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Frequently Asked Questions

Q:

What is a catalytic converter?

Answer

Also called a "cat," for short, it's a critical part of the exhaust system in your vehicle, located between the exhaust manifold and the muffler. Whether you're driving a car, a truck, an SUV, or a van, if it was built in 1974 or later, it has at least one converter.

It contains a metal catalyst coating -- often, a combination of platinum-group metals (PGMs), namely platinum, rhodium, and palladium. They capture and contain most of the pollutive byproducts of air-and-fuel combustion in your vehicle's engine, helping to convert them into water vapor and carbon dioxide. Put simply, cats separate toxic molecules like nitrogen-oxide into nitrogen and oxygen, trapping the former, releasing the latter, and oxidizing (burning up) hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide in the process.

The result: the above-mentioned cleaner gases. The benefits of having a catalytic converter, then, are threefold:

  • You and your passengers keep from getting sick from inhaling otherwise noxious fumes.
  • It helps protect the environment.
  • It helps keep a vehicle from running afoul of emissions standards and laws.
Q:

What is a catalytic converter worth?

Answer

On average, between about $800 and around $1,200, depending on your vehicle's make and model, and that's only the value of the converter itself. (Parts and labor on catalytic converter repair or replacement can make it a lot more expensive for you.) The long story, short: the larger your engine, the more valuable (and thus, sought-out) the converter.

Q:

Why do people steal catalytic converters?

Answer

As you can probably tell, they're high-value, but for two, more-specific reasons.

  • The market prices of the metals they contain are volatile enough that increases in their prices can make converters themselves much more expensive.
  • They can therefore be sold for a lot of money, both to junkyards and private companies, who can then resell them at a profit.
Q:

Which vehicles are targeted the most for catalytic converter theft?

Answer

Generally, relatively pricey ones with higher ground clearance. That means popular trucks like Toyota Tacoma and Tundra, sought-after SUVs such as Honda Element and Toyota Sequoia, and passenger and cargo vans used for work, like Chevrolet City and Nissan NV200. Their undercarriages are just easier for thieves to access. That doesn't mean other vehicles can't be burgled, though: even cars like Honda Accord can be targets, not to mention buses and other delivery vehicles.

Q:

What car has most catalytic converters stolen?

Answer

Hybrids generally, but Toyota Prius particularly. The converters on these subcompact hatchbacks tend to both last longer than those on other vehicles and contain more metal content than other models.

Q:

What happens if your catalytic converter is stolen?

Answer

A worst-case scenario, all things considered. Your vehicle will be left with a damaged underbody, for one, as your cat will most likely have been cut out of it with a saw or pried out with a wrench. But what happens afterward gets worse.

When you step on the throttle to rev the engine, for example, you'll start to hear a loud roar that will only get louder as you push further. That's because your muffler has been disconnected. Your vehicle may also start to emit a foul, rotten egg-like odor from its now-unclean unclean exhaust. It'll begin to sputter when your speed changes, and ride quality may roughen considerably, making driving a lot less enjoyable. Why does the latter happen? Without a converter, the torque normally available at lower revolutions per minute (rpm) -- the kind everyday cars use to get up and go -- drops dramatically.

At any rate, your ride will stop running right, and it won't run right again unless you get a new catalytic converter installed, plus any related repairs taken care of.

Q:

How much does it cost to replace a catalytic converter?

Answer

That varies according to the average cost of repair relative to the average cost of the converter. The former can run between around $945 and about $2,475, with parts and labor factored in. The cat itself can make up approximately $2,250 of that.

These numbers don't factor in a car that's taken its maximum depreciation hit, though. If you're driving one, that cost could end up being equal to or even greater than your car's value. So, you could suddenly find yourself in a situation where it's financially better to sell your car than have the work done -- put simply, in trouble, as pertains short-term transportation, at least.

Not to worry. That's where Cat Security cat shields come in.

Q:

Why buy Cat Security for cat theft prevention, versus other universal-fit anti-theft products?

Answer

Five reasons. Cat Security shields are:

  • Ultra-durable. They're combinations of austenitic (highly corrosion-resistant) 304 stainless steel and high-grade aluminum plating, meaning exceptionally difficult to remove and a highly effective deterrent against theft. Many also protect your oxygen sensors and assemblies, too. In other words, they last, and they can save you a lot of money.
  • Ultra-effective. More effective, in fact, than aftermarket car alarms, which can be ignored or even disabled while thieves make off with your converter anyway.
  • Designed to fit your brand and model perfectly. That's a claim that catalytic converter protection elsewhere on the aftermarket can't necessarily make. They're even easier to install than many alternatives, with very few tools required and all hardware needed for the job included.
  • Carried and installed by reputable car dealerships nationwide. This is a testament to their quality and dependability.
  • Smog-compliant. They let service techs easily view the converter for routine mandatory checks -- meaning there should be no need to remove the shield itself.
Q:

How do you install a Cat Security shield on a catalytic converter?

Answer

One of two ways: either yourself, if you have the service and maintenance expertise, or at a shop-- a local mechanic's garage, an auto body shop, or (preferably) a participating car dealership.

Doing so is easy. Our shields use the factory mounting points in your vehicle's cat converter area and incorporate security hardware, with no welding necessary. You can mount one quickly with an included specialty tool or tool kit and basic hand tools, and all the necessary hardware comes with it.

Q:

Is there a warranty on Cat Security products?

Answer

Not against catalytic converter theft. However, we design and build our products to superior standards in order to help prevent it.

So, we do warrant our shields to be free from defects in materials and workmanship, and we will either repair or replace a defective one or exchange it for a repaired or refurbished one of equal value. We'll just need to verify both the defect and your proof of purchase. You may be responsible for any necessary shipping and handling, packing, return postage, and/or package insurance.

Otherwise, if you're looking to return one, whether for an exchange or a refund, you can, within 10 days. This excludes hardware packages, rubber hangers, and stickers, and other exclusions, restrictions, or charges may apply. See our Returns page for more information.