More than 150,000 catalytic converters were stolen in 2022 and the problem may be underreported, data shows
(KTLA) – The rise in catalytic converter thefts in America has been a nuisance to law enforcement and car owners for several years. Now new data from Carfax shows just how much worse the problem has gotten.
The vehicle data company, known for tracking repairs and accidents on vehicles across the country, looked at catalytic converter replacements from millions of service records to estimate the number of thefts in 2022: 153,000 , an increase of 2% over the previous year.
The number is quite alarming and Carfax suggests the problem has been underestimated in the past.
While most reports of the total number of catalytic converters focus only on insurance claims, Carfax says its data scientists reviewed all replacements, including those that were replaced due to a deterioration, defect or recall, and arrived at the figure of 153,000.
Carfax said it believes the number of thefts reported to the media grossly underestimates the scale of the problem because many car owners do not file insurance claims. The possible explanation for this is that some drivers do not have full coverage on older vehicles or some have no insurance at all.
For those who don’t have the full coverage to have their catalytic converters replaced, they might be looking at a repair cost of around $2,000 or $3,000 or even more.
The essential element of automotive technology is used to filter harmful by-products from your car’s exhaust. They use precious metals like platinum, palladium and rhodium to achieve this. These metals can sell for hundreds to thousands of dollars an ounce.
A catalytic converter can sell for between $25 and $300 for an average vehicle, says Carfax, and up to $1,400 for hybrid vehicles.
Hybrid catalytic converters tend to contain more precious metals than the standard vehicle, which is why hybrids are among the most targeted vehicles for catalytic converter thefts. The vehicle most targeted by these thefts in California is the most popular hybrid on the road: the Toyota Prius.
Law enforcement officials say you can greatly reduce your chances of having your catalytic converter stolen by following a few simple tips, including parking in well-lit areas or inside covered garages, keeping keeping an eye on where your vehicle is parked, installing an aftermarket security device, or having a local dealer engrave your VIN number on the vehicle part.
If your converter is stolen, you will notice it right away. Your vehicle will be loud, slow, and smelly, and the check engine light will likely come on. If this happens, call local authorities and check with your insurance company to see if replacement is covered.
Certain vehicles are more susceptible to thieves and Carfax has compiled a list of the most commonly targeted vehicles.
Ford F-Series pickups were the most targeted vehicles in the country, as well as the Midwest and the South. The Prius was the big casualty out west, and the Honda CRV was the No. 1 target in New England and the mid-Atlantic states.
For a full list of targeted cars, click here.
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