It would be a big mistake to think that you can never fall victim to catalytic converter theft, as it is relatively one of the easiest parts of a vehicle to steal, which is not ideal, seeing that it is a very important part.
The sound from your car when you turn on your engine, the smell that erupts from virtually every part, and the unmitigated fume that comes out of your exhaust will be the first few signs that your catalytic converter must have been stolen.
So the question left to answer is, what to do if catalytic converter is stolen?
The first thing to do once you notice your catalytic converter is stolen is to report it to the appropriate authorities in the area, they can access the security footage within to locate the culprits. You can also check your dashcam footage, including the neighbor’s security or doorbell footage.
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Can a Catalytic Converter be Stolen?
Absolutely! Catalytic converters can be stolen if there’s a thief in sight, or when you park in a reckless, secluded space.
Catalytic converters are one of the easiest parts of a vehicle to steal, as they are usually located underneath most vehicles, so a thief wouldn’t necessarily be seen when he’s stealing it.
To steal a catalytic converter, thieves don’t even need a lot of tools. All they need is a jack and a saw. Yes. You heard that right. You don’t need even up to a minute to dismember the catalytic converter of a car from the car.
This is why car part thieves can even steal catalytic converters in broad daylight. For something so useful to a vehicle, for something very essential, it is too easy to steal.
Anyone can steal a catalytic converter, as long as they are criminal-minded and have no issues with disregarding the laws of the state.
Why are Catalytic Converters Stolen?
Simple. Easy money. For a part of a vehicle so important and in high demand, it is very easy to steal, thieves can sell it for as high as five hundred dollars ($500), or seven hundred dollars ($700).
People who don’t care for hard or honest work go around seeking ways to make money fast without doing much. However, removing a catalytic converter, for those who know how it can be done is likened to an easy and quick way of making money.
Also, catalytic converters are in high demand, so many times, they don’t have any issues finding a buyer for a stolen catalytic converter. They can sell it within twenty-four hours of stealing it. Fast money, easy work.
What to Do If Catalytic Converter is Stolen
The very first thing you need to do when you find out that your catalytic converter is stolen is to report it to the appropriate authorities in the region.
The police can access local community security cameras, so, if you are lucky, and where you parked your car is covered by at least one surveillance camera, they can help you catch the thief and recover your catalytic converter.
You can as well check your dashcam, footage, who knows, the dashcam might have captured the faces of the culprits.
Nonetheless, what you should do when you discover your catalytic converter has been stolen, after reporting it to the authorities, is to take the car to a mechanic and have him replace the catalytic converter.
Do not drive around without a catalytic converter. It is not only harmful to your health and those around you, but it will also cost you a lot of money, as the gas mileage will be in shambles, and it will destroy the driving experience for you altogether.
Signs Your Catalytic Converter is Stolen
Several things will be happening to your vehicle at the same time once your catalytic converter has been removed from your vehicle.
Most of these signs are very hard to ignore, as you would not be able to drive comfortably with a car that has no catalytic converter.
Here are some signs that your catalytic converter has been stolen from your vehicle:
1. Strange Loud Noise
Your vehicle starts to give strange loud noise that it wasn’t giving before, and this noise, while you drive will be so much of a nuisance, that you will have no choice but to stop your car and investigate the cause of the noise.
2. Nasty Smell Around Your Car
This is another sign that your catalytic converter has been stolen. You start to perceive the bad smell caused by unprocessed fume coming out of your vehicle.
This kind of smell always subdues any kind of air freshener around your car, and you won’t be able to bear the smell anymore until you check your vehicle. Also, an overheated catalytic converter can also cause a nasty smell around your car.
3. Too Much Smoke Coming out of Your vehicle
The catalytic converter is used to process raw carbon monoxide, eliminating the toxins inside the fume and emitting harmless and reduced smoke into the environment.
If your catalytic converter is missing, this function will not be performed, and so the smoke from your engine will simply be coming out of your vehicle unprocessed. And unprocessed smoke means increased smoke and toxic smoke.
4. Check Engine Light
Check Engine Light on your dashboard appears when there is an anomaly with your vehicle. It is an indication that something is wrong and you need to check your engine, and car generally.
The Check Engine Light comes out for any kind of anomaly, so this is a rather vague sign, but it will come up if your catalytic converter gets stolen.
So, even if you ignore the remaining signs or are unconscious of them, once the Check Engine Light comes on, you have to thoroughly inspect your car, and so find out that you have fallen victim to a catalytic converter theft.
5. Gas Mileage Goes Bad
This means that your vehicle starts to exhaust more gas than it would have if the catalytic converter was present.
You notice that you are buying more fuel than you used to, and sooner than you used to. This is another sign your catalytic converter must have been stolen.
6. Acceleration Problems
Your acceleration won’t function properly any longer. It dwindles in efficiency, and your car starts to accelerate unevenly. This is dangerous, especially when you drive on the highway.
These are how to tell that your catalytic converter has been stolen. You are expected to take action immediately, you may be able to catch the thief and recover your catalytic before they sell it off.
Who Buys Stolen Catalytic Converters?
Stolen catalytic converters used to be sold online, that is, on Facebook, eBay, and other online stores, however, thieves have improvised since the authorities started clamping on them.
These thieves now sell stolen catalytic converters on the black markets; an unregulated, illegal market that contrabands and every other illegal item you can think of as sold.
Mostly, the people who go to these markets to buy them are mechanics helping their clients fix their vehicles, or trying to procure a catalytic converter.
Sometimes, car owners who have fallen victim to a car theft and know their way around also go on to buy in the black market because it is relatively cheaper, and you don’t have to go through the painstaking paperwork.
Ensure that, before you start to repair, you report to the authorities the minute you find out your car has been vandalized, and the catalytic converter has been stolen.
Even if you don’t have hopes of getting it back, possibly because you have parked where there are no security cameras to catch the thief, still report to the authorities before doing any other thing.