How to Protect a Catalytic Converter

Written by michael davidson
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How to Protect a Catalytic Converter
Catalytic converters prevent many noxious chemicals from being released into the air from the exhaust. (exhaust fulmes image by bilderbox from Fotolia.com)

Catalytic converters are mandatory emissions control devices included in a car's exhaust that convert exhaust chemicals such as nitrogen oxide and carbon monoxide into carbon dioxide, oxygen and water. The devices are required by most state laws and cars frequently have to undergo emissions tests to ensure the catalytic converter is working properly. One problem with catalytic converters is that they contain platinum and other valuable metals, which make them susceptible to theft. Thieves will saw the converter off a car and then sell the metals to a metal shop, so protecting your converter should be a priority.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Garage
  • Etching kit
  • Converter protector

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Store your car in a garage when at home if possible. Thieves are looking for easy targets and if your car is locked in a garage, they are more likely to target another vehicle where they can get the converter without as much time and hassle.

  2. 2

    Park in well-lit areas at night. Thieves prefer to work in darkness so they won't be seen while crawling under the car to saw the converter off. Street lamps provide a deterrent since they make it more likely the thief will be spotted.

  3. 3

    Use car parks that have attendants in them whenever the option is available. Just the presence of an extra set of eyes is sometimes enough to deter converter thieves from raiding a particular car park.

  4. 4

    Etch your VIN number into your converter with an etching kit. If your converter is stolen, this makes it easier for police to recover it and get it back to you, since they can prove it's a stolen part.

  5. 5

    Install a catalytic converter protector. They come in several forms and usually consist of either a cage or a cable that clamps over the catalytic converter to keep it attached to the car under carriage. While not foolproof, the devices do make it more difficult to remove the converter, making thieves more likely to look elsewhere.

Tips and warnings

  • Toyota pickup trucks are most commonly targeted for catalytic converter theft since they are higher off the ground and have four catalytic converters per vehicle.

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