PestSure Blog

3 minutes reading time (531 words)

Catalytic Converter Theft on the Rise

What is a catalytic converter?

An integral part of all modern gasoline powered automotive engines, the catalytic converter's job is to reduce tailpipe emissions by catalyzing exhaust gasses into compounds that are safer for the environment. Hopefully everyone remembers Chem 101.

Why is it valuable? 

Catalytic converters for gasoline-powered auto engines contain precious metals: platinum, rhodium, and palladium. A catalytic converter contains just a few grams of each, but that is all it takes to drive up the value from $300 to $1500+ depending on age and what vehicle the catalytic converter was taken from. An experienced thief only needs minutes to perform the necessary work to steal the converter and the return can be quite lucrative. However, the value can plummet to less than $100 if the thief can't sell the catalytic converter to a legitimate recycling company and instead has to sell as scrap metal. This typically happens when legitimate recyclers detect the catalytic converter was stolen and refuse to buy for fear of knowingly buying stolen goods.

Although modern diesel engines also use a catalytic converter, they do not use the same precious metals that are required by gasoline engines. These vehicles are much less susceptible to catalytic converter theft.

What can you do about it?

The best way to deter any thief is to make your possessions less valuable or less desirable to steal. This can be accomplished in a few ways:

  • Park in well-lit areas to make it harder for thieves to hide in the shadows. They're working under the vehicle so the additional light won't help them anyway, but will make them more visible before and after the act.
  • Don't park all of your vehicles in close proximity. Doing so allows the thief to hit multiple vehicles in one night before you have time to do anything about it. Not all thefts occur at night, so don’t think your vehicle is safe during the day.
  • A recent solution is also one of the cheapest. High-visibility, high-temperature spray paint can "mark" the catalytic converter and discourage its theft. The value proposition only works if the thief has a good chance of selling the product for high dollars. If they think they'll get caught in the act or at the point of sale, they'd rather look elsewhere. Once your fleet is known to be theft-deterred, we'd expect the thieves would move on to more lucrative targets down the road. 
  • Etching a portion of the VIN number of the vehicle, at least the last 8 digits, onto the cat will also help track what happens next if it is stolen. Combined with high visibility spray paint, thieves should be tempted to move on to easier targets. 
  • Chemical etching stickers are also becoming available to not only deter the thieves, but also help law enforcement track down the thieves when sold. 

Law enforcement and regulators are working to tighten up this process by requiring paper trails and proof of ownership. However, we can all do our part to slow down the thefts and keep our vehicles on the road.


Allstate - 5 ways to prevent catalytic converter theft

Catalytic Converter Scrap Price List 2022

CatEtch - Chemical Etching Stickers

Stay Informed

When you subscribe to the blog, we will send you an e-mail when there are new updates on the site so you wouldn't miss them.

Tips to Avoiding Aggressive Driving
The Heat Is On For Summer Safety


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Friday, 29 September 2023
21 September 2023
PestSure Blog
Pest control professionals often encounter challenging environments when dealing with pest infestations, which can include climbing ladders, accessing roofs, or working in confined spaces. Fall protection training helps technicians and inspectors ide...
18 August 2023
PestSure Blog
The work in the pest control industry can be physically demanding. Navigating crawl spaces and attics, climbing on ladders to inspect drop ceiling and roofs, and carrying bulky items from backpack sprayers to electrical cords, requires a certain degr...
12 July 2023
PestSure Blog
It seems simple enough. Stop at a red light or stop sign at the intersection and look both ways and you should be fine. If it was only that simple. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), on average, rear-end c...
08 June 2023
PestSure Blog
Electrical hazards are listed as the cause of 4,000 injuries annually and while only a small portion of these occur on the job, workplace electrical incidents are often more likely to be fatal, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation Internatio...
19 May 2023
PestSure Blog
A well-designed on-the-job training program is essential for ensuring that employees acquire the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their jobs effectively and safely. This is especially important in the pest control industry. At the 2022 PestS...
12 April 2023
PestSure Blog
In a recent survey from a national insurance company on perceptions and behaviors related to distracted driving, a third of business executives surveyed expect their workers to answer or participate in work-related calls while driving – and 42 percen...
14 March 2023
PestSure Blog
According to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, accidents resulting from fall protection and ladders are among the most frequently cited violations of workplace safety standards. Linda Midyett, vice president and loss control director...
09 February 2023
PestSure Blog
The difference between a big spill and a small spill often comes down to your employees’ reaction to the spill when it first occurs. A spill of pest control products needs prompt, correct, and well planned attention. Most often, a spill can be a mino...