catalytic convertor

How to protect your catalytic converter from theft

3rd Nov, 2022

Sometimes affectionately referred to as a ‘cat’, your catalytic converter is a hugely important part of your car – far more so than many people give it credit for! Essentially, it plays a vital role in your emissions system by removing the most harmful elements of your car’s emissions, so if it goes missing, that means your vehicle can easily start producing emissions above its legal limits.

The thing is, it’s not unheard of for catalytic converters to go missing occasionally. They make a very lucrative target for thieves because of the abundance of precious metals they contain, like rhodium, palladium and platinum. They’re also (unfortunately) very expensive to replace, and some particularly unlucky drivers have found themselves shelling out thousands for them. Sometimes the job is expensive enough to write off the car entirely.

Here at Scrap Car Network, we firmly think that a theft should never be the thing that finally causes you to think – I need to scrap my car. In that spirit, here are a couple of useful tips to help you keep your catalytic converter safe.

1. Choose your parking spot very carefully

If you can, it’s always best to keep your car in a locked garage – let’s be honest, it’s pretty difficult for anyone to look like they’re just taking an innocent wander past your car in there. If you typically use on-street parking though, or if you’re out and about, you can still protect your car by being very selective with your parking.

Try and leave your car backed up against a wall if you can, or hemmed in by fences, high kerbs, or other cars. It may not be the easiest to get in and out of, but at least you can be sure that nobody’s going to find it very easy to get a jack or power tools in there (the average catalytic converter theft typically requires at least one of them).

On a similar note, try and avoid mounting the pavement on two wheels, if at all possible. Keeping all four wheel squarely on the ground once again makes it just that little bit more difficult for thieves to gain access.

2. Revitalise your home security

If you’re concerned about the possibility of your catalytic converter being stolen from your car at home, investing in your home security can give you peace of mind.

Top of the list for most people are usually a set of sturdy garage doors, CCTV systems, and alarms. Even something as simple as a motion-activated security light can be hugely effective – most thieves don’t tend to like being lit up like a Christmas tree, especially since removing the converter isn’t always an easy job.

You may even want to consider some of the more sophisticated driveway security systems, some of which will alert the police automatically when they detect an intruder. (That can make it that much more difficult for the person in question to escape, especially if they don’t realise they’ve been seen.) In all cases, keep an eye out for the Secure by Design accreditation; it’s a police-owned initiative which acts as a guaranteed seal of quality and reliability.

3. Revamp your vehicle security

If it makes you feel safer, you could focus your efforts on your vehicle itself, with locks and guards for the underside. Before we go any further though, we should say – it really is important to first check with your insurer, as some of these changes can technically be classed as car modifications, which can invalidate some policies.

If you’d prefer your garage to do the work for you – it’s often safer that way – you may find they’re able to fit a dedicated cage over the catalytic converter. Or else, they might be able to weld the bolts shut, making them considerably more difficult to loosen. It’s probably all chargeable time though!

4. Mark your catalytic converter

Alongside some of the measures we’ve outlined above, one simple and often effective tactic is to mark the catalytic converter itself. It’s not going to prevent it from being stolen, but it can make it easy to identify, and much more difficult for thieves to sell to Authorised Treatment Facilities for scrap. The Scrap Metal Dealers Act makes it very tricky to sell them anonymously, as it obligates scrap metal dealers to collect basic information from sellers. That way, if they later realise the catalytic converter has been stolen, they can pass those details on to police.

These are just a few of the handiest tips, directly from the experts. It’s probably not going to be hugely practical (or cheap!) to implement them all at once, but even one or two could make all the difference to protecting your car.

And on the day when your beloved motor does finally pack it in (hopefully for non-catalytic-converter-related reasons), rest assured we’re always here to help you get the very best price for it. Just enter your car reg and postcode into the fields on our site, and you’ll be looking at your very own instant scrap car quote in no time. Ready to find out how much your car is worth?

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