How to Tell if Catalytic Converter is Stolen

How to Tell if Catalytic Converter is Stolen

Some parts of vehicles are usually stolen by thieves, and catalytic converters are no exception. Catalytic converters are a very important part of vehicles that are also very easily stolen by car part thieves.

The catalytic converter is responsible for converting toxic emissions from your car’s engine into smoke that isn’t harmful to people in its environment. It performs in some sort of way like a detox against toxins.

There are so many reasons why thieves steal catalytic converters. They steal it because converters are regarded as something that would fetch them good money when they sell it.  Therefore, how to tell if catalytic converter is stolen?

The best way to tell your catalytic converter is stolen is through a loud noise coming from under your car. This is because, for a thief to steal your catalytic converter, he needs to cut it off from the exhaust, doing this will cause a loud sound from your exhaust.

Can You Tell if Your Catalytic Converter is Stolen?

Yes, you can tell if the catalytic converter of a vehicle has been removed, or has been stolen.

Since the catalytic converter is an essential part of your vehicle, your car will certainly give various signs once all the functions performed by the catalytic converter are not being performed, due to it being stolen. That’s how you will know.

Just like you can tell if there isn’t food in your stomach by the loud, churning sounds from your tummy, you can also tell, in the same way, that your catalytic converter is stolen.

How to Tell if Catalytic Converter is stolen

Here are some of the signs that your catalytic converter is stolen:

1. Strange and Loud Noise from Your Vehicle

This is the very first and tangible sign you will get from your vehicle once your catalytic converter is stolen.

Your vehicle will start making a loud noise, as it is pushing out unconverted smoke. This noise will be very belligerent and you won’t even be able to ignore it until you check what is wrong.

This way, you’d find out that your catalytic converter has been stolen.

2. Check Engine Light Will Come On

If there is anything wrong with your vehicle, be rest assured that your Check Engine Light will come up, instructing you that you should check your engine for faults the system has detected.

If your catalytic converter is absent from your vehicle, it is an indication that your vehicle isn’t complete, as there is an important part missing, and the Check Engine Light will come on to make sure you check.

It is very risky to keep driving when your Check Engine Light is on. You never can tell what is wrong with your vehicle, and whether you are putting your life in danger.

4. Checking Underneath Your Vehicle

This is another way of knowing that your catalytic converter is stolen. By checking underneath your vehicle for missing components.

This might be a little more obvious than the rest as you have to check deliberately under your vehicle to confirm that the components are missing.

When you check manually and find out that certain components are missing, if your catalytic converter was stolen, you will find out during this inspection.

5. Increase in Exhaust Fumes

Since the catalytic converter’s responsibility is the regulation of exhaust smoke or fumes coming out of the car, the fumes will be greatly affected by the absence of the catalytic converter.

The exhaust fumes will increase greatly, too great for comfort because you will not be able to unwind your glasses as you drive. You will be disturbed by the amount of smoke coming out of your vehicle.

6. Bumpy Acceleration

Another way of knowing that your catalytic converter has been stolen is if your acceleration isn’t balanced, or functioning as appropriate.

Acceleration is one of the important processes of a vehicle, and if there is something wrong with it, it can pose a danger to the occupants of the vehicle.

Once you notice an uneven working of your acceleration as you drive, you have to park and properly inspect your vehicle. It could be that your catalytic converter has been stolen.

7. Discomfort Caused by Carbon monoxide

The catalytic converter is used to process fumes, the carbon that exudes from the engine of the vehicle through the exhaust system.

It is important to process fume to reduce the toxins in them that are harmful to the environment and anybody that inhales them.

When you are already getting uncomfortable as a result of the increased smoke from your vehicle, you should check. It might be an indication that you have been jilted by your catalytic converter.

Why Do Thieves Steal Catalytic Converters?

The major reason why thieves steal catalytic converters is to sell them off to people in need of it and make some money. Catalytic converters are expensive, so stealing one and selling it off is already huge money for the thief.

As stated earlier, catalytic converters are very important as they help limit the toxicity in the fumes generated by the engine of a car. It will be difficult to drive a car without a catalytic converter conveniently.

Thieves steal them and then go on to sell them as scrap metals, or for other drivers’ use. They also steal other parts of a vehicle like the side mirrors, the tires, wipers, etc.

How Can I Catch Who Stole my Catalytic Converter?

Once you realize that your catalytic converter has been stolen, the best bet to finding who stole it is to report to the authorities who are authorized and have access to check security footage in the streets or the alley you parked your car in when it got stolen.

Contacting the authorities and accessing the timestamp of local security footage is pretty much the only way to catch the person who stole your catalytic converter.

If you have a dashcam in your, it may help in capturing the perpetrator. So, check the footage too. You can also check the footage of people’s houses situated where the incident happened. You never can tell, someone’s security camera or doorbell camera may get the footage of the incident.

How to preserve your Catalytic Converter from getting stolen

There are different ways to protect your catalytic converter from a thief. Once you do these things, you can rest assured that your catalytic converter or any other part of your vehicle won’t get cut out and stolen.

  • Park Your Car in Crowded or Well-Exposed Areas: When you park your car in the most obvious and exposed places, thieves will think twice about going to steal your catalytic converter. Nobody smart will do that in public.
  • Install an Anti-Theft Device to Your Vehicle: Doing this will certainly deter thieves. This can be in form of an alarm system around your car that goes off once your car is touched in certain ways or certain places.
  • Brand Your Catalytic Converter: Brand your catalytic converter with something that cannot be removed or washed off, probably a paint, a signature, a deliberate scratch, or anything that will set it apart.

This will discourage buyers from buying, and even hopefully discourage thieves from stealing.

Final Thoughts

There are always signs when there is an abnormality, and so there will be signs your car will give if the unfortunate incident of a catalytic converter being stolen, such as loud noises, uneven acceleration, too much smoke, check engine light, etc.

Once you figure this out, ensure you report to the appropriate authorities. However, your main aim should be to make sure it never happens.

Take protective measures such as investing in alarm systems, parking in well-lit, crowded spots, investing in motion detector lights around your parking spaces, etc.