Living in the Bay Area we all have heard about catalytic converter thefts, as the Bay Area favorite, Toyota Prius, is the prime target of the thieves. Now Carfax, a company where repair shops report auto repair data, estimated that in 2022 over 153,000 vehicles were targeted. Insurance companies reported only 52,000 claims for stolen catalytic converters – so why the discrepancy?
We thought about it and looking at the data at Toole’s Garage in San Carlos, we come to the conclusion that Carfax is right. We see a lot of vehicles with stolen catalytic converters that are older vehicles, without comprehensive insurance, so the owners pay out-of-pocket for the repairs – hence there is no report to the insurance company, but Carfax gets to count such cars in their statistics.
If you take into account that catalytic converters are often on back-order, meaning one has to wait for the manufacturer to deliver new ones, it makes sense that the number of catalytic converter thefts is much higher than indicated by the insurance industry numbers.
In the West, top 10 vehicles most targeted for catalytic converter theft are:
- Toyota Prius
- Honda Accord
- Honda CR-V
- Toyota Tacoma
- Ford F Series trucks
- Subaru Forester
- Toyota Camry
- Ford Econoline vans
- Ford Explorer
- Nissan NV vans
Since our San Carlos auto care facility can service and repair most of the makes and models currently on the roads, we have seen a fair share of vehicles that had catalytic converter stolen, and have extensive experience (unfortunately) not just in replacing the converters, but also repairing the damage that thieves cause to other parts of the vehicle – oxygen sensor is arguably the most frequent victim.
To prevent catalytic converter theft, we highly recommend parking your vehicle in the garage. If you must park outside, we recommend parking near a street light, and getting a catalytic converter shield installed – it is not a guarantee, but it does make stealing the catalytic converter much harder, louder, and more time consuming, so the thieves are likely to look for an easier target.
Call our San Carlos auto care shop to discuss how your car can be protected.