Which Cars Are Least Likely to Have Catalytic Converter Stolen?

Published: 09/14/22 •  8 min read

Most ordinary people may not even know the meaning of a catalytic converter; other than that, they are a source of income for scrapyards and thieves. However, this obscure component plays an integral part in the exhaust system. Unfortunately, catalytic converters are made up of certain kinds that contain precious metals, making them attractive targets for theft.

Certain cars are more prone to theft, but don’t be afraid! Autosphile is here to assist. This post will discuss the fundamentals of catalytic converters, which vehicles are most susceptible and least susceptible to being targeted, and the best way to safeguard your vehicle from theft.

Which Cars Are Least Likely to Have Catalytic Converter Stolen? Short Answer

Catalytic converter thefts are on the rise everywhere–especially if you drive a hybrid vehicle or large pickup truck.

What Is a Catalytic Converter?

Catalytic Converter

Catalytic converters are a vital component of the exhaust system for a car. Catalytic converters usually are situated between the car’s engine and the muffler. Some vehicles have forward and a reverse catalytic convertor; however, many cars only have one.

When a vehicle’s engine utilizes fuel, it is converted into harmful gasses, like carbon monoxide (CO) and nitric oxide. The catalytic converter transforms these harmful pollutants into water and carbon dioxide through several chemical reactions before releasing them via the exhaust pipes.

Why Do Catalytic Converters Are Targets of the Thief?

Catalytic converters contain expensive metals such as platinum, rhodium, and palladium that catalyze chemical reactions. These valuable materials make catalytic converters a target for thieves, who make money through selling the components to metal recycling or scrapyards factories. Thieves earn anything between $25 to $300 for a typical catalytic converter, and those taken from hybrid vehicles could fetch as high as $1,400.

They are also accessible through the vehicle’s underside. Catalytic converters typically hang higher than other parts of the car, which makes them attractive for thieves to climb under the car to take them away.

Which Cars Are Most Likely to Have Catalytic Converter Stolen?

Although catalytic converter thefts are typically crimes of chance, most thieves target specific types of vehicle models. Here’s a hint of what kinds of vehicles are most vulnerable to catalytic converter theft.

Hybrid Vehicles

The less pollutant-free the vehicle, the more valuable its catalytic converter will tend to be. The more efficient cars require a more significant amount of palladium, the rare metal, increasing the converter’s value.

Luxury Cars

Ferrari F430 carries the most valuable catalytic converter, worth 3770 dollars for each. The F430 comes with two converters, making them a substantial potential target for thieves. Lamborghinis are also equipped with the most expensive catalytic converters, which average around $3000.

Older cars

Due to their concentration of valuable metals and their general non-eco-friendliness, catalytic converters in larger, older vehicles are worth more than newer, more efficient cars.

Trucks and SUVs

Larger SUVs and trucks tend to be targeted because of two reasons. First, their bigger engines translate into an improved catalytic converter. For instance, Dodge Ram 2500’s catalytic converter’s worth is almost Ferrari-like at an astounding $2,000. Second, their elevation from the surface makes their converters easier targets for burglars.

Which Cars Are Least Likely to Have Catalytic Converter Stolen?

The government has cleaned the automobiles, making it compulsory for vehicles to be equipped with converters. The cars with the lower value of precious metals are the least likely to lose their converters, but that doesn’t necessarily mean thieves will not steal the converters. For example, cars equipped with bad catalytic converters sell for very little or nothing at the scrapyard and, therefore, are unlikely to target thieves. 

A converter catalytic’s worth is generally determined based on the car’s model, the year, and the type of engine.

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Cars built prior to 1974 are the least likely to be a victim to converter thieves because they don’t have converters. Therefore antique and vintage models are free from the danger of theft. 

Diesel Vehicles

Diesel converters contain almost no precious metals. Therefore they are of little worth to thieves.

Electric Vehicles

Electric cars do not have catalytic converters since they don’t emit gaseous substances. The car is connected to an energy source to recharge the battery and doesn’t use gasoline or diesel. They do not operate on gas and don’t need catalytic converters. So electric vehicles are totally protected from thieves who steal converters.

Protected Catalytic Converter

More recent models, like Honda’s latest 2015 Accord as well as Jazz models, come with a catalytic converter inside the engine compartment. This makes it more challenging for thieves to steal the converters.

Least Risk Makes

Several manufacturers make catalytic converters that are typically less valuable and therefore less susceptible to theft. Thieves are unlikely to think of absconding with their converters because they are not worth anything because they lack precious metals. These are –

How to Safeguard Your Catalytic Converter?

With the number of thefts increasing, it’s more crucial than ever to secure your vehicle from the theft of catalytic converters. If you don’t have a garage for your vehicle, you are not out of luck. Here are some safety guidelines to safeguard your vehicle:

  1. Always make sure you park your car safely. It is best to park your exhaust pipe near the wall and park only in areas with good lighting.
  2. Think about the installation of a catalytic converter protector device. Many mechanic shops install a metal shield to protect your catalytic converter.
  3. Inscribe your license number or VIN on your catalytic converter. This makes the item easier to track and identify if the person who stole it tries to resell it.
  4. The cost of replacing a catalytic converter is not affordable; typically, the cost can run to the thousands if you add the labor cost. So to safeguard your vehicle is to get the appropriate vehicle insurance coverage so that the catalytic conversion theft and replacement will be protected.


How Do I Make Sure My Catalytic Converter Doesn’t Get Stolen?

There are several things you can do to protect your car against catalytic converter theft. Etching the license plate number on it is a good way to make it harder for thieves to steal the converter. Parking in well-lit areas and installing an anti-theft device are also effective measures.

What Cars Are Targeted for Catalytic Converter Theft?

According to The American Automobile Association (AAA).Vehicles that sit higher off the ground are common targets for catalytic converter thieves, as they allow easier access to these parts. Trucks, SUVs and vans are particularly at risk, but buses and delivery vehicles also face a danger of being targeted.

What Car Has the Highest Catalytic Converter Scrap Value?

Some high-end cars like BMWs, Porsches, Lamborghinis, Rolls-Royces and Bentleys have really expensive catalytic converters!

Can You Drive without A Catalytic Converter?

In case if your catalytic converter is stolen, you can still technically drive without a catalytic converter. But really, why would you want to? It’s not just illegal in some states – your car might also fail an emissions test if you go without one. Catalytic converters aren’t exactly expensive, so it’s probably not worth the risk!

Which Cars do not have Catalytic Converters?

Electric vehicles are the only vehicle on the road today without any converters. They recharge their batteries by plugging into the outlet and consume no gasoline or diesel. Both plug-ins and non-plug-in hybrids use catalytic converters. These are some examples of cars that do not have a catalytic converter:

What Vehicles Have the Most Valuable Scrap Catalytic Converters?

The most valuable scrap catalytic converters are typically found in luxury vehicles. Cars like 2017 – 2022 Ram 2500, 2003 – 2022 Ford F-250, 1974 – 2022 Ford Mustang, 2019 – 2022 Lamborghini Aventador and 2004 – 2009 Ferrari F430, all have catalytic converters that are worth a significant amount of money when scrapped.

Do Diesel Cars Have Catalytic Converters?

Diesel cars have catalytic converters, but the way that they work is different from gas-powered cars. Some diesel engines have a two-way catalytic converter with a diesel oxidization catalyst. However, some diesel engines may have a three-way catalytic converter which includes an SCR reduction.

Do Diesel Catalytic Converters Get Stolen?

Yes, diesel catalytic converters can be stolen. They are often targeted by thieves because they contain valuable metals like platinum and palladium. Converters can be easily removed from a car, so they are an easy target for thieves.

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The likelihood of stealing converters in cars is high. So, you must ensure that your vehicle is in good condition because you never know the moment a burglar can take out the catalytic converter. All SUVs and pickups are susceptible to theft of converters even when the cost is not too high; hence, it is more beneficial to take care of the vehicles.