Which Cars Are Most and Least Likely to Have Catalytic Converters Stolen?

Find out which vehicles are most and least likely to be targeted by catalytic converter thieves. Learn what makes a vehicle more or less susceptible to this type of theft

Cars Most And Least Targeted For Catalytic Converter Theft

You might not think about the possibility of your catalytic converter being stolen when you first buy a car, but you probably should.

As it turns out, some car models are more likely to be targeted by thieves than others, and they are often very expensive to replace.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at which cars are most and least likely to have their catalytic converters stolen. So if you’re concerned about this potential threat, read on!

Why Do Thieves Steal Catalytic Converters?

In many cars, it’s easy to access the catalytic converter. With an angle grinder, it can be quickly removed, requiring only a couple of minutes to accomplish. Inside the catalytic converter are precious and rare minerals that cost a lot of money.

Today, palladium continues to cost $2,500 per ounce, and this is just one of the minerals found inside catalytic converters. In fact, this price has skyrocketed right past the value of gold. 

Cars Least Likely to Have Catalytic Converter Stolen

Cars with the catalytic converter installed in the engine compartment are much less likely to have it stolen. Many American and some Asian car brands tend to have less valuable catalysts. You can also buy an electric, diesel, or an older car without a catalytic converter installed.

1. Certain Brand Cars

American brands such as Ford, Chevy, Jeep, Dodge, and Chrysler tend to have less valuable catalytic converters and are therefore less likely to get stolen. Some Nissan, Hyundai, Mazda, and Subaru models also fall into this category.

Many brands used cat designs that limited how many precious metals were inside. Thieves tend to do enough research to know to stay away from these brands.

2. Cars with Converters in the Engine Compartment

Several cars have installed the catalytic converter in the engine compartment instead of further back on the car’s exhaust system. This design makes it much more difficult for a thief to steal it.

No thief wants to put in the extra work to get to these cats, so they will move on to a different model. Many car models like Audi, BMW, Honda, and Volkswagen models fall into this category.

3. Cars Built Before 1974

If you are driving a car that was manufactured before 1974, you don’t need to worry about catalytic converter theft. None of these vehicles have a catalytic converter installed. 

After that time, the government took action to clean up the emissions. Therefore, it became mandatory for vehicles to have a catalytic converter. 

4. Electric Cars

Catalytic converters clean up the gas or diesel fuel emissions. Therefore, there’s no catalytic converter on cars that rely on electric power instead.

Because the car isn’t emitting gaseous waste, there’s nothing to clean. Plugging into a power source to charge the battery isn’t going to use any gas or diesel power. Volkswagen e-gold, Audi E-Tron, and Tesla models are some popular choices.

5. Diesel Vehicles

The diesel vehicle uses a different type of catalytic converter than gasoline vehicles. Most converter thieves know that these aren’t worth as much as gas catalytic converters.

Diesel converters or so-called particle filters aren’t normally constructed with rhodium, palladium, or platinum. Since these are the precious metals that thieves are looking for, they will often move on from the diesel vehicle.

RELATED: Do Diesel Engines Have Catalytic Converters?

6. Cars with Bead Converters

Bead cats are filled with beads. Most expert thieves know which cars contain these catalytic converters because they aren’t worth anything, even though they are larger in size.

Chevy was known for using a bead converter. Additionally, some other GM models can be found with this type.

RELATED: How Much Does a Catalytic Converter Replacement Cost?

Cars Most Likely to Have Catalytic Converters Stolen

The cars that are most likely to have their catalytic converter stolen are hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius. Trucks and SUVs are also very targeted due to the large engines (valuable catalysts) and the high ground clearance, which provides easy access to the catalytic converter.

1. Hybrid Cars

If the vehicle is focused on providing clean emissions, the converter is likely more expensive. To keep the environment cleaner, the automaker will install cats with higher concentrations of palladium. 

Additionally, because the car already runs cleaner with the help of an electric motor, the cats aren’t used heavily. Of course, this design also adds to a higher price for the car. Toyota Prius is one of those examples that are highly targeted to catalytic converter thefts.

2. Trucks & SUVs

There are two reasons that larger SUVs and trucks tend to be targeted. The bigger engine requires a more valuable cat for emissions standards. 

Additionally, the height of the vehicle makes it easier for thieves to reach the catalytic converter. With less time needed to get the job done and a good payday ahead, these are some of the most targeted vehicles. Ford F-250 and Toyota Tacoma are two great examples of this.

3. Luxury Cars

Many luxury cars have very valuable catalysts and sometimes more than one per engine due to the V-10 or V12 engines. If you look at the most expensive catalytic converters on the road today, you will see that the Ferrari F430 converter can fetch a price of over $3,500. Plus, this car contains two converters, making it a great payday for the unethical person.

Lamborghinis are also known for having expensive catalytic converters. Some of the lineup’s cats can sell for more than $3,000. However, these cars usually have a very low ground clearance and are often parked in a garage, so it’s more difficult for thieves to steal those.

4. Older Vehicles

If you get a car that’s a couple of decades old but still after -74, you are going to see more costly catalytic converters installed. That’s because the overall eco-friendliness of this vehicle wasn’t a top concern. 

These cars contain larger catalytic converters with a higher level of metals included because of how poorly the emissions were. These are going to be more valuable than any off of a newer, more efficient car. 

Ways to Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft

1. Choose Vehicle Wisely

Before you purchase a vehicle, do some research to see how much it is targeted. If you are considering two different models, this could be the deciding factor. 

This is an important step to consider, especially if you are strapped for cash. If you put out the last of your money to purchase a car, you won’t have the funds to replace the catalytic converter if it gets stolen. 

2. Install Anti-Theft Device

There are different anti-theft devices you can install to prevent the cats from being stolen. Some people choose the steel shield that makes it harder to remove. 

There are also steel cages and steel cables that can be attached. Either way, you might spend $200 to $750 to have one of these devices installed. 

READ MORE: How To Protect Your Car Against Catalytic Converter Theft

3. Park Wisely

Obviously, the best place to park your vehicle is in the garage, where thieves can’t get to it. However, covered parking isn’t always feasible, especially when you are out and about. 

When you park in a public location, make sure it is busy and well-lit. This step protects your catalytic converter and you car, in general, from any theft or vandalism. 

4. Paint the Converter

Consider painting your catalytic converter a unique color. You could use something fluorescent, making the catalytic converter easier to identify.

You can also make it less attractive by painting or removing the VIN on the converter. Most thieves know they will have a harder time selling one of these. 

5. Install a Car Alarm

If you can adjust the sensitivity of a car alarm, this could be your best defense. Many car alarms will offer settings that go off when people get close to the vehicle.

The key here is to ensure you don’t become complacent with how much more the alarm goes off. You will need to continue taking every alarm seriously and check out what’s going on.

Insurance

Having the right car insurance for your car is important when it comes to catalytic theft. For example, if you have comprehensive coverage, it covers catalytic theft and the cost of a new replacement catalyst. So it is important to check these things before you get insurance for your vehicle if you are worried about catalytic converter thefts.

READ MORE: 10 Tips for Cutting Car Insurance Costs