Cars Most & Least Targeted By Catalytic Converter Thieves (2023)

You might not think about the possibility of your catalytic converter being stolen when you first buy a car, but you probably should.

As it turns out, some car models are more likely to be targeted by thieves than others, and they are often very expensive to replace.

In this blog post, we’ll take a look at which cars are most and least likely to have their catalytic converters stolen. So if you’re concerned about this potential threat, read on!

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Why Do Thieves Steal Catalytic Converters?

In many cars, it’s easy to access the catalytic converter. With an angle grinder, it can be quickly removed, requiring only a couple of minutes to accomplish. Inside the catalytic converter are precious and rare minerals that cost a lot of money.

Today, palladium continues to cost $2,500 per ounce, and this is just one of the minerals found inside catalytic converters. In fact, this price has skyrocketed right past the value of gold.

Cars Least Likely to Have Catalytic Converter Stolen

Cars with the catalytic converter installed in the engine compartment are much less likely to have it stolen. Many American and some Asian car brands tend to have less valuable catalysts. You can also buy an electric, diesel, or an older car without a catalytic converter installed.

(Video) Which cars are the most targeted for catalytic converter thieves

1. Certain Brand Cars

American brands such as Ford, Chevy, Jeep, Dodge, and Chrysler tend to have less valuable catalytic converters and are therefore less likely to get stolen. Some Nissan, Hyundai, Mazda, and Subaru models also fall into this category.

Many brands used cat designs that limited how many precious metals were inside. Thieves tend to do enough research to know to stay away from these brands.

2. Cars with Converters in the Engine Compartment

Several cars have installed the catalytic converter in the engine compartment instead of further back on the car’s exhaust system. This design makes it much more difficult for a thief to steal it.

No thief wants to put in the extra work to get to these cats, so they will move on to a different model. Many car models like Audi, BMW, Honda, and Volkswagen models fall into this category.

3. Cars Built Before 1974

If you are driving a car that was manufactured before 1974, you don’t need to worry about catalytic converter theft. None of these vehicles have a catalytic converter installed.

After that time, the government took action to clean up the emissions. Therefore, it became mandatory for vehicles to have a catalytic converter.

4. Electric Cars

Catalytic converters clean up the gas or diesel fuel emissions. Therefore, there’s no catalytic converter on cars that rely on electric power instead.

Because the car isn’t emitting gaseous waste, there’s nothing to clean. Plugging into a power source to charge the battery isn’t going to use any gas or diesel power.Volkswagen e-gold, Audi E-Tron, and Tesla models are some popular choices.

5. Diesel Vehicles

The diesel vehicle uses a different type of catalytic converter than gasoline vehicles. Most converter thieves know that these aren’t worth as much as gas catalytic converters.

(Video) These are the cars most commonly targeted by catalytic converter thieves

Diesel converters or so-called particle filters aren’t normally constructed with rhodium, palladium, or platinum. Since these are the precious metals that thieves are looking for, they will often move on from the diesel vehicle.

RELATED: Do Diesel Engines Have Catalytic Converters?

6. Cars with Bead Converters

Bead cats are filled with beads. Most expert thieves know which cars contain these catalytic converters because they aren’t worth anything, even though they are larger in size.

Chevy was known for using a bead converter. Additionally, some other GM models can be found with this type.

RELATED: How Much Does a Catalytic Converter Replacement Cost?

Cars Most Likely to Have Catalytic Converters Stolen

The cars that are most likely to have their catalytic converter stolen are hybrid cars like the Toyota Prius. Trucks and SUVs are also very targeted due to the large engines (valuable catalysts) and the high ground clearance, which provides easy access to the catalytic converter.

1. Hybrid Cars

If the vehicle is focused on providing clean emissions, the converter is likely more expensive. To keep the environment cleaner, the automaker will install cats with higher concentrations of palladium.

Additionally, because the car already runs cleaner with the help of an electric motor, the cats aren’t used heavily. Of course, this design also adds to a higher price for the car.Toyota Prius is one of those examples that are highly targeted to catalytic converter thefts.

2. Trucks & SUVs

There are two reasons that larger SUVs and trucks tend to be targeted. The bigger engine requires a more valuable cat for emissions standards.

(Video) Top 15 vehicles targeted by catalytic converter thieves in Denver

Additionally, the height of the vehicle makes it easier for thieves to reach the catalytic converter. With less time needed to get the job done and a good payday ahead, these are some of the most targeted vehicles. Ford F-250 and Toyota Tacoma are two great examples of this.

3. Luxury Cars

Many luxury cars have very valuable catalysts and sometimes more than one per engine due to the V-10 or V12 engines. If you look at the most expensive catalytic converters on the road today, you will see that the Ferrari F430 converter can fetch a price of over $3,500. Plus, this car contains two converters, making it a great payday for the unethical person.

Lamborghinis are also known for having expensive catalytic converters. Some of the lineup’s cats can sell for more than $3,000. However, these cars usually have a very low ground clearance and are often parked in a garage, so it’s more difficult for thieves to steal those.

4. Older Vehicles

If you get a car that’s a couple of decades old but still after -74, you are going to see more costly catalytic converters installed. That’s because the overall eco-friendliness of this vehicle wasn’t a top concern.

These cars contain larger catalytic converters with a higher level of metals included because of how poorly the emissions were. These are going to be more valuable than any off of a newer, more efficient car.

Ways to Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft

1. Choose Vehicle Wisely

Before you purchase a vehicle, do some research to see how much it is targeted. If you are considering two different models, this could be the deciding factor.

This is an important step to consider, especially if you are strapped for cash. If you put out the last of your money to purchase a car, you won’t have the funds to replace the catalytic converter if it gets stolen.

2. Install Anti-Theft Device

There are different anti-theft devices you can install to prevent the cats from being stolen. Some people choose the steel shield that makes it harder to remove.

There are also steel cages and steel cables that can be attached. Either way, you might spend $200 to $750 to have one of these devices installed.

(Video) What Cars are Targeted for Catalytic Converter Theft(Easiest Catalytic Converters to Steal) Autovfix

READ MORE: How To Protect Your Car Against Catalytic Converter Theft

3. Park Wisely

Obviously, the best place to park your vehicle is in the garage, where thieves can’t get to it. However, covered parking isn’t always feasible, especially when you are out and about.

When you park in a public location, make sure it is busy and well-lit. This step protects your catalytic converter and you car, in general, from any theft or vandalism.

4. Paint the Converter

Consider painting your catalytic converter a unique color. You could use something fluorescent, making the catalytic converter easier to identify.

You can also make it less attractive by painting or removing the VIN on the converter. Most thieves know they will have a harder time selling one of these.

5. Install a Car Alarm

If you can adjust the sensitivity of a car alarm, this could be your best defense. Many car alarms will offer settings that go off when people get close to the vehicle.

The key here is to ensure you don’t become complacent with how much more the alarm goes off. You will need to continue taking every alarm seriously and check out what’s going on.


Having the right car insurance for your car is important when it comes to catalytic theft. For example, if you have comprehensive coverage, it covers catalytic theft and the cost of a new replacement catalyst. So it is important to check these things before you get insurance for your vehicle if you are worried about catalytic converter thefts.

Categories:General, Car Insurance, Exhaust

(Video) Video shows group of thieves steal catalytic converter in L.A.


What cars are least likely to have catalytic converter stolen? ›

American cars such as Jeep, Chrysler, Ford, Dodge, and Chevrolet are least likely to be targeted as they have less valuable converters. Nissan, Mazda, Subaru, and Hyundai also limit the amount of precious metals used in the converter designs.

What car is most likely to have its catalytic converter stolen? ›

The common consensus seems to be that the Prius, Tacoma, Lexus SUVs, and the Accord are some of the most targeted cars for catalytic converter theft. So if you own one of these, make sure your car is locked up safe and sound.

What cars have the easiest catalytic converters to steal? ›

These Are The 10 Most Targeted Cars For Catalytic Converter Theft
  • 10 1985-2021 Ford F-Series.
  • 9 2011–2017 Chrysler 200.
  • 8 1999-2021 Chevrolet Silverado.
  • 7 2001–2021 Toyota Prius.
  • 6 1987–2019 Toyota Camry.
  • 5 1997–2020 Honda CR-V.
  • 4 1990-2022 Ford Econoline.
  • 3 1989-2020 Honda Accord.
Feb 28, 2023

What cars have no catalytic converters? ›

The only vehicles on the road today that don't use converters at all are all-electric vehicles, which recharge their batteries by plugging in and consuming no gasoline or diesel. Non-plug-in hybrids and plug-ins alike use catalytic converters, as do all hybrid vehicles that run on gas or diesel.

What are the best cars to get catalytic converters off of? ›

All diesel engine vehicles are also on the safe list as their converters do not contain precious metals. The vehicles most appealing to the converter hunters are trucks and SUVs, especially the Toyota Tacoma, the Honda CRV, and the Ford F-250.

What year cars do not have catalytic converters? ›

All vehicles manufactured after 1974 contain a catalytic converter. Hoping to obtain and sell its high-in-demand metals, criminals often use a jack and an angle grinder to steal catalytic converters in minutes.

How can I protect my car from catalytic converter theft? ›

The simplest solution is to keep your car away from public access when you're not using it. If you have access to a garage, keep your car there. Those without a garage should try to park their car in a well-lit area, or somewhere you can install a security camera. What's driving the rise of catalytic converter theft?

How do I keep my catalytic converter from being stolen? ›

Three ways to protect against catalytic converter theft
  1. 1) Etch your license plate number onto your catalytic converter. This makes the part identifiable to law enforcement. ...
  2. 2) Park in well-lit areas. ...
  3. 3) Install an anti-theft device.

Does painting catalytic converter prevent theft? ›

Marking your catalytic converter with paint associates it with a jurisdiction and helps prevent theft. The markings also alert scrapyard and recycling businesses the catalytic converter may have been stolen, police add.

What is one of the easiest cars to steal? ›

Kia models newer than 2011 and Hyundai cars newer than 2015 are the primary targets. Experts say they are the easiest cars to steal, but there are ways to discourage thieves.

How fast do thieves steal catalytic converters? ›

Catalytic converter theft is also common because the component is mounted beneath the vehicle, making it easily accessible to thieves. With the proper tools, thieves can remove a catalytic converter in less than two minutes and profit handsomely by reselling it.

What states have the most catalytic converters stolen? ›

In 2021, they paid over $23 million for 9,057 catalytic thefts.
The top ten states in catalytic converter theft can be seen below:
  • California - 10577.
  • Texas - 5867.
  • Illinois - 3299.
  • Washington - 2390.
  • Minnesota - 1976.
  • Oregon - 1643.
  • Ohio - 1494.
  • Pennsylvania - 1363.
Oct 25, 2022

Should I buy a car without a catalytic converter? ›

Harmful Car Emissions

Without this component, your vehicle will no longer be filtering and reducing harmful emissions, including hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides, and carbon monoxide. Not only is this bad for the environment, but it can also lead to harmfully poor air quality.

What car has the most valuable catalytic converter for scrap? ›

Most Expensive Catalytic Converters
  1. Ferrari F430 ($3,770) As you might expect, the Ferrari F430 is hardly a cheap vehicle, so its components are wildly expensive, including its catalytic converter. ...
  2. Lamborghini Aventador ($3,120) ...
  3. Ram 2500 ($3,460) ...
  4. Ford F-250 ($2,800) ...
  5. Ford Mustang ($1,500)
Feb 21, 2023

What cars have XL foreign catalytic converters? ›

Types of Vehicles with Large Foreign Catalytic Converters
  • Toyota.
  • Honda.
  • Mitsubishi.
  • Subaru.
  • Hyundai.
  • Kia.
  • BMW.
  • Mercedes.

Will my car run better if I remove the catalytic converter? ›

The catalytic converter forces the air and gases emitted by the engine to pass through tiny ducts. By removing it, the engine breathes more and develops more power. The sound is also enhanced and fuel consumption can be reduced by up to 10%, depending on the car model.

Are catalytic converters covered by insurance? ›

If you have comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy, then you're typically covered against catalytic converter theft. Comprehensive coverage will typically pay to replace the stolen catalytic converter and repair any related damage from its removal.

How do you know if someone steals your catalytic converter? ›

In summary, here are the key symptoms that your catalytic converter has been removed: Loud roar when you start the car, louder as you accelerate. Increase in exhaust fumes, or unusual exhaust smells. Missing parts under vehicle leading to muffler.

What year did they start putting catalytic converters on vehicles? ›

Catalytic Converters are nothing new. They have been installed on passenger cars and light-duty trucks since 1975. The history of their use coincided with the introduction of Unleaded Gasoline, also in 1975. Basic Exhaust system may have Catalytic converter at exhaust manifold (Exhaust pipe A) or multiple Cats.

How much does it cost to install a catalytic converter shield? ›

Even though catalytic convertor shields will cost you about $200 to $500, it's a lot cheaper than getting a stolen catalytic converter replaced, which could run up to $2,000.

Do cat shields work? ›

However, when considering the cost of replacing a catalytic converter and the effectiveness of catalytic converter shields, the investment is worthwhile. In short, catalytic converter shields work and protect your vehicle.

Will check engine light come on if catalytic converter is stolen? ›

Check Engine Warning

The first time that you start your automobile after the catalytic converter has been stolen the check engine light will turn on. It will remain on until you replace the catalytic converter and repair any exhaust system damage.

Do newer catalytic converters get stolen? ›

So the metals in their catalytic converters tend to last longer. For the same reason, newer cars are at greater risk than older cars. Thieves also target cars they can easily get under quickly.

Do thieves want catalytic converters from old cars? ›

Catalytic converter theft has exploded – jumping more than 1,000% in just a few years. Thieves are removing catalytic converters from vehicles large and small, cutting them away from beneath the vehicle.

What do catalytic converter thieves want? ›

Reported catalytic converter thefts increased by 325% between 2019 and 2020. The reason for stolen converters is the explanation behind any theft — money. The rhodium, palladium and platinum used in these parts are valuable, and rhodium can go for $20,000 per ounce, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

Is there a lock for a catalytic converter? ›

The CatClamp® was invented to prevent thieves from stealing your catalytic converter. It's exclusive, award-winning, patented cable cage design surrounds the catalytic converter with aircraft-grade wire rope that is very difficult to cut, even with power tools.

What car is most carjacked? ›

These 2020 statistics highlight what vehicles are the most desirable by thieves. 2020 is the second year in a row that Ford's full-size pickup truck tops the list as the most stolen car in America. Japanese model sedans are the most popular stolen cars, taking six out of 10 slots within the top 10.

What is the number 1 most stolen car? ›

Ford Pickups

Do thieves want aftermarket catalytic converter? ›

If your Catalytic Converter has been replaced with an aftermarket Catalytic Converter within the past few years, there is a good chance it won't be stolen. The new aftermarket Catalytic Converters don't have as much of the precious metals, so thieves typically don't take them.

Why are Toyota catalytic converters stolen? ›

Because it's a hybrid vehicle, mechanics say Priuses are targets because their catalytic converters contain more unused precious metals. Shields and etching a VIN number on the catalytic converter can be deterrents to theft, but no guarantee.

Do Thieves steal Universal catalytic converter? ›

Catalytic Converters, along with copper and other metals, have become a hot commodity for thieves. Catalytic Converter theft has become popular because of their value, relative ease to steal (unbolt or cut out), and their lack of identifying markings. A Catalytic Converter is a part of the vehicles exhaust system.

How do I make sure my catalytic converter doesn't get stolen? ›

Three ways to protect against catalytic converter theft
  1. 1) Etch your license plate number onto your catalytic converter. This makes the part identifiable to law enforcement. ...
  2. 2) Park in well-lit areas. ...
  3. 3) Install an anti-theft device.

How can I avoid buying stolen catalytic converter? ›

Car owners can also take action to prevent thefts by buying catalytic-converter cages or vibration-sensitive car alarms to place underneath vehicles. Drivers can also opt to park in well-lit areas or near building entrances to deter thieves.

Can any car have its catalytic converter stolen? ›

Trucks and SUVs are also common targets of catalytic converter theft because they are raised off the ground. This makes it easier to climb under and saw through the metal. However, every vehicle on the road is susceptible to a stolen catalytic converter.

Does insurance cover stolen catalytic converter? ›

Is a stolen catalytic converter covered by insurance? If you have comprehensive coverage on your auto insurance policy, then you're typically covered against catalytic converter theft. Comprehensive coverage will typically pay to replace the stolen catalytic converter and repair any related damage from its removal.

Does spray painting your catalytic converter prevent theft? ›

By adding bright paint, you can create a visible deterrent to alert thieves to move on. This paint also signals law enforcement and recyclers to look deeper for serial numbers or identification marks. By clearly marking your catalytic converter you will be deterring the theft from happening in the first place.

Do newer cars get catalytic converters stolen? ›

So the metals in their catalytic converters tend to last longer. For the same reason, newer cars are at greater risk than older cars. Thieves also target cars they can easily get under quickly. So, police reports show that trucks and SUVs are at particular risk.


1. Local sheriff warns what cars are targeted for catalytic converter thefts
2. Catalytic converter theft: Which cars are at highest risk
(WTVC NewsChannel 9)
3. 5 arrested in catalytic converter theft bust worth 4.3 Million
(ABC13 Houston)
4. March 7, 2023 Intergovernmental Relations Committee
5. 3 charged in catalytic converter theft ring
(CBS Pittsburgh)
6. 3 Ways To Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft
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