Why are they stolen?
Catalytic converters are stolen frequently and at alarmingly increasing levels as a result of their accessibility and high cost in many vehicles. Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles and Super Ultra Low Emissions Vehicles such as the Toyota Prius and Toyota Highlander Hybrid are targeted due to their high price point with some replacements costing over $4000 and thieves able to scrap the stolen units for up to $1500 each. Likewise, high clearance vehicles provide an easy target such as Jeep’s, Trucks and SUVs. Diesel trucks commanding the highest replacement cost are also very often targeted.
Why is it so expensive?
Specifically in Colorado, in 2018 we adopted California standard emissions compliance devices and that law went into action January 1st of 2021. This law means replacement catalytic converters will need to be up to California spec to be installed. These units often carry a premium price tag of $1500-$4000 respectively. Since this law just went into effect, the demand for California-Quality catalytic converters has skyrocketed, and costs have been affected by supply and demand Most recently I replaced a catalytic converter in a Toyota Prius that cost more than replacing an engine in the same vehicle.
How hard is it to replace them?
Depending on the application the physical installation can vary substantially, however thieves are targeting easy-to-access vehicles for the most part. However, often thieves do substantial additional damages to the vehicle such as cutting wires, damaging sensors, and in some cases even damaging the chassis of the vehicle. Replacement can often require sourcing parts from around the world as demand has far surpassed supply at this point. Fortunately at Saul’s Autotek we world source parts 365 days a year, the same as our regular business hours, to keep our guests on the road in a timely fashion.
What can you do?
According to the insurance industry the safest option is always to park your vehicle in a secured private garage. However, for those that cannot do such, the best option is to install a catalytic converter guard or shield on your vehicle. At Saul’s Autotek we offer several different options for protecting yours, and we are seeing the majority of theft victims opting to install such a device after a theft replacement as a guard can be $300-$600 dollars, much less than a catalytic converter theft may cost in damages.