Catalytic Converter Thefts on the Rise in California

Image showcasing 2012-2015 Toyota Prius in red

In a recent trend in California, thieves are now targeting catalytic converters. Why? On average, catalytic converters can go from anywhere from $50 to $250 depending on the type. On the flip side, victims may pay on average around $1,000 if their insurance doesn’t cover theft. Even if your insurance covers theft, you could be looking at a $250 – $500 deductible.

With catalytic converter theft on the rise, Luscious Garage wants you to be prepared and aware of the signs that your vehicle has been tampered with. We also want you to know what to do if this happens to you.

What is a catalytic converter?

A catalytic converter controls exhaust emission and ultimately reduces the toxic gases and pollutants that your internal combustion engine emits. Can your vehicle run without it? Sure. Should your vehicle run without it? Absolutely not. In fact, a catalytic converter is necessary for you to comply with California’s emissions laws.

How to know if your catalytic converter is missing

As soon as you start your car you will be able to tell that something is not right. When your catalytic converter is missing, your engine will make a loud roaring sound when you start it. This sound is similar to a car that doesn’t have a muffler. It is particularly obvious in hybrids like the Prius that are known for being a quieter ride.

How to prevent catalytic converter theft

Unfortunately, there is not a foolproof way to guarantee that catalytic converter theft won’t happen to you, but there are a few things you can do to reduce your risk.

  • Park in well-lit areas that are within eyesight of your location. It doesn’t take thieves long to remove the catalytic converter if they know what they are doing, but they may be less likely to attempt the theft if they could be seen.
  • If you have access to a secure garage at home or work, use it. Unfortunately, we know this isn’t an option for everyone.
  • Some drivers are taking the extra step and engraving their car’s VIN on the catalytic converter. This makes it easier to trace it back to the owner when the thieves take it to see for scrap.
  • Remember to set your alarm and, if possible, set it to go off when your car shakes.

While we hope that you don’t find yourself in this situation, it is possible that it will happen to you. If you turn on your car and find yourself with a noisy Prius or hybrid, report the theft to the police and your insurance company then contact Earthling Automotive online or on the phone at (415) 875-9030, and let us know how we can help.