You get behind the wheel, start your vehicle, rev your engine, and realize your car sounds broken.
Your catalytic converter is gone, stolen by a thief.
It’s a story which has become all to familiar to Tony Milcherska, Vice President of Zolman’s Tire and Auto Repair located in Mishawaka.
Tony is used to seeing approximately 10-12 vehicles a month get brought in with their catalytic converters stolen.
“You could see backorders of four to six weeks,” Tony said.
The COVID-19 pandemic has created supply chain issues, manufacturing slowdowns, and now the war in Europe has slowed the export of the metals used inside the catalytic converters.
“The three precious metals in there, Platinum, Palladium, and Rhodium, are the precious metals they get and there’s about on average 3 grams of that inside of them,” Tony said.
Right now, Rhodium alone is worth about $19,250 per ounce.
The part replacement could become even more expensive with oxygen sensors.
“They’ll cut that wire and take the whole sensor with it as well. So, you’ll have to replace the sensor and the catalytic converter,” Tony said. “This assembly front to back would cost you $2,800 not including labor.”
The good news is companies are getting innovative and creating devices to protect you from this type of theft.
Cat Security has made a shield from aluminum and stainless steel that can be bolted on, covering your catalytic converter.
There’s also a device by Fast Guard Alarms that straps to the pipe attached to the catalytic converter.
The inventor Lando Fehrenbach says it’s a simple deterrent.
“At the end of the day, if they see this alarm and they try to break it, cut the straps, the mounting straps the alarm’s going to trigger and the goal of the alarm is to scare them away. It’s really nothing fancy, it’s simple,” Fehrenbach said.
Securing your vehicle with one of these devices will help you save time, money, and unnecessary stress.
“If you put any kind of deterrent measures in place for the catalytic converters, you’re going to be a hard target and they’re going to move on to the next one pretty quick,” Tony said.
The alternative is to take these preventative measures and make yourself a hard target, and the thief is likely to move on.
Find well-lit areas when parking your vehicle.
If you have surveillance cameras, make sure the view to your vehicle is unobstructed.
Motion sensor lighting could also be a deterrent. Ensure the vehicle is parked within range of the device.