A catalytic converter, being demonstrated during a press conference at the Utah Trucking Association headquarters in West Valley. Catalytic converter thefts are becoming a big problem, according to business leaders and lawmakers. (Photo: Paul Nelson)
(Photo: Paul Nelson)
UTAH — Catalytic converter theft is on the rise in Utah. The Beehive State has one of the highest increased rates of catalytic converter theft in the nation.
A new study from BeenVerified shows a 350.6% increase in stolen catalytic converters in 2021 when compared to 2020. But thefts could continue to rise even more.
Kerry Sherin, a consumer advocate for BeenVerified, said the last three months of the year typically see a 40% increase in thefts from the rest of the year. “More people are out shopping or traveling for the holidays between October and December. That puts more cars in areas to have their catalytic converters stolen,” said Sherin.
Some vehicles are more vulnerable than others
Sherin said the top three brands of cars that thieves target are Toyota, Honda and Lexus. Car models with the highest rates of catalytic converters getting stolen are Toyota Prius, Honda Element, Toyota 4-Runner and Toyota Tacoma.
“Hybrid vehicles, like the Prius, are frequently targeted because they have the two different power sources.” Sherin continued, “The catalytic converters have various rare metals in them, like platinum, rhodium and palladium — which can be sold for up to $150 for each component.”
How to protect your car from catalytic converter theft
Sherin said to try to park in secure parking garages. If that’s not possible, she said to try and park your car where there is a lot of foot traffic and good lighting. This may deter a thief from taking your catalytic converter.
People can also back up their vehicles against a wall which will make it more difficult to get underneath. “That’s why trucks and SUVs are good targets because they have more clearance from the ground,” said Sherin, “but the best way to prevent thefts of your catalytic converter is to have it strapped down with a metal band,” she continued.
Sherin stated it can cost up to $2000 to replace a catalytic converter, so she recommended getting comprehensive insurance to cover the cost if it’s stolen, explaining that it can be less expensive in the long run.
Sherin said that auto manufacturers aren’t doing anything to deter converters. However, she explained that the California Attorney General is calling on manufacturers and enacting legislation to hold them responsible for the ease of removing that equipment from the cars they make.
Comparison of catalytic converter theft from 2019 to 2021 in Utah
|2019 catalytic converter thefts
|2020 catalytic converter thefts
|2021 catalytic converter thefts
|2020 thefts per 100,000 registered automobiles
|2021 thefts per 100,000 registered automobiles
|Percentage change thefts YoY 2019 vs 2020
|Percentage change thefts 2020 vs YTD 2021
|Ranking – thefts per 100,000 automobiles in 2021
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