The Lucrative Business of Catalytic Converter Theft — And, What DMV Recycling is Doing About It
Over the last decade, nearly 30,000 catalytic converters were stolen off of cars, usually sitting in parking lots or garages. Many car owners and drivers would never even notice their catalytic converter missing, nor know what it does for the vehicle. Thieves, on the other hand, know exactly how much your catalytic converter will get them at their local scrap metal recycling plant or junk car lot. In today’s post, we take a dive into the world of catalytic converter theft and recycling and offer some suggestions on how to protect your car.
An Easy Pay Day
Let’s run some quick numbers. A catalytic converter in today’s market will fetch you between $60 and $300 dollars — for the sake of easy math, let’s just call it $150. A good thief on an average day in a parking garage full of SUVs (we will get to why that matters in a minute) can loot between 10 and 20 — let’s average this out at 15 — cats without breaking much of a sweat. A raw calculation puts the cat burglar up by $2,250 for a day’s work.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), nearly 4,000 catalytic converters are stolen off of vehicles each year to the tune of $600,000+ in recycled profits and significantly more in insurance claims due to vehicle damage caused by missing converters.
What does a catalytic converter do and how can you tell it’s missing?
Let’s take a small side tangent to discuss the importance of catalytic converters for your vehicle and the environment since we can bet our previous statement about most car owners not understanding what they do is correct.
The main role of your catalytic converter is to convert bad emissions and pollutants into less harmful compounds before being released into the environment. Typically, a cat converter lasts the entire lifetime of the vehicle with little to no maintenance, which is why most people don’t even notice it. What happens when it’s missing, though? The first thing you’ll notice is the sound as if you have no muffler! You will fail your emissions test, for one. Your fuel efficiency will plummet, your engine will run less efficiently and may seize entirely, and you may have problems getting the car to start. Replacing your catalytic converter can cost upwards of $1,000 if no other repairs are necessary.
Large SUVs and trucks are targeted because the ground clearance makes it easy for thieves to quickly access the cat converter — no jacking necessary.
Prevent Becoming a Victim
While there are so many things in life to think about, your catalytic converter has likely never crossed your mind. If you live in an area where cat converter theft is prevalent — Chicago, California, etc — consider taking some extra precautions. Some tips include:
- Park your car in a garage if you can
- Have a car alarm and motion detector lights
- Educate yourself, friends, family, and community
- Have your catalytic converter welded at a muffler shop
- Install a catalytic converter protection device
- Park in busy, well-lit areas or where there is surveillance
The common theme is to improve deterrence and decrease ease for thieves.
What DMV Recycling is Doing to Help
At DMV Recycling we have the opposite of a “no questions asked” catalytic converter purchase policy. We are well aware that people do not just happen upon cat converters, nor do they simply fall off of vehicles. We are well aware of the benefits of cat-napping and we are here to weed out thieves and thwart pilfering. We require proof of cat ownership before we will buy it and keep detailed records. As a legitimate metal, junk car, and catalytic converter recycling company in the DMV area, we help protect the environment without compromising our community’s safety.
For more information about catalytic converter recycling, visit us online or contact a DMV Recycling team member today!