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Companies create innovative solutions to prevent theft of catalytic converters

You get behind the wheel, start your vehicle, rev your engine and realize that your car looks broken.

Your catalytic converter is gone, stolen by a thief.

It’s a story that has become familiar to Tony Milcherska, Vice President of Zolman’s Tire and Auto Repair located in Mishawaka.

Tony is used to seeing about 10-12 vehicles a month having their catalytic converters stolen.

“You could see four to six weeks back orders,” Tony said.

The COVID-19 pandemic has created supply chain issues, manufacturing slowdowns, and now war in Europe has slowed the export of metals used inside catalytic converters.

“The three precious metals in there, platinum, palladium and rhodium, are the precious metals they get and there’s about 3 grams of that on average in there,” Tony said.

Right now, rhodium alone is worth around $19,250 an ounce.

Replacing the part could become even more expensive with oxygen sensors.

“They’re going to cut that wire and take the whole sensor with it. So you will have to replace the sensor and the catalytic converter,” Tony said. “This front-to-back assembly would cost you $2,800, not including labor.”

The good news is that companies are innovating and creating devices to protect you from this type of theft.

Cat Security has manufactured an aluminum and stainless steel shield that can be bolted on, covering your catalytic converter.

There is also a Fast Guard Alarms device that attaches to the hose attached to the catalytic converter.

Inventor Lando Fehrenbach says it’s a simple deterrent.

“At the end of the day, if they see this alarm and they try to break it, cut the straps, the mounting straps, the alarm will go off and the purpose of the alarm is to scare them. It’s really nothing fancy, it’s simple,” Fehrenbach said.

Securing your vehicle with one of these devices will help you save time, money and unnecessary stress.

“If you put catalytic converter deterrents in place, you’ll be a tough target and they’ll move on to the next one pretty quickly,” Tony said.

The alternative is to take these preventive measures and make yourself a hard target, and the thief is likely to move on.

Find well-lit areas when parking your vehicle.

If you have surveillance cameras, make sure the view of your vehicle is clear.

Motion sensor lighting could also be a deterrent. Make sure the vehicle is parked within range of the device.


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