Avoiding Catalytic Converter Theft

The theft of catalytic converters has plagued Los Angeles County and the surrounding areas for a long time now. Catalytic converters are exhaust emission control devices that make the extremely polluting gasses produced by your vehicle’s internal combustion engine into not as polluting (but still polluting) gasses. They’re valued by thieves because they contain parts that are made of precious metals. These include platinum, rhodium, and palladium.

Catalytic converters are located underneath your vehicle attached to the exhaust pipe. If your car sits low, you’re in luck! You have much less to fear. The harder it is to get to, the less likely it is to be stolen. Those who drive trucks, SUVs, or vehicles that sit higher off the ground are much more likely to be targeted.

Theft of catalytic converters frequently happens at night, but can occur during the day depending on the surrounding area. To avoid having your catalytic converter stolen, here are a few tips.

The most obvious thing you can do is park in your garage when you’re home. If thieves can’t reach your vehicle, they can’t steal anything. If you have to park on your driveway, a light (motion-sensitive or not) should be used to illuminate your vehicle. Should you have to park on the street, try to find a well-lit area. Parking right under a street light is ideal. Parking in well-trafficked areas is also helpful.

It’s almost impossible to keep yourself 100% safe from being victimized. However, it’s a good idea to get your catalytic converter etched with your vehicle’s license plate number or VIN so that it can be traced back to you if it is recovered. The SCV Sheriff Station is offering free catalytic converter etchings on various dates throughout the month of March. They’re working in conjunction with RG Brake & Alignment in Valencia. If you’re interested, do not contact RG Brake. Contact deputy Borbon (who is handling scheduling) at ka1borbo@lasd.org.