Catalytic Converter Theft (VIDEO)

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Clan Cooper:

Hello, I’m Clint Cooper, the technical expert at AP Emissions. I’m here with Ryan McDonough, our manufactured products expert, to discuss an important clean air issue. Clean air is important and nobody cares more about the quality of the air you breathe than AP emissions. Our business focuses on producing high quality, clean catalytic converters, ensuring technicians have the diagnostic skills needed to fix the real problem first. We make converters that are designed for fit and durability. We are confident that if you install one of our catalytic converters in your car, the lights will stay off. Clean air is our passion. In the past year we have seen a new and growing threat to clean air, catalytic converter theft.

Clan Cooper:

Over the decade, from 2008 to 2018, typically only 1,000 or 2,000 converters were stolen in the United States each year. In 2019 we recorded a steady increase in converter thefts to around 3,500. But things really took off in 2020 and 2021. In 2020, over 14,000 converters were reported stolen. We estimate that over 50,000 converters will be stolen in 2021. We estimate that nearly 100,000 converters will be stolen in 2022. AP Emissions is doing everything we can to stop these thefts and we are here to support you if your converter has been stolen. This video provides some helpful information on what you can do to protect your precious converter and what to do if it’s stolen.

Ryan McDonough:

So, Clint, why are thieves stealing catalytic converters?

Clan Cooper:

Well, Ryan, it depends on the precious metals in this converter. We have platinum, palladium, rhodium. With rhodium recently trading at around $30,000 an ounce and platinum rising at the moment due to economic sanctions against Russia, these things can be priced very, very high and are therefore valuable to thieves. Catalyst thieves can sell converters to scrappers for hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars each, and the scrapper has no way of knowing if the converters were stolen or removed because they were defective and need to be replaced. Scrapers have always bought defective cats because the processors still have the precious metals in them. Even though they’re no longer working to reduce emissions, these precious metals are still there so they can get money for them. But now many unknowingly buy stolen converters. They might buy a few bad apples willingly, knowing they might be stolen, and that’s a problem too.

Ryan McDonough:

I heard that catalytic converter thieves can remove a catalytic converter in less than a minute.

Clan Cooper:

It can really be gone in less than 60 seconds, often with very little noise and nobody noticing while it’s happening. The thieves go under your car to steal your converter, making them difficult to spot at a glance. You just can’t see it because they’re under your car. You can cut the pipe with a hacksaw or pipe cutter, or simply loosen the converter by removing four to eight fasteners. It is usually more of a crime of convenience than a targeted planned theft, but we occasionally see targeted planned thefts as well. Typically, thieves drive around and stop as soon as they see a vehicle with a valuable or easily stolen converter. Many converted thefts will happen in broad daylight, and many potential witnesses say they didn’t notice. But most of it happens at night under cover of darkness.

Ryan McDonough:

Are there certain types of cars that are more popular with thieves?

Clan Cooper:

Yes. Thieves like to target hybrid vehicles and large trucks.

Ryan McDonough:

I can understand why they target big trucks. They usually have large catalyzing rocks as their engines are larger and they have easy access to the converter as they are high off the ground. But why hybrids?

Clan Cooper:

Hybrid converters often have heavy rhodium loading and they don’t see much wear as they are only used when the car is running on its petrol engine. Rhodium is often 10 to sometimes 20 times more expensive than platinum and palladium and these converters are worth a significant amount of money.

Ryan McDonough:

What can you do to protect yourself with all the valuable precious metals under the car?

Clan Cooper:

Well, there are a few things you should park in well-lit, visible, high-traffic areas. If it’s a parking garage, park in the front where you can be seen. If you have a garage at home, park your car there when unattended. Some people with cars that are frequent targets of theft might even go so far as to install an anti-theft device or cage to deter thieves from stealing the converter. Anti-theft devices and cages can sometimes double or triple the time it takes to steal your converter.

Ryan McDonough:

So how will people know if their cat has been stolen?

Clan Cooper:

Unfortunately it will be very obvious. The exhaust will be incredibly loud because the muffler will no longer muffle the sound. It’ll sound like a race car, but not in a good way.

Ryan McDonough:

All right, what should we do if our converter is stolen?

Clan Cooper:

The converter must be replaced immediately. You can’t just drive around with it and ignore it. So if your converter is stolen the first thing you should do is contact your technician to see if they would prefer you tow the car or drive it up for replacement. Check under the car to ensure there are no exhaust pipes or wired exhaust sensors hanging down that can catch on road obstacles when driving it to this workshop. When it comes time to choose a replacement catalytic converter, we recommend that you go with a brand name aftermarket catalytic converter. Cheap, non-branded aftermarket cats often have low catalyst loading and do a poor job of turning off the check engine light and cleaning the air.

Clan Cooper:

Our clean-by-design direct-fit catalytic converters come with all required gaskets and fasteners, have a rugged, heavy-duty catalyst charge engineered for your car, are made of stainless steel, and are backed by a 50,000-mile guarantee for peace of mind. They are the perfect replacement solution. If they take yours, grab ours. Ask for a named AP emissions converter when speaking to your service manager.

Ryan McDonough:

Thank you Clint That’s a lot of great information on converter theft. Hopefully it helps someone protect theirs.

Clan Cooper:

We make converters that are designed for fit and durability. We leave the lights out.

This video is sponsored by AP Emissions.

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