Stealing catalytic converters is an increasingly prevalent issue. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, theft of these converters increased by over 1,215% between 2019 and 2021.
Toyota is taking measures to combat this problem by marking stolen catalytic converters with an invisible marking, which will enable police to trace them back to their rightful owners.
Catalytic converters are metal components used in cars and trucks to filter out harmful gasses from the exhaust system. They utilize precious metals like platinum, palladium, and rhodium in combination to trap pollutants.
Over the last year, metal prices have skyrocketed, making them an attractive target for thieves. In 2020, NICB reported that catalytic converter thefts increased to an average of 1,200 per month from 280 the prior year.
Thieves often extract precious metals from converters in order to sell them quickly for a profit. Alternatively, they may turn these resources into cash at scrap metal recyclers.
Thieves are particularly interested in the Toyota Prius because it features one of the most valuable catalytic converters. These contain high concentrations of rhodium, palladium and platinum – metals more expensive than gold.
The catalytic converter is one of the most accessible parts of your vehicle, located beneath the exhaust. With just a few tools and minimal effort, you can remove it in seconds.
Toyota and the police have joined forces to combat theft of catalytic converters by marking them with identification markings. By doing this, Toyota hopes to reduce vehicle targets and assist police in fighting organised crime gangs.
To prevent catalytic converter theft, park your car in an area that is highly populated and has plenty of traffic. Additionally, steer clear of parking lots without guards or dark streets without cameras.
The catalytic converter is an essential element of your vehicle’s exhaust system. It helps reduce the amount of toxic gases and pollutants released into the atmosphere by your car, and it’s typically constructed out of precious metals such as platinum, rhodium and palladium.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reports that catalytic converters have become a prime target for thieves due to the high-value precious metals contained within these devices.
Thieves can quickly strip a car’s catalytic converter and sell it for more than $300, usually to a recycler who then transports the metals to an extraction facility.
Catalytic converter theft is most often targeted on hybrids, large pickup trucks and vans due to their higher off the ground position that makes it easier for criminals to access underneath and cut away at the converter.
Hybrid vehicles utilize an internal combustion engine (ICE), a small electric motor and battery to provide fuel economy, reduced pollution and greater power. Furthermore, they use regenerative braking system to capture and recycle kinetic energy as well as using engine-powered generator to recharge the battery.
A mild hybrid, such as General Motors’ eAssist system in some vehicles, uses a smaller electric motor and battery than full hybrids but still performs many of the same functions. For instance, it automatically shuts down the gas engine when parking and restarts it when you step on the accelerator.
Full hybrids, on the other hand, use much larger electric motors and batteries. This enables them to run for short periods solely on electricity – even at higher speeds than mild hybrids can manage.