• Thu. Dec 8th, 2022

Catalytic converter theft: what it is best to know

If the interior workings of cars aren’t your robust swimsuit, the title of this text alone may need you questioning: what on earth is a catalytic converter? What does it do? Why would somebody wish to steal one?

If that is so, you’ve come to the fitting place. On this article, we’ll reply all of the questions above, in addition to clarify how one can defend your self from catalytic converter theft.

What’s a catalytic converter?

At first, a catalytic converter is an integral a part of a automotive’s emissions system. They cut back the quantity and severity of the air pollution that comes out of your automotive’s tailpipe everytime you go for a drive. Catalytic converter designs differ barely amongst completely different automotive producers, however generally they’re rectangular or cylindrical in form and bear a resemblance to mufflers. As for the place your catalytic converter is positioned in your car, it sits between the engine and the muffler, usually a bit nearer to the engine.

How do they work?

First launched on U.S. automobiles in 1975, catalytic converters convert carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, and hydrocarbons — all extremely poisonous — into water vapor and carbon dioxide. It’s not an ideal answer, however it beats the choice!

The catalytic converter’s proximity to the engine implies that it will probably warmth up extra rapidly — that is perfect, as they’re handiest at increased temperatures. The truth is, trendy automobiles emit the vast majority of their air pollution within the first jiffy after beginning up. It is because neither the engine nor the catalytic converter can attain their perfect working temperature in that quick period of time.

What are they made from?

In case you have been to open up your catalytic converter and take a look at what’s inside, you’d discover a piece of ceramic coated in numerous uncommon, valuable metals. These metals embody palladium, rhodium, and platinum.

  • Palladium is a lustrous, silvery-white metallic mined primarily in Russia and South Africa. Although most likely a bit much less well-known than different valuable metals, and customarily mined solely as a secondary materials, it’s truly one of the crucial helpful — since early 2016, the value of palladium has risen above the value of gold. Palladium is utilized in jewellery, dentistry, and electronics, however about 85% of all palladium mined results in catalytic converters.
  • Rhodium is one other silver-white metallic ingredient. It’s extremely reflective, corrosion-resistant, and is, although not probably the most well-known, the rarest, Most worthy valuable metallic on the planet. Rhodium is used as a glass-strengthening alloy, a coating added to jewellery to guard towards tarnish and scratches, and, primarily, in catalytic converters.
  • Platinum is one other valuable metallic, which is extremely proof against corrosion and tarnishing, gentle and malleable, unaffected by widespread acids, and doesn’t oxidize. It, like palladium and rhodium, is utilized in jewellery. Nevertheless, additionally it is utilized in pacemakers, treatment, magnets, electrical contacts, and (you guessed it!), catalytic converters.

In catalytic converters, these uncommon metals are used as catalysts to create a chemical response that converts dangerous emissions (nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons) into safer substances (water vapor and carbon dioxide).

Why are thieves stealing catalytic converters?

The outline above of the supplies utilized in constructing catalytic converters is a fairly large trace! As of mid-2020, platinum was buying and selling at $944 per ounce, palladium for $2,190, and rhodium at almost $10,000 per ounce. Nope, that’s not a typo: as of simply final yr, rhodium was value $10,000 per ounce!

Whereas there’s not a lot of every of those metals in every catalytic converter — usually just a few grams of the three mixed — relying on the precise quantity inside, one catalytic converter could be value anyplace from $200 to $1,000.

Easy money worth apart, we’ve additionally seen charges of catalytic converter theft rise throughout (and on account of) the pandemic. At face worth, COVID-19 doesn’t seem to be one thing that may have an effect on the theft of auto components. However the pandemic has led to tough monetary instances for a lot of, and determined instances can name for determined, unlawful measures. Lastly, the pandemic has modified the best way we drive — with many firms having made the shift to distant work, fewer individuals are commuting, which suggests extra vehicles sitting in driveways, weak to opportunistic thieves.

What’s being completed about catalytic converter theft?

In response to the continuing spike in charges of catalytic converter thefts, state legislators have taken numerous measures to discourage thieves and stop the sale of stolen auto components. These have included beefing up prison penalties for this specific crime, tightening recordkeeping necessities for scrap metallic sellers, and instituting bans on the sale of converters with out accompanying proof of possession.

What sort of vehicles are being focused probably the most?

Many people may assume that thieves usually tend to goal costly luxurious automobiles for theft. And that’s right, to some extent — if a thief is trying to steal the complete automotive, they’ll most likely search for one thing a bit on the fancier aspect.

Nevertheless, in the event that they’re aiming to make off with simply the catalytic converter, nearly any automotive will do. The truth is, the most probably vehicles to be focused for catalytic converter theft are simply common, atypical makes and fashions. These embody the Honda Accord, Toyota Tacoma, Toyota Prius, and Lexus SUVs. Lastly, low-emission automobiles usually tend to be focused, as properly — the catalytic converters on these automobiles comprise extra valuable metals than others.

How will you keep away from having your catalytic converter stolen?

In case you drive one of many vehicles talked about above, there are some things you are able to do to attempt to forestall having your catalytic converter stolen.

  • Buy a tool that’s basically a metallic cage which could be locked on over the catalytic converter to make it a bit extra of a trouble to steal.
  • Park your automotive in a safe storage in case you have the choice to take action.
  • Park in a well-lit, busy space in case you don’t have entry to a storage.

What do you have to do in case your catalytic converter is stolen?

You’ll be capable to inform that your catalytic converter has been stolen in case you begin up your automotive and listen to a low, loud rumble. You possibly can verify beneath your automotive to substantiate that it’s lacking. If that’s the case, you’ll wish to make two calls: one to the police, and one to your insurance coverage agent.

When you’re off the cellphone, attempt to keep away from driving as a lot as you presumably can. And not using a catalytic converter, you may nonetheless get the place you’ll want to go, however your trusty automotive or truck turns into a poisonous emissions manufacturing facility on wheels. Along with the detrimental impact on the surroundings, driving with no catalytic converter is unlawful. What’s extra, in case you’re caught driving with out one, you might find yourself paying 1000’s of {dollars} in fines.

Does your insurance coverage cowl catalytic converter theft?

As with many insurance coverage questions, the reply is: it relies upon. Nevertheless, in case your auto insurance coverage coverage consists of complete protection, you’re seemingly lined within the occasion that some enterprising thief makes off together with your catalytic converter. You possibly can speak to your insurance coverage agent and go over the main points of your coverage to make certain.

To sum issues up, make certain to park your automotive in a protected spot (locked up inside, in case you can), contemplate including a cage excessive of your catalytic converter, and be as vigilant as you may to attempt to forestall theft. And in case you don’t have already got complete protection in your car, attain out to Automobile and get a quote immediately.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.