Data by State Farm shows that claims filed for catalytic converter theft grew 239% nationwide, from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, as compared to the 12 months prior. The payouts also reached a record high and totaled $33.7 million, when in the previous 12-month period it was below $9 million. The almost-tripled amount stems not only the frequency of the claims, but also the increased value of the materials used to fabricate catalytic converters.
Catalytic converters are essential to a vehicle’s operation. It changes harmful compounds produce from an engine’s emissions to safe gases, like steam. The converter splits up unsafe molecules in the gases before releasing them into the air.
Catalytic converters contain various precious metals like platinum, palladium, and rhodium. Thieves steal the converters to sell to scrap metal dealers, hoping for a big payday. The price of palladium was less than $500 an ounce in 2016, but skyrocketed to $2,875 in 2020. With paydays this huge, we encourage company fleet managers to become well-versed in preventive measures.
Available Tools to Deter Attempts of Catalytic Converter Theft
Lexi Tucker, Senior Editor for Business Fleet, shares 2 helpful ways fleets can prevent more catalytic converter theft in her article “2 Ways Fleets Can Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft.” One way is to install a CatStrap, which is a universal device that can be installed on any vehicle. CatStraps prevents catalytic converter theft by blocking clear access to the converter. A small investment of around a few hundred dollars now can save you and your team from headaches, vehicle downtime, and thousands in delayed or lost profit later.
The second way is using a deterrent, like a system of cable clamps. The anti-theft devices deters potential thieves with a system of cables that wrap around the catalytic converters. It can cost anywhere from $125 to $200 and an hour of labor to install. The City of Long Beach, California installed this deterrent in their fleet last year. Since then, there has not been any record of attempts of stealing.
What Other Ways Can I Prevent Someone from Stealing my Catalytic Converters?
As Jake Koester, representative for City Rent a Truck, shares in his article “Catalytic Converter Theft Crisis: 6 Preventive Measures You Can Take,” there are many preventive steps that you and your drivers can take to prevent anyone from stealing your fleet’s catalytic converters. One easy way is to park your vehicle in a well-lit area or close to entrances or access road. Thieves face higher chances of being caught red-handed because of the increased chances of visibility.
Another way is to engrave your vehicle identification number (VIN) and company phone number on the converter itself. The chances of a scrap metal dealer realizing what happened and calling your company to report the stolen converter increases.
Protecting your investments so a would-be thief can fail and ruining or stealing them. We highly encourage your team putting in their due diligence and think about the different ways the company investments can be more secure, preventing headaches and downtime in the future.