If you know a little about your vehicle, then you may be familiar with the catalytic converter. This device is attached to your exhaust system located underneath your vehicle. It is in place to reduce the toxic emissions your car produces when the internal combustion engine is running. Without a catalytic converter, your vehicle will sound like an angry motorboat. It is often so loud that driving the vehicle in this state is impossible for most. Unfortunately, starting up your vehicle and hearing this startling sound is a telltale sign that your converter has been stolen.
Because some catalytic converters contain high levels of platinum and other valuable recyclable materials, criminals steal them to sell as scrap metal. Thieves seek catalytic converters from certain high profile makes and models, especially SUVs and pickup trucks. But this is not to say that smaller vehicles never become targets.
With that in mind, here are some good catalytic converter theft prevention tips from an expert muffler shop in Madison, TN.
Park in safe areas
It may be hard to believe, but the most common place for catalytic converters to be stolen from is the car owner’s own driveway. If you have a usable garage, always park in it. For driveway parking, install security lights pointing directly at your vehicle. When parking out in public—like a shopping center, office building or campus—make sure to park in sight of people during the day and under light posts at night, and near security cameras whenever possible.
Choose parking spots near low vehicles
The reason SUVs and trucks are popular targets for thieves is because they are easier to get underneath. Thieves can roll under your high-sitting vehicle, make quick cuts on either side of the catalytic converter, pull it off and be gone in a matter of minutes. So, to make it more difficult for these people to get underneath, park close to vehicles with low ground clearance. It will take a thief longer to cut off your converter when they have to squeeze in between lower-sitting vehicles nearby.
Etch identifying numbers
Law enforcement and auto mechanics all over the country recommend etching your converter with your vehicle’s VIN number or license plate number. Do this in several spots. In the event it does get stolen, the police may be able to track it, so be sure to file a police report immediately.
Install a theft deterrent device or weld bolts
There are several types of converter theft deterrent devices you can install. You can put a clamp or cage around converters with welded seams, or have the bolts welded shut on bolt-on catalytic converters. At the same time you have the bolts welded down, you might also consider having metal theft deterrent bars welded to the exhaust system. While a criminal might still try to steal it, it will be a loud and long process, and you know they don’t want to draw attention to their activity.
For catalytic converter repairs or replacement, visit the skilled mechanics at Madison Muffler & Auto Repair. We are your go-to muffler shop in Madison, TN!