Several cars parked alongside a pavement in a residential area

Protect your vehicle against catalytic converter thieves

Thefts of catalytic converters from cars have risen alarmingly in the previous year, so what can you do to prevent this problem?

Unfortunately, criminal gangs are always looking for new ways to make money and vehicle catalytic converters are the latest target. Drivers sometimes have to pay thousands to replace a stolen converter to make their vehicle road-legal again. If the repairs are claimed for through your insurance, policyholders can face fault claims against their policies if the perpetrators are not caught and the cost of the repairs is not recovered in full.

Most petrol cars manufactured after 1992 and diesel cars manufactured after 2001 will have a catalytic converter; this is a useful component that filters emissions from the engine and reduces their negative effects on the environment. These components are made of valuable rare metals, which has made them a target for thieves.

London has seen the biggest rise in catalytic converter theft, although research from Which? and police force data shows that thefts are spreading across the South West, with 247 thefts reported in Dorset in 2020, 147 in Avon & Somerset and 42 in Devon and Cornwall.

Hybrid vehicles are particularly at risk from thieves, with models like the Toyota Prius and Auris, Honda Jazz and Lexus RX among the most common targets.

So what can you do to prevent catalytic converter theft? The easiest preventative measure is to keep your vehicle secured in a garage if at all possible, as many of the recorded thefts have taken place on cars parked in streets or on driveways. If this isn’t an option, you can also park close to barriers such as walls or fences, making sure that the exhaust pipe is closest to this.

Other measures include getting your catalytic converter’s bolts welded to make it harder to remove, or getting a cage clamp fitted to add a further deterrent to would-be thieves.

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