Catalytic converters are devices fitted to vehicle exhausts to reduce the amount of dangerous gases emitted. They are often targeted by thieves as they contain valuable metals and can be removed in less than a minute.

Catalytic converter theft most frequently occurs in car parks, but they can happen anywhere. Thieves may then sell these converters via scrapyards, online, or ship them out of the country.

Hybrid vehicles are most commonly targeted, as their metals are more valuable, but any vehicle can be at risk of catalytic converter theft.

Signs a catalytic converter theft is being committed

  • a vehicle being raised using a car jack in a car park or residential area
  • a loud drilling or cutting sound coming from underneath the vehicle

Watch the video below to see what a catalytic converter theft looks like.

Prevent it

Although catalytic converter thefts are increasing, there are steps that you can take to protect your vehicle. 

To keep your catalytic converter safe, you can ask your car dealer for advice on locks or guards that are approved by the vehicle manufacturer and tested to Sold Secure Gold.

Alternatively, try to make sure your vehicle is parked in a garage overnight, or if you have a commercial vehicle, park it in a secure compound. If this isn’t possible, park in an area that’s well-lit and overlooked and try to park so that the converter can’t be easily reached by potential thieves. Vehicles that sit high above the road are particularly vulnerable.

You should also register your converter and mark it with a forensic marker, which will make it harder for thieves to dispose of.

Visit Secured by Design or Sold Secure Gold for more details.

Report it

  • if the crime is happening now call 999  - if you are unsure, we’d rather hear about it and decide if a theft is occurring
  • if it is safe to do so, take photos of suspects or the number plate of their car (do not approach suspects, as they have been known to use violence)
  • if the crime has already happened then you can report it to us online or at your local police station