First of all, what is a Catalytic Convertor and what is its objective for your car? When an internal combustion engine produces hazardous gases and pollutants in its exhaust, a catalytic converter acts as a catalyst for the redox reaction that turns them into less-dangerous pollutants. Since it is located on the bottom of cars, it is easy to overlook its presence if it is ever stolen, thus the popularity of catalytic convertor thieves.
Criminals frequently target catalyst converters because they are relatively easy to steal and because the crime might go unnoticed for months or even years after it occurs. Those who steal converters can sell them on the black market for a high price, and the thieves can then resale them for a lesser price to unsuspecting consumers.
Even though most automobile thefts occur while vehicles are left alone in driveways or on the road, some crooks have the courage to rob them from supermarket parking lots while their owners are inside the store.
In recent years, the price of gold and other precious metals has risen dramatically, making certain components of automobile exhaust systems more valuable as scrap metal. Therefore because of its increase in value along with its discreet location on the vehicle thieves have chosen these parts to remove and resell.
Automobile catalytic converters – and occasionally entire exhaust systems – have been stolen for many years from their owners. Because it is expensive to replace the catalytic converter and exhaust system of a Toyota Prius, for example, there is a market for pre-owned systems available.
This has been made worse by an increase in the price of precious metals used in catalytic converters, such as palladium and rhodium, which are both more expensive than gold, and therefore making the situation worse. Palladium is priced at $3363 per ounce, rhodium at $31,083, and platinum at $1482 per ounce, according to the International Monetary Fund.
The increased demand for metals for use in low-emission automobiles has contributed to the increase in the value of certain metals.
Thieves prey on hybrid vehicles such as the Toyota Auris and Prius because they have two power sources: an electric motor and a gasoline or diesel engine, which minimizes the need for catalytic converters on the vehicles. Metals contained within them will be less susceptible to corrosion, making them more valuable — and hence more appealing to thieves.
Certain versions of vehicles include a catalytic converter that can be easily removed by thieves who just slip under the vehicle and cut it out. When the device is positioned in the engine bay, it makes it more difficult to steal from the vehicle.
Catalytic converters in older vehicles have higher concentrations of valuable metals than those in newer vehicles, making them more appealing targets for burglars and thieves.
According to Toyota, the second and third-generation Prius cars (2004-2009 and 2009-2016, respectively) as well as the second-generation Auris Hybrids (2012-2018) have been the most often targeted vehicles by thieves.
Toyota introduced a protective shell called the Catloc for the second-generation Prius and other vehicles, including the previous-generation Auris, at the 2019 New York Auto Show. Owners can purchase the Catloc for $331 (including installation) or $419 (includes installation) depending on their needs.
The company manufactures an exhaust system bundle, which contains the catalytic converter, exhaust system, and Catloc, for Toyota autos that have had all of their exhaust systems stolen. Because it costs approximately $1843 and is being offered at cost, the brand does not make any money from the delivery or installation of this item.
Toyota has collaborated with law enforcement to create a tagging system for catalytic converters that are widely accepted. Catalytic converters on older models are being labelled so that they can be tracked back to the owner’s car if they are stolen, as part of a national initiative. Because they won’t have to buy another one, owners will save money, and the police will have an easier time convicting the thieves. There is a free catalytic converter marking programme at Toyota and Lexus franchised dealerships for older models’ owners.
Owners of older automobiles, particularly hybrids with catalytic converters, are being urged by the police to take precautionary measures to protect their vehicles from this hazard, which does not just affect Toyota models. It is best to park your car in the garage if feasible, or if you have to, park it on the driveway or road so that your exhaust pipe is facing the fence or wall. The underside of your vehicle will be more accessible to thieves if you park it half on the road and half on the kerb. Alternatively, you may choose to install a CCTV in your home or equip your automobile with an alarm system.
According to authorities, you should not approach somebody you suspect of stealing a catalytic converter; rather, call the police.
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