Canada has seen an alarming rise in the theft of catalytic converters, particularly since the pandemic’s start. In 2021, Aviva Insurance Company saw an increase of 123% more theft incidents than in 2020. Thieves target this part for the precious metals inside, some more valuable than gold. They’re relatively easy to steal, as they can be removed in minutes.
What is a catalytic converter?
It’s an essential 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, including RVs with engines, like Class A, B and C motorhomes. Although travel trailers do not have a catalytic converter, the towing car will. They’re typically located on the vehicle’s underside 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 and $500 to $1,500 for a van, truck, or RV.
Since RVs are frequently left in storage or unattended for long periods, they are prime targets for theft. Catalytic converters can be taken from a brand-new RV on the lot or in your driveway!
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:
- Be aware of where you’re parking your RV. Look for well-lit areas near foot traffic, and always try to learn more about places you’re visiting ahead of time, including campgrounds and RV parks.
- Consider installing a metal cage on your RV to cover the catalytic converter.
- Set your vehicle’s alarm to go off when vibration is detected.
- 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.
- Hyundai Tucson
- Honda CR-V
- Hyundai Santa Fe
- Kia Sportage
- 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.
- 1985-2021 Ford F-Series
- 1989-2020 Honda Accord
- 2007-17 Jeep Patriot
- 1990-2022 Ford Econoline
- 1999-2021 Chevrolet Silverado
- 2005-21 Chevrolet Equinox
- 1997-2020 Honda CR-V
- 1987-2019 Toyota Camry
- 2011-17 Chrysler 200
- 2001-21 Toyota Prius
Catalytic converter theft is typically covered under the all perils or comprehensive section on an insurance policy. Contact your Wayfarer Insurance broker if you have questions about your coverage and review your policy.