If your car unexpectedly fails an emissions tests, make sure it still has a catalytic converter.
The catalytic converter is a device in your car that helps clean the exhaust emissions. Without the catalytic converter and the chemical reactions it brings about, your car emits more harmful exhaust gases.
Although your car will likely still run without a catalytic converter, it probably won’t be able to pass an emissions test. If you live somewhere that requires emissions testing – like New York – you may need to have a new catalytic converter installed before you can register your vehicle. A missing catalytic converter can also impact fuel efficiency and cause your car to run rougher. In other words, you need to have a catalytic converter – and that makes the recent thefts a problem.
Catalytic Converter Thefts Are on the Rise
Catalytic converters contain precious metals. The value of these metals has increased in recent years, making catalytic converters a tempting target for thieves.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, an average of 108 catalytic converter thefts occurred each month in 2018. In 2019, the number went up to 282 thefts per month. Then, in 2020, the number skyrocketed to 1,203 thefts per month. California, Texas, Minnesota, North Carolina and Illinois have seen the highest rates of thefts, but the crime can happen anywhere.
To avoid becoming the next victim, take action:
- Park your vehicle or fleet in a safe area. A garage or secured parking lot is ideal. Motion sensor lights may also deter thieves.
- Protect vehicles with alarms and catalytic converter anti-theft devices.
Steps to Take After Your Catalytic Converter Has Been Stolen
If your catalytic converter has been stolen, you will need to take action.
- First, verify that the catalytic convertor has actually been stolen. Although these devices tend to have long lives, they can get clogged or damaged. If your catalytic convertor has been stolen, you should be able to see where it has been cut out. You can also take your car to a mechanic.
- File a police report. Contact your local police to file a report. Even if they can’t recover the catalytic converter, reporting the crime can help police understand how widespread the problem is in your area. You may also need a police report for insurance purposes.
- Contact your insurer. If you have comprehensive auto insurance coverage, the theft of the catalytic convertor should be covered. You will typically have to pay the deductible.
- Have a new catalytic converter installed. According to AutoZone, the cost of a new direct-fit catalytic convertor can run anywhere from $300 to $2,500, and you’ll need to pay for labor on top of that.
Need a personal or commercial auto insurance review or quote? BNC Insurance can help with that. Contact us to learn more.