Toyota, Subaru, Honda owners beware: Car part theft ‘epidemic’ is targeting your catalytic converter

FAN Editor

If you drive a Toyota Prius, Subaru Forester or Honda Element, auto experts are advising you keep an extra eye on this one specific car part that’s seen a 1,215% increase in thefts since 2019.

“It’s an epidemic,” Joe’s Expert Auto owner Joe Betancourt told FOX Business’ Grady Trimble on Thursday. “We will finish three [vehicles], and five will show up. It’s just scary right now.”

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, more than 52,000 catalytic converters were stolen in 2021, soaring 1,215% from 2019. The car part’s primary function is to convert environmentally harmful gasses from the engine to less harmful gasses.

Lower-emission cars like Toyota Priuses, Subaru Foresters and Honda Elements are primarily targeted due to higher concentrations of valuable metals inside converters.

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For vehicle models that have dual catalytic converters, like a Jeep Liberty, crooks can earn double the pay while owners are left with a $4,000 repair, the Chicago auto expert explained.

Man repairing catalytic converter

Vehicles’ catalytic converters that contain precious metals which cost up to $14,000 per ounce are being targeted by crooks in a theft “epidemic,” Joe’s Expert Auto owner Joe Betancourt said on “Varney & Co.” Thursday, August 25, 2022. (Getty Images)

“There are [sic] three precious metals in them, and one of them, rhodium, it’s almost at $14,000 an ounce,” Betancourt said. “There is usually anywhere from 3 to 7 grams’ load in these vehicles, so do the math.”

The Chicago Police Department reportedly proposed car owners paint their catalytic converters a bright color, to more easily identify and retrieve the stolen part.

“I don’t see how it’s going to stop anyone,” Betancourt argued, “but that’s just me. I may be wrong.”

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Betancourt is a “big advocate” of installing catalytic converter shields that use safety screws to slow down crooks’ theft time.

“It mainly slows them down,” the auto expert pointed out. “They’ve got three minutes to do a car, they don’t want to spend 15 to 20 minutes.”

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