Thefts of catalytic converters have increased by nearly 400 percent since 2020! But why are thieves after it? Is it true that some car types are more vulnerable to theft than others? All of this and more can be found in the sections below.

Catalytic converters have been stolen from automobiles, trucks, and buses at an alarming rate recently. The precious metals used to make these pollution control devices are extremely valuable. When we think of auto thieves, we normally think of them going for high-value, high-end luxury cars and SUVs that they can chop up and sell.

We rarely consider criminals targeting “normal” cars unless they are looking for something inside the vehicle, such as a stereo, speaker system, or valuables that we have left behind by accident (and in plain sight). Nobody considers burglars targeting vehicles for the purpose of stealing exhaust components, particularly catalytic converters.

Which Vehicles Are Most Frequently Targeted for Catalytic Converter Theft?

About 26,000 cat converters got stolen in the United States alone between January and May 2021. This equates to 5200 catalytic converter thefts per month, a 122 percent raise over the already alarmingly high rate of theft in 2020. Criminals aren’t just getting down on their knees, slipping underneath any ordinary car, and yanking out the catalytic converter before fleeing into the night. No, according to studies, criminals appear to be concentrating their efforts on a small number of vehicles. They’re looking for these automobiles since it’s so simple to disconnect the catalytic converter in record time and get away with it (at least from their perspective). The most popular automobiles chosen for catalytic converter theft nowadays are listed below.

Toyota

In the United States, the Toyota Prius is the most commonly targeted vehicle for catalytic converter theft. There are a few reasons why thieves prefer this vehicle, but the most important is because it is so popular and there are several of them on the road. This familiarises thieves with the exhaust system, allowing them to rapidly dismantle the project and, with enough practice, get in and out with minimal time wasted and minimal extra tools.

But there’s something else about this Toyota automobile that makes it such a tempting target for these criminals: it’s ecologically friendly! Because the gasoline engine in this hybrid isn’t used as frequently as a full-fledged gasoline vehicle, the catalytic converter suffers less damage.

Because the cat converter does not have to work as hard, it lasts longer, which means there are more precious metals in the system. Other Toyota automobiles are also targeted by criminals in order to steal the catalytic converter.

The Toyota 4Runner, Tacoma, and Tundra are all excellent choices.

These vehicles are being targeted because of their excellent fuel economy (which helps to safeguard the catalytic converter when compared to other options) and their higher seating position.

Thieves will have an easier time getting under the vehicle, stealing the cat converter, and fleeing quickly.

Lexus

Lexus vehicles are also popular targets, which should come as no surprise. After all, Lexus automobiles are simply premium versions of Toyota choices that are going off the assembly line.

The Lexus SUV series is distinguished by vivid red bull’s-eyes on the exhaust system. Thieves enjoy ripping them open and stealing the cat con whenever they get the chance.

Honda

Catalytic converter thieves are also targeting Honda automobiles, particularly the Element and Accord. Researchers believe it has something to do with Honda automobiles’ general fuel economy and efficiency.

These automobiles, like Toyota, have a reputation for not being gas guzzlers and for being much more environmentally friendly. As a result, the cat converters will not be as damaging as those on vehicles from other manufacturers. Honda cars, such as the Element and Accord, for example, offer significantly greater fuel efficiency than comparable Chevy and Ford vehicles.

That indicates that, on average, cat converters in Honda vehicles are in better health (and contain more valuable metals) than those in Chevy and Ford vehicles.

Late-model trucks and SUVs are preferred by thieves

Ultimately, because these are opportunity crimes, criminals are often eager to steal a catalytic converter from any late-model vehicle or SUV they come across. Late-model vehicles are chosen because catalytic converters have not been subjected to as much abuse as older vehicles. If you can find a vehicle or SUV that is fresh off the production line (or close to it), it will retain a significant amount of the precious metals inside.

The reason they target trucks and SUVs is also something we discussed just a few moments ago. Because of the added height of these cars, they can work underneath the vehicle without having to use jacks, sliders, or a lot of other tools. They are usually able to go in and exit without being detected.

Car Models with the Least Catalytic Converter Thefts

Catalytic converter thieves target hybrid automobiles since the converters are in better condition because the cars emit fewer toxins. Because they did not have converters, all cars made before 1974 are the least likely to fall prey to converter thieves.

The government, on the other hand, cleaned up the vehicles by mandating that all cars have converters. Cars with fewer valuable metals are less likely to have their converters stolen, but that doesn’t mean they won’t.

Cars with bead catalytic converters, for example, fetch little to no money in the scrap yard and hence are unlikely to fall into the hands of criminals. Furthermore, because they are devoid of valuable metals, diesel converters are worthless. Aside from those vehicles, newer models, such as Honda’s 2015 Accord and Jazz, have their catalytic converters located inside the engine compartment, making them more difficult to steal.

The least valuable converters are found in Ford, Chevy, Jeep, Dodge, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Hyundai, and Chrysler. Thieves may not consider stealing converters because they are worthless due to the lack of valuable metals.

Although the chances of a thief removing the converters from these cars are slim, you should take care of your vehicle because you never know when a burglar might steal other automotive parts. Even when the price is low, all pickups and SUVs are vulnerable to converter theft; therefore, it is preferable to maintain these vehicles.

Because electric cars do not release gaseous chemicals, they do not require catalytic converters. The car is recharged by plugging it into a power source, and it does not use diesel or fuel. Catalytic converters are not utilized in cars like the Audi E-Tron, BMW i3, Jaguar I-Pace, Kia Soul EV, Tesla models, and Volkswagen e-Golf, which are prevalent electric cars today.