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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

With precious metals in demand, brazen thieves are stealing catalytic converters | Hagerty Media

Catalytic converters, the emissions-control devices designed to reduce toxic exhaust emissions, have always been an easy target of enterprising thieves in search of precious metals. With values of rhodium and palladium recently eclipsing that of gold, however, catalytic converter thefts are spiking nationwide.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/news/with-precious-metals-in-demand-brazen-thieves-are-stealing-cataly...
71 REPLIES 71
Bryan
Hagerty Employee

Welp, this is one problem EVs are good for solving
Srmert
Intermediate Driver

They will just learn to steal the batteries, unless they are made to be so integral to the vehicle they can’t be replaced either.
DaveA
Detailer

I don’t think batteries on an EV can be removed easily. I think Tesla builds them into the chassis.
Lightning1
Detailer

So instead of blaming criminal activity we promote EVs? And blame the junkyard for buying it, the mine for mining it.... No, the guy with the sawzall that stole it to get a few bucks and either cost insurance companies thousands (yes, they pass on the cost to us) and/or cause the car to be totaled and then prematurely add to environmental costs because the "victim" will buy another car, probably gas. These crimes need to be investigated and prosecuted to the max even if it's a sting operation at a metal recycle center!
jdreeves
Pit Crew

Bryan you forget to mention the problem of disposing of a spent battery with it's lithium and other properties that are toxic to our environment. Contrary to the disinformation that Tesla and Apple and others use only solar and wind power for their energy sources. The Tesla plant and others use fossil fuel energy to manufacture their cars and the batteries and computers. And the earth is strip mined to get those precious metals such as Rodium and Palladium and Lithium. You EV advocates never mention that do you? I am all for other alternatives for sources of energy. But your forcing electric cars on all of us is not the answer nor is it a utopian solution. EV cause pollution and they also can catch on fire posing a hazmat situation for fire personnel responding to extinguish the fires.
Geok86
Advanced Driver

No mention of Harrasedlemon’s vehicle being repaired, or totaled and replaced?! That sawzall cut right through a good portion of the subframe.
turborat
New Driver

An optical illusion. A closer look will see that is the front O2 cable.

Geok86
Advanced Driver

You are correct.
Forester
Pit Crew

Bryon, (first, I like EVs and there is a place for them) but where do your EVs get their energy from? Hmmmmmm Electric generating plants fueled by coal, oil, natural gas, nukes, and very little huge loud humming bird killing windmills and oh yes huge ugly solar panels that are now starting to fill up the landfill or oceans (once their 5 year life span ends) where city people dump your disposable society. (And our once great hydro-electric dams that you folks shut down and don't allow building any more) Hmmmmm Everything has unintended consequences and we are just seeing tip of ice berg from EVs. So before you look down upon us blue collar folks and our gas burners, think before you speak down to us. Just saying.
Tommy1975791
Pit Crew

"So before you look down upon us blue collar folks and our gas burners, think before you speak down to us. Just saying"

You have some kind of victim complex. All the comment said - and only 1 sentence - was that this isn't a prob. with EV's. For some reason, you decided this was some kind of insult. Decided this person lived in the city, and accused him of being complicit in shutting down hydro elec dams/plants. Your assumptions say waaaaay more about your projected hostility than anything else. It's ironic - you sound like a self-righteous elitist accusing someone of being a self-righteous elitist. Lighten up dude.

BB62
New Driver

Lighten up might apply to you as well

-Nate
Detailer

I think Tommy is on to something ~ it's beginning to look like EV's may be forced upon us before you realize it .

-Nate
WorthFlorida
Pit Crew

EV's will have it own challenges in protecting the environment. First, the huge mining operation's to get to the precious metals needed. Then plants to process these metals into batteries. Finally, at the end of life, recycling EV batteries if possible. Now, as each manufactures come up with there own, new batteries technology, may make recycled more difficult. It all new challenges for the new generation entering in the job market.
beercandad
Pit Crew

One correction, The modern solar panels are lasting many more than 5 years--mine are now 15 years old and still cranking out the power.
Marksg11dna
New Driver

Yikes, Forester, where to start. Solar panels typically have a lifetime of 25-30 years, not 5. Infinitely more birds are killed by toxic substances emitted by coal plants than windmills. There are alternative electrical power sources emitting less polution, won't get in to that here. Batteries oast the life of the vehicle though I agree that mining is a problem. But future battery technology is likely to elminate the need for rare earth elements.
spoom
Technician

But by definition, future battery technology isn't here yet, but the mandates are.

DavidHolzman
Detailer

I like my ICE, and I like it straight, like my bourbon. But Forester, you've got a lot of bad info. Wind turbines are not particularly loud (I'm noise sensitive, and I've been right next to some big ones without being bothered) and they are sighted to minimize bird kills (tall buildings also kill birds, and cats kill many times more birds than wind turbines do. Solar panels last a helluva lot longer than five years, and their prices have plummeted in the last decade, to where they are competitive with natural gas.

With EVs coming online, you and I are not going to have to pay high prices for gasoline in another five years.
BB62
New Driver

Here's a prediction. Electric vehicles will one day be on the same level as computer discs or 8 track tapes. Fun for a while but not the long term solution they were thought to be

Bryan
Hagerty Employee

EVs are imperfect solutions. By no means are my two feet planted in that camp. And I don't think some jest made about them solving petty theft on CATs qualifies as a proof of me speaking down to anyone.
Dave404
Detailer

Need a text to your phone alarm and a hydraulic suspension with remote . Drop the car while the little **bleep** is under it. OnStar should offer this option.
Tinkerah
Technician

BRILLIANT! And in the end you get a free cordless saw!
WorthFlorida
Pit Crew

So, it not the thieves that are the problem, it's rough junk yards. Scrap yards that pay monies for metals in Florida, must use finger print readers. After you register with your driver's license and a finger print read then can you get cash for metals. Both scrap yards and junk yards now call them selves recycling centers, it's to make you feel better.
Johnc
New Driver

A few years back my Jeep Liberty had its converter stolen in Chicago, a week after it happened the news reported that the Chicago police dept. did a sting, undercover they asked for something like a 1000 converters, mine was one of the 1000 stolen !! So the demand was generated by the Police dept.!!!
llawrence9
Intermediate Driver

I wonder how much anything is left in the cat of my 87 Volvo?
LesFender
Pit Crew

Correction: While it's definitely true that the vast majority of model year 1975-up passenger cars sold in the U.S. were equipped with catalytic converters, if a car could meet EPA specs without one, they were not "required" equipment for model years 1975 and beyond. I had a 1977 Honda Civic 1200 that did not have a catalytic converter. I know there were some other post-1975 vehicles that also did not have them, but cannot remember the exact models. But I do seem to remember that they were mostly, if not all, Japanese economy cars with small displacement engines. Also, the EPA specs for even light-duty pickup trucks were not as strict as those for passenger cars, so many of them made it into the late '70s without them. When emissions standards tightened around 1980, converters made their way onto virtually all light-duty vehicles.
spoom
Technician

Yup, 1976 Toyota Celicas used reg gas and no cat, 1977 had unleaded gas only, and a cat.
JimmyP123
New Driver

Yes. When I was in high school I drove a '77 Rabbit 1.6L that also didn't have a catalytic converter. At about 110k miles it failed smog because it was burning a quart of oil every 200 miles or so. For some reason the state of Colorado didn't think that having a James Bond level smoke screen following me everywhere was acceptable. A catalytic converter probably wouldn't have helped...
MoparMarq
Detailer

Mom had a 1980 Honda Prelude. No catalytic converter.
Zephyr
Advanced Driver

For a few years BMW used a "thermal reactor" - basically an exhaust manifold with an ignition device in it - that burned up excess hydrocarbons. It glowed cherry red in operation, quite a sight.
-Nate
Detailer

From 1966 to some where in the 10970's before catalytic converters, mostAmerican made cars used an "A.I.R." system (Air Induction Reaction) that pumped fresh air into the exhaust manifolds, directly on to the back sides of the exhaust valves ~ the idea was to finish combusting any residual oxygen or hydrocarbons exiting the engine, this caused many exhaust manifolds to glow red or white hot and they cracked a lot too .

I've had to replace bot on my brother's 1979 Dodge D220 360CID V8 along with the rest of the smog devices, EGR and by - pass ('gulp') valves, yards of rubber vacuum hoses, almost everything under the hood gets cooked by the incredible engine heat ....

The original 4 BBL carby was a Carter Thermoquad, it's Bakelite float bowl more or less crumbled, I wound up replacing it with a nice Holly, now I have a spare rebuilt Thermoquad I hope to get into the hands of some MoPar collector .

-Nate
beeser
Intermediate Driver

In 1976 we needed a new family truckster so my dad bought a Plymouth Gran Fury Sport Suburban. 400 big block with "Lean Burn". It was the only engine option with no catalytic converter, and ran on what was then regular leaded gas. Good thing, as the first trip that summer was to Alaska, and the Canadians had few stations offering unleaded in '76. (Leaded gas destroys cats.)

rogerhartel
New Driver

when i lived in kentucky a few years ago you would go into wall mart or k mart or other big parking lot in the day light, coming out of the store your converter and tailgate would be gone.
BossGreg
Intermediate Driver

My neighbor in an apartment complex is obviously running a fencing operation with shady characters bringing the converters to them in a bag early in the morning on a regular basis and selling to them. Told Police months ago and nothing so far. Had one stolen off a truck I bought while it was being shipped to me. There needs to be a better solution.
spoom
Technician

Wrist Rocket and a tray of ice cubes?

F360Spider
Detailer

I have a 2006 Honda CR-V and checked Amazon for a price and it was less than $200. For an OEM unit, ten times as much. So for people not in California, this is a lot less an issue.
Geok86
Advanced Driver

Need a way to electrify the converter (think electric fence), so as soon as the perp touches that blade....FRIED!!
Tinkerah
Technician

That'd suit me but even if it only roasted his saw that'd be a help.
Jim1969
Intermediate Driver

Some Honda’s, Prius’s, are mentioned in reference to cat. converters easy to get to. Steal. Those are just two cars among many others. The high price of palladium and rhodium, more than gold. $$$$$.
The installation of a guard. Cut it off too.
The author may have enticed potential crooks.😷🤫. 😀
eighthtry
Intermediate Driver

They will not get to mine unless my Z06/07 goes on a lift. I bought it specifically to lower crime.
Tinkerah
Technician

I think the guards aren't meant to prevent the theft as much as encourage the thief to choose an easier target.
spoom
Technician

Hope they still have the cordless sawzall on them if I ever catch one. I'll make the Inquisition seem tame.
czmx
Pit Crew

Thieves! If I catch one (stealing anything), I'm going to jail! bastards!
PhilSchw
Pit Crew

Yea, like a nice swift kick to the face when they come crawling out from under your chariot with the prized catalytic converter. More like a nice swift kick to the face, followed by a couple of stomps to the nose, a few side kicks to just above the ears on each side with a punishing stomp to the top of the head, a few kicks to the kidney & one or two for the liver & lung area, than roll him over & make sure top do a nice drop kick into the lower back area, afterwards roll him back over for a couple of gut wrenching kicks to the stomach area. Don't forget to get your catalytic converter back as you'll have to find someone who can repair the car damages. Your going to need that.
77GL
Intermediate Driver

There are several points along the 'Recycle' supply chain where the numbers will reveal the hot spots.
PhilSchw
Pit Crew

Yes, like the Big Business (Insurance Companies) being able to total out a car & than resale it for parts after paying the policy holder out for pennies on the dollar.
Zephyr
Advanced Driver

Insurance companies do not "part out" cars. They take them to salvage auctioneers like Co-Part, who sell them to wrecking yards or rebuilders. Typically a salvaged car will sell for about 5% - 10% of what the insurance company paid out on the claim - anything higher than $1,000 would be unusual. The return on the salvage is usually much less than what the insurance company paid for the towing and storage fees, plus the fees that the city or county tacks on. The salvage yard then disassembles the car and typically sells each door for more than they paid for the car. But they end up paying a small fortune to dispose of the fluids, battery, tires and damaged parts, so in the end, nobody is getting rich.
Geok86
Advanced Driver

Wrong...every junkyard owner I’ve met, lives in a big fancy house, and has plenty of $$$....hell, at one yard the owner stored part of his car/motorcycle collection in the office building...easily 4 million+ worth, and that was only part of his collection.
-Nate
Detailer

Reality check ~

I used to run a junkyard and yes, I easily sold everything that came in but, it's not all fun and games and most indie junkyard owners don't live in mansions .

_You_ try working in junk, oil and grease up to your eyeballs every day and then come back and throw stones .

I'm not excusing the many jerkhoffs who are dishonest junkyard operators, they should all be prevented from being able to work in The Auto Trade but I keep meeting honest junkyard guys, just this week I met several and was happy to $pend my dollars there...

Give them a chance to do you right before dissing them all .

-Nate
PhilSchw
Pit Crew

They really need to go after these thieves. Stop treating "Crimestars" like children. Why do you think they never change? Feed them to the Lions at the Zoo. They got to eat too.