June 16, 2024

All you need to know about catalytic converter thefts

Recent data shows that nearly 100,000 thefts of catalytic converters were reported to authorities in the last three years, amounting to approximately 75 incidents per day in 2022.

These exhaust emission devices often contain valuable metals, making them worth up to £600 each. Victims are left with significant repair and replacement expenses, which can exceed £2,000 per incident.

Here are answers to common questions about catalytic converters provided by experts at Adrian Flux:

What is a catalytic converter and its function?

A catalytic converter is situated in the exhaust pipe near the manifold. It cleans the car’s exhaust fumes before releasing them into the atmosphere.

It converts pollutants like carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and nitrogen oxides into less harmful substances such as carbon dioxide, water, and nitrogen, although these are still major contributors to global warming.

Why do individuals steal catalytic converters?

Cars’ catalytic converters contain valuable metals like platinum, palladium, and rhodium.

Rhodium is currently valued at nearly £10,000 per ounce, making it more expensive than 24-carat gold at around £1,500 per ounce. Palladium and platinum are valued at £1,200 per ounce.

Organized crime groups steal catalytic converters to extract the precious metals on a large scale for recycling into various products.

How do thieves steal catalytic converters?

Thieves can easily access the catalytic converter on most cars and vans, using equipment like a battery-powered steel cutter or angle grinder to remove it within a minute.

Are certain vehicles more susceptible to theft?

Vehicles with high ground clearance, such as 4x4s, are at greater risk. Models like the Honda Jazz (pre-2008) and certain Toyota and German cars have been targeted due to the ease of reaching their catalytic converters.

Why the recent surge in thefts?

Theft of catalytic converters had been decreasing until a few years ago, attributed in part to stricter laws on buying scrap metal for cash and falling metal prices. However, thefts have risen again as metal prices have increased.

How can I safeguard my catalytic converter?

Options include etching security details onto the converter, securing it with extra bolts, using a protective van lock, or parking defensively against a wall or low-slung vehicle. Installing CCTV, perimeter fencing, and lighting can also deter theft.

Can I claim insurance for a stolen catalytic converter?

Yes, you can typically claim on your insurance for a stolen catalytic converter, subject to your policy’s excess. This applies to both comprehensive and third-party, fire, and theft policies, but it may affect your No Claims Discount unless protected.

For a quick and competitive insurance quote, call 0800 369 8590 – 81.5% of customers who received an online quote in August 2022 could have obtained a cheaper quote over the phone. Alternatively, schedule a call back at your convenience.


Q: How can I prevent catalytic converter theft?

A: Some tips to prevent theft include securing the converter with extra bolts, using a protective lock, and parking defensively.


Protecting your catalytic converter is essential due to the high value of its metals and the potential financial impact of theft. By taking precautionary measures and staying informed, you can reduce the risk of becoming a victim of this crime.

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