When you get out to sit in your car, it’s gone. It’s not your car, your GPS system, or even your phone. Your catalytic converter is the “it.” If you don’t notice it right away, you will as soon as you start your automobile. Here you will get all the information about how long it takes to steal a catalytic converter by thieves and the benefits they get after stealing such converters.

In 1975, all new vehicles and trucks in the United States were required to have a catalytic converter, which converted dangerous pollutants into less harmful emissions before they exited the exhaust system. The catalyst is made of precious metals like platinum, palladium, rhodium, or gold. The converters can be sold to metal recyclers for $20-$200 depending on the metal utilized. As in the case of rhodium, the recyclers extract the metal and resale it for up to $6,000 per ounce. While national theft numbers for catalytic converter theft are not available, the crime has increased in lockstep with drastically rising metal prices.

Depending on parts and labor costs, the unfortunate vehicle owner will have to pay $1,000 or more to have a replacement converter fitted. If the thief breaks the vehicle’s wiring or fuel line in the process, the vehicle may be rendered unsafe and repair costs will be much higher. You should be able to drive your vehicle if the thief steals your converter without causing any extra harm, but you’ll need to install a replacement converter as quickly as possible if the law still needs one.

A quick Grab and Go process

Catalytic converter theft can happen in broad daylight because catalytic converter thieves can steal them rapidly, frequently in less than two minutes. A wrench (for bolted-on converters) or a reciprocating saw is the only tools a thief requires (for converters that are welded in). A mechanic’s creeper is brought by some robbers. Then they simply slide under the vehicle, unscrew the nuts that keep the converter in place, and remove it. The unit can be stolen in a matter of minutes.

Cat converters are frequently stolen from vehicles in driveways, strip malls, and parking garages. “Cars are exposed anywhere,” says Long Beach Police Department Detective Abram Yap.

SUVs and trucks, particularly late-model Toyotas, are the most frequently struck vehicles since they sit higher off the ground (making entry simpler) and the nuts that attach the converter are easily removed. Nissans have also been targeted, according to Yap’s department.

Why Thieves Steal Catalytic Converters?

The catalytic converter is a component of the exhaust system of a vehicle. As they consume fuel, both gas and diesel engines produce gases. Rare elements such as palladium, platinum, and rhodium are used in catalytic converters to process and neutralize gases.

These rare elements not only make the cat converter effective but also make it a prominent target for theft. A catalytic converter’s rare metals can sell for thousands of dollars per ounce. Thieves may steal catalytic converters in order to extract and sell the metals contained within them.

In some circumstances, a burglar may wish to resell the component. Converters can retail for over a thousand dollars in various markets.

Money making opportunity for thieves

An experienced burglar with an electric saw can steal your converter in less than 30 seconds.

Used cat converters range in price from $25 to $1000+ at scrap yards, depending on the make and model.

Convertibles found in Priuses and huge Ford vehicles contain more metals and attract far higher prices, making them more vulnerable to theft.

However, many scrapyards now require vendors to show confirmation of identity when selling used converters, forcing crooks to find other ways to sell them.

Here’s what happens to your converter after it’s taken in the criminal underworld:

  • On average, the burglar sells it for $200 to a well-connected middleman.
  • The middleman collects 10-20 converters and sells them to an underground decanter in bulk.
  • The decanter removes the ceramic honeycomb from the converters by cutting them open.
  • The valuable metals and precious metals are removed, distilled, and sold to manufacturers from this honeycomb at an illegal smelter.

Sign of catalytic converter theft

If your catalytic converter is missing, you’ll hear a loud rumbling or roaring sound as soon as you start the engine. When you step on the gas, this becomes louder. Because the exhaust system isn’t working properly, the vehicle drives rougher than usual, sputtering frequently as you change speeds. Examine the undercarriage at the back of the vehicle. The catalytic converter is a circular canister in the exhaust system that links two segments of piping. If the converter is missing, you’ll notice a large hole in the middle of your exhaust, as well as traces of piping being cut away.