What are catalytic converters? How to protect yours from theft.

Cars making loud noises are never a good sign and are a particular hassle when the cause of the noise is the absence of a catalytic converter.

Catalytic converters are regularly targeted car parts, sometimes stolen right out of driveways. The theft can cause car owners headaches and up to thousands of dollars.

Detectives identified a man in August 2022 who led a $22 million catalytic converter trafficking operation based in Oregon and spanning six states. A jury indicted a dozen people on racketeering, aggravated theft and money laundering, among other charges.

What are catalytic converters, and why are they stolen so often?

Catalytic converter theft:10 vehicles most likely targeted and what cops are doing about it

Stolen catalytic converters recovered by detectives at a storage unit in Phoenix.

What are catalytic converters?

Catalytic converters are your car’s way of filtering out harmful engine exhaust pollutants. This exhaust system converts pollutants (hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides) into compounds that already make up our atmosphere (nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide and water).

Well-designed catalytic converters can reduce hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions by about 90%, as well as Diesel Particulate Matter emissions by 25-35%. These converters work by using metallic catalysts to drive reactions at lower temperatures than would normally be needed.

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