In recent posts, we've asked if national catalytic converter crimes will continue to rise in 2023. What has become a popular and easy way for criminals to make a fast few hundred bucks, stolen catalytic converter reports have been popping up in local news in small towns and major metropolises across the country.
Nationwide, there has been a 1,215% in reported catalytic converter thefts between 2019 and 2022. In the greater Las Vegas area alone, there were 2,625 reported catalytic converter thefts in 2022. A 38% increase in reports since the previous year. With post-Covid supply chain issues and the high demand for the non-corrosive metals in your car's catalytic converter, criminals have targeted cars virtually everywhere, leaving no car safe. Even the nationally recognized Oscar Mayer Wienermobile was taken advantage of recently.
Yes, you read that correctly. The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile fell victim to catalytic converter theft while on tour through the casino capital of the world, Las vegas. The humorous dog and bun design was originally created to lift the spirits of Americans during the great depression. Over the decades, the 27-foot-long hot dog bus evolved into a promotional and trackable road attraction. A vehicle icon for hot dog enthusiasts all over the country.
The Wienermobile had its catalytic converter stolen while sitting in a hotel parking lot. The vehicle on an RV chassis had its catalytic converter taken, leaving it to be towed to an autobody shop for a temporary fix. If you're unaware of what a catalytic converter does, it reduces the exhaust emissions from your car's engine. They are valuable car parts because they can hold up to a thousand dollars or more worth of precious metals inside their construction. Especially on vehicles with larger engines. The thieves who targeted the Wienermobile likely struck gold seeing that the traveling hot dog is powered by a 300-horsepower Vortec V8 engine with a likely sizable catalytic converter.
How Much is a Catalytic Converter Worth?
Depending on the size, a catalytic converter can put several hundred dollars in a crook's pocket in just a few hours. This auto part can be cut from the undercarriage of a car with a hack saw strong enough to cut through metal. Typically, criminals will just cut the end of the exhaust pipes on each side of the converter body. The thieves are after the palladium, platinum, and rhodium inside the converter.
These are metals that traders can profit from four times over when melting down the metals from inside a catalytic converter and selling on the black market. For instance, two of the most prevalent metals in your catalytic converter, like palladium, currently costs $1,550 per ounce. Platinum is worth $960 per ounce.
Is There a Way To Protect My Car from Catalytic Converter Theft?
There is no question that if crooks are willing to target an American staple like the renowned Oscar Mayer Wienermobile for its catalytic converter, your car, truck, or SUV is at risk too. The unfortunate reality is that your car is never safe unless it is parked in your home garage. Catalytic converter thieves have been known to strike both during the daytime and late at night. Your vehicle could be targeted in a mall parking garage, grocery store parking lot, or right out front of your home in the driveway. Most catalytic converter thieves will work in teams, and it can take less than a minute or two for somebody to cut your converter body from the exhaust pipes of your undercarriage and take off with it.
How do drivers stay protected from having their catalytic converter stolen? There are several devices one could attach to their vehicle. Catalytic converter locks, which is basically a clamping device that locks onto the converter and pipes. Though this may intimidate some criminals, they can quickly cut through the chain locks if they use a big enough saw with enough power.
A catalytic converter shield is the best option for the driver that wishes to safeguard their catalytic converter and other exhaust pipes beneath their undercarriage. A durable shield plate that bolts to the bottom side of your car makes it nearly impossible for thieves to access or even cut through the durable shield to reach the vital exhaust piece worth $1000+.
Shop the shield guard for your car's catalytic converter and stay protected no matter where you park your vehicle. If you don't happen to see the catalytic converter shield for your vehicle, sign up to get on our list, and we will notify you when your car's catalytic converter guard is ready to order.