A few simple steps could make all the difference in keeping your catalytic converter safe from the clutches of criminals.
n recent weeks, gardaí have seized large quantities of stolen catalytic converters, prized by gangs because they contain valuable metals palladium, platinum and rhodium, which are fetching increasingly high prices on international markets.
In one seizure this week, they found more than 2,000 stolen catalytic converters – the part of the car which makes exhaust gases less harmful to the environment – along with 14 drums of smelted metals from catalytic converters, with a total value of more than €2.2m.
Remember, it only takes a couple of minutes to steal your device.
The trick is to make it as difficult as possible to do so quickly – by physically and visually making it more of a risk for the thieves.
The precious metals hidden in your catalytic converter are worth a lot of money so you have to go the extra mile to ramp up the deterrent factor. It is all about reducing your risk while increasing the likelihood of detection for the thief.
1. Obviously if you can park off-street in a driveway, your chances of being targeted are greatly reduced. But that isn’t possible for many people. Parking cars close together makes it more difficult for thieves. Not having two wheels on the kerb reduces the height in which a thief can work. They need to slide under the vehicle to steal the parts and use cutting tools to detach the box from the pipes around it. Parking close to walls or fences can help too – but don’t block pedestrian access.
2. If your converter is bolted on, consider asking your local garage to weld the bolts to make it more difficult to remove.
3. Ask your garage if it can fit a device that locks in around the converter to make it more difficult to remove.
4. Consider installing exterior security cameras. They might be worth considering for general peace of mind, not just for catalytic converter theft alone. It raises the risk level for the would-be thief.
5. If you can’t park in a well-lit area, then try to park in a busy area – somewhere there is a regular stream of passers-by.
6. It is definitely well worth your while installing an alarm if you don’t already have one. The noise of one going off should be a major deterrent.
7. See if your garage will etch a unique serial number (VIN) onto your device so it can be more easily identified if stolen. Can you get a sticker made to display in your window announcing the fact that your converter is marked? Again it would reduce the attractiveness for the thief.
Just be mindful when you park your car this evening that there is a device under it that is worth money and easily taken. And there is a lucrative, ready-made illegal market.
Depending on the type, there can be up to seven grammes of precious elements in a converter for which the criminals can get between €100 to €300. So be vigilant and defensive.