steps you can take to make catalytic converter theft less likely:

Alarms and Cameras

Thieves don’t like to be interrupted. If your car has an alarm installed, get a sticker on your windows to indicate this! Anything CCTV related is also beneficial. Ring doorbells are now a hot favourite to be installed at home as it is a simple way to warn criminals that they will be caught on camera. Seeing a dashcam in your vehicle could also be a good deterrent.


The most obvious way to prevent your catalytic converter from being taken is by parking your vehicle in a garage, but not everyone has this luxury. So, when you are parking your vehicle, always make sure the area is well-lit to deter criminals. Fitting a security light outside your home might be a quick fix.  A top tip is parking your vehicle close to fences or walls simply because to steal the catalytic converter, you need to get under the car.

Invisible Watermarking

There has been an increase in garages etching the serial number on the catalytic converts or an invisible watermark on them so the owners can easily identify them if they get stolen to catch out criminals – something that criminals now look out for before they remove the catalytic converter from a vehicle.

Anti-Theft Devices

There are many aftermarket anti-theft devices that have emerged since the rise in catalytic converter theft. These make it physically more difficult to remove from the vehicle. If your vehicle isn’t hybrid, Van Deadlock Solutions sell the ever-popular CAT GUARD which is vehicle specific and includes a staggering 5 YEAR WARRENTY!

We hope after reading this article you know some tips on how to prevent catalytic converter theft. For more security advice specific to your vehicle, call Van Deadlock Solutions today on 0333 370 3257