Date Published: 2023/04/01

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Theft of this car part is on the rise in Canada – is your vehicle an easy target?

Two white hands reaching up to remove the catalytic converter from the underside of a well used, partially rusted vehicle.

Canada has seen an alarming rise in the theft of catalytic converters, particularly since the start of the pandemic. In 2021, Aviva Insurance Company saw an increase of 123% more theft incidents than in 2020. This part is being targeted by thieves for the precious metals inside, some more valuable than gold. They're relatively easy to steal, as they can be removed in a matter of minutes.

What is a catalytic converter?

It’s an important part of a vehicle’s exhaust system. It reduces the harmful airborne engine exhaust pollutants by converting them to less toxic material. They’re found on almost all vehicles, except for electric vehicles. They’re typically located on the underside of the vehicle between the engine and the muffler.

Why are thieves targeting this car part more than others?

Catalytic converters contain three precious metals: palladium, platinum, and rhodium. This makes them an appealing target for thieves. The value of these metals has gone up significantly—some even quadrupling in value in recent years. Stolen converters can be sold as scrap metal and fetch between $100 to $500 for a car’s and $500 to $1,500 for a van or truck’s.

How can I protect myself against catalytic converter theft?

Depending on the model of your vehicle and the replacement selected, you could be looking at a bill between $1,500 to $2,500.

There are steps you can take to prevent the theft of this high-value car part:

  1. Park your vehicle inside a garage when possible or in well-lit areas near building entrances.

  2. Consider installing a metal cage on your vehicle to cover the catalytic converter.

  3. Set your vehicle's alarm to go off when vibration is detected.

  4. Consider having your VIN engraved onto your catalytic converter by a specialist. This may make the resale of the stolen part more difficult and can help identify the correct owner of the vehicle. 

Which cars are most likely to have their catalytic converter stolen?

Manitoba Public Insurance (MPI) has been tracking catalytic converter thefts and has compiled a list of the five most targeted vehicles.

  1. Hyundai Tucson
  2. Honda CR-V
  3. Hyundai Santa Fe
  4. Kia Sportage
  5. Mitsubishi RVR

In the U.S., Carfax looked at service reports for catalytic converter replacements from more than 60,000 service shops from 2019 through the first three months of 2022. They’ve compiled a list of the car models most likely to be targeted by catalytic converter thieves. 

  1. 1985-2021 Ford F-Series
  2. 1989-2020 Honda Accord
  3. 2007-17 Jeep Patriot
  4. 1990-2022 Ford Econoline
  5. 1999-2021 Chevrolet Silverado
  6. 2005-21 Chevrolet Equinox
  7. 1997-2020 Honda CR-V
  8. 1987-2019 Toyota Camry
  9. 2011-17 Chrysler 200
  10. 2001-21 Toyota Prius

Catalytic converter theft is typically covered under a comprehensive car insurance policy. Contact your Orbit insurance broker if you have questions about your coverage and to review your policy.