Rise in catalytic converter thefts fills up dealership service departments

There has been a sharp raise in the quantity of catalytic converters getting stolen across the country, resulting in motor vehicles stacking up in dealership support departments as customers endure high priced and prolonged repairs and producers, law enforcement and legislators lookup for a way to control the thefts.

The Nationwide Insurance plan Criminal offense Bureau stated there were 14,433 catalytic converter thefts reported in the U.S. in 2020, the past yr figures were available. That’s a fourfold boost from 3,389 theft situations reported in 2019. In 2018, there had been just 1,298 thefts described. Officers hinted that 2021 figures could present a remarkable increase.

On one day in April in Houston, AutoNation Toyota Gulf Freeway had 66 autos ready to have their catalytic converters replaced following intruders stole them. Two of those automobiles were back for a 2nd time after becoming specific all over again.

While any vehicle can slide prey to burglars, some Toyota styles are coveted for the reason that their catalytic converters have a increased focus of important metals than people of other producers, so they command bigger charges.

Pickups such as Toyota’s Tundra and Tacoma are well known with converter bandits due to the fact they can have up to 4 converters and sit relatively large off the ground. That makes it a lot easier for robbers to slip underneath and use a cordless saw to remove the mufflerlike converters, claimed Craig Fletcher, assistance director at AutoNation Toyota Gulf Freeway. Toyota Prius hybrids and SUVs and selected Honda four-cylinder autos are also specifically prized, as are Ford F-Sequence and Ram 1500 pickups.

“It’s been a frequent issue for the past 12 months,” Fletcher claimed. “Around a year in the past, the selling price of the products that Toyota utilizes for the converters went by the roof.”

Catalytic converters incorporate just a several grams of expensive metals these kinds of as platinum, palladium and rhodium. The scarce things react with combustion gases to lessen the amount of hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide in a vehicle’s exhaust.

Rhodium’s present-day market place price is about $16,600 per ounce. Platinum is trading for all over $919 an ounce, while palladium is in the neighborhood of $2,200 per ounce.

The skyrocketing benefit of the converters can make thorough auto coverage a will have to-have, explained Sgt. Tracy Hicks of the Houston Law enforcement Department’s Car Theft Crime Activity Power. Changing catalytic converters can run as superior as $11,000, depending on the car and any collateral hurt to merchandise such as wiring and fuel, transmission or coolant lines.

Hicks stated specified Toyota converters were bringing $2,000 when the price tag of the metals skyrocketed past year.

Dependent on the marketplace rate of metals, the powertrain and variety of automobile, recyclers will pay up to $1,500 for a single catalytic converter, claimed Doug Seliger, advertising and marketing director of PGM of Texas, which specializes in catalytic converter recycling. A set of four Tundra converters, for instance, is currently bringing $500 to $1,000, he claimed.