Why are catalytic converters such a hot commodity?

Feb 24, 2023

Catalytic converter thefts are all over the news.  Why are they such a hot commodity and what can you do to protect yourself?

 A catalytic converter is part of your vehicle’s exhaust system that helps reduce harmful environmental emissions.  It contains some very precious metals:  platinum, rhodium and palladium, all of which make it pretty lucrative for thieves to take to a metal recycler for big bucks. Thieves can shimmy under a car (the larger, the easier) and cut the part off in less than a minute. 

Which cars are most likely to have a catalytic converter stolen? Cars with high clearance and hybrid vehicles are at the most risk for catalytic converter theft. In 2022, Aviva Canada has seen several Hyundai Tucsons, Mitsubishi RVRs, Honda CR-Vs, Hyundai Santa Fes, and Ford F150s targeted.

ICBC’s stats are overwhelming.  ICBC says claim costs for thefts of the devices jumped to more than $4 million in 2021 from $356,950 in 2017.  The Province has made regulatory changes to strengthen measures that deter catalytic converter thefts across British Columbia.  An amendment made to the Metal Dealers and Recyclers Regulation (MDRR) regulates catalytic converters that are not attached to an exhaust system. This requires registered metal dealers to report each transaction, including information about the seller, to police on the day of sale.

Prevention tactics include parking in a garage or a well lit area with cameras.  See if you can set your car alarm to go off it’s shaken.  Other suggestions are having the VIN engraved on it or affix a metal cover over it (which is also costly).  The best prevention, however, is if everyone is watchful and if they see suspicious people or someone under a car, take all the details and call 911.  If you are the victim of a catalytic converter, please report it to the RCMP.