If you’ve just realized that someone has stolen your catalytic converter, here’s why they did it. [Wired]


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  1. Too bad the catalytic converter cools down after a car is parked for a little while. It’d be funny to see someone try to steal one off a freshly driven car…

  2. I hope they wait until your car cools down.

  3. stpauliegirl says:

    Heh, I just read about someone finally noticing their missing converter in my local paper’s police report this morning:

    A 24-year-old woman residing in the 1600 block of Eustis Street took her vehicle to the shop Jan. 25 and said the exhaust system had been making a lot of noise for the past couple of months. She learned that her catalytic converter had been cut off. The loss was estimated at $800. [www.rosevillereview.com]

    Who takes “a couple months” to notice THAT missing? Oh, wait, a lady driver giving the rest of us a bad name, that’s who.

  4. FLConsumer says:

    Not surprisingly, this crap’s been going on in Tampa for well over a year now. I swear this place is a cesspool.

  5. @FLConsumer: At least you don’t live in “Orlampa”

    That sign on I-4 Cracks me up.. is it still up there? Future home of Orlampa…

  6. fuzzycuffs says:

    My friend’s catalytic in her truck was stolen a few months ago.

    She went to go buy a new one, the cost had skyrocketed.

    So she went to a junkyard to look for a used one, all taken and those that somehow made it, the junkyard had taken them all and were selling all at a markup.

    I don’t remember what her final outcome was, but her boyfriend is trying to build some bit of razor trap around the current cat so that if it is stolen again, the thief is going to experience some fun times.

  7. tazimandius says:

    I let my brother borrow my truck (a real junker) and the catalytic converter got stolen. We didn’t know what to expect at first since it sounded as if the muffler had fallen off. I had it replaced a week later. I was really surprised because it happened outside his house in a reasonably decent neighborhood.

  8. @fuzzycuffs: Could you wire it to the battery so that if someone touches it, they complete a circuit, and get a nice little shock?

  9. FLConsumer says:

    @AngrySicilian: I’ve actually never seen the sign, ‘though I usually try to travel on the interstates at night when the tourists and old farts have left the roads. Driving on them during the daytime is a deathwish.

    Had to drive from Tampa to Ft. Myers on Friday. 150 miles total, took 4 hrs 45 minutes on I-75. Yep, a whopping avg of 31mph on a road with a 70mph speed limit, including a nice stretch of 90-100mph driving in the one area where traffic had lightened up enough to permit such driving. Thanks FL DOT!

  10. MexiFinn says:

    Wow… maybe this will be an incentive for people to stop buying sport-utes and trucks which are just inviting catalytic converter thieves with their ultra-high ground clearance.

  11. Jaysyn was banned for: https://consumerist.com/5032912/the-subprime-meltdown-will-be-nothing-compared-to-the-prime-meltdown#c7042646 says:

    I don’t understand the $200 mark. I can buy a brand new Magnaflow C.C. for my car right now for $107 from Summit Racing.

  12. samurailynn says:

    @stpauliegirl: Actually, the catalytic converter doesn’t always do a lot on newer cars. The one on my husband’s car went out around the time we were doing a tune up on the car anyway. The mechanic told us it was out, but that it still passed the emissions test far above the minimum standards. We tried to replace it anyway (we lived in California at the time, and they are required) but the auto shops could only get one in stock that didn’t meet California’s requirements. We ended up moving and never replacing it. The car still runs beautifully, and you the only difference is a little deeper sound (not louder) from the exhaust.

  13. forever_knight says:

    @fuzzycuffs: please let us know if anyone falls for the razor.

  14. NefariousNewt says:

    @AngrySicilian: Given that most of them are underneath cars, getting at them to begin with is a but tricky. I would suspect there would be a rash of junkyard break-ins. A lot easier to get at.

  15. Sudonum says:

    I was in Orlando for a convention last week. I had to drive to Tampa to meet a vendor. It’s still there.

  16. goller321 says:

    @forever_knight: A friends father did this with his caddie. Dirt balls were always stealing the hood ornament, by grabbing it and pulling up hard. So he superglued the edges from a razor blade under each side. One day he came out of a store to find blood all over the hood of hi white Cadillac… I love it when thieves get what for…

  17. JustinAche says:

    @goller321: The only problem with that is the person might come back with a baseball bat next time…but, props to him for defending his stuff…I still think we should be allowed to set mantraps on our own property…lawn mines, shotgun tied doors, ect.

    Needless to say, I’m big on property rights and individual sovereignty

  18. BlackBirdTA says:

    From what I’ve heard, they aren’t being stollen for the metal, but to sell to other vehicle owners. When my dad needed his converter replaced, a new one was $600-900 on his Toyota truck. He called a wrecking yard and they wanted $400 plus the core. And he has his own repair shop and knows everybody in town and can get wholesale prices. That’s when someone told him it was common for thieves to steal them and sell them on the black market.

    I know my older Chevy truck and Suburban are gas guzzlers, but I’ll just stick with them and save on parts in the long run.

  19. stpauliegirl says:

    @samurailynn: Ah, that’s interesting. Who knew newer car exhaust systems were so good on their own? What kind of car is your husband’s?

    My last experience with a missing CC was on an ’85 Buick, and it made the car sound like a tank. Back seat passengers would put their feet flat on the floor for a nice foot massage. There were no emissions tests in Wisconsin at that time, but I did repair it because I was 17 years old and needed a car that didn’t attract police attention while sneaking through small towns in the wee hours!

  20. MercuryPDX says:

    An Ohio company’s medieval-esque CatClamp is a ground-level tool to thwart thieves (who often get $200 or more for each stolen catalyst), but a lasting solution will have to come from the source.

    Here’s a thought… why not put the onus on the scrap metal buyers? When a [Insert drug here] addict comes in with 20 catalytic converters or 300 feet of copper cable, isn’t it patently obvious the materials are stolen?

  21. MYarms says:

    Glad my car is lowered a little bit. It would be impossible for a thief to crawl underneath it unless he was carrying a floor jack on him. Then again if someone is crazy enough to steal something from under your car he may just have one.

  22. lockdog says:

    That cat clamp featured in the article is brilliant. It is basically a cage for your catalytic converter that is made out of as heavy gauge aircraft cable that also connects to part of the frame. I’ve had the experience of attempting to cut aircraft cable with a sawzall. It can be done, but it sure isn’t worth it. To get around something like this the thief would need to carry a sawzall and some beefy hydraulic assisted cable cutters. Its as much the rise in scrap metal prices as the fall in prices for 18v cordless sawzalls that has contributed to all the metal theft around here. Recently one of my coworkers had the opportunity to take a pickup bed packed full of scrap copper gutter and flashing to the scrap metal yard. In addition to netting us $800, he said all the dopeheads and drunks treated him like royalty when he rolled into the lot, patting him on the back, shaking his hand, etc.

  23. forgottenpassword says:

    They can steal mine…. mine’s been rattling for over a year now after it heats up. I am waiting til it just about drops off before I shell out $$$ to get another.

    (just read the article) WOW! $200 or more for an old junked catalytic converter!!!!

    And if i ever DO get it replaced…. i will make sure to get the old one from the mechanic….. i wonder how much mechanic shops make by keeping the old ones! I figure I should recieve a discount for services if they keep my old one & cash it in!

  24. FLConsumer says:

    @MercuryPDX: Some areas are starting to do this, especially with the increasing price of copper, BUT even in those areas, the scrapyards & junkyards still get away with bloody murder. There was a nice scam going on down here where tow truck drivers would just pick up any vehicle they found on the side of the road and take it to the one particular junk yard as “scrap”. The junkyard would falsify papers and sell it off as parts.