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Catalytic Converter Theft Deterrent Systems

Updated on August 10, 2014

Catalytic converter theft deterrent systems can save you money and time. The metals found in catalytic converters are worth about hundred dollars or less to a thief when sold at a recycling center. And it only takes a few minutes for a thief to cut off the device. However, to replace a catalytic converter will cost you several hundred to over a thousand dollars, not to mention the inconvenience of suddenly having a car that is not drivable. SUVs that are high off the ground with easy access to the converter are the most common targets for theft.

Catalytic Converter Etching

A catalytic converter with markings is harder to sell for scrap. You can do the etching yourself with a kit such as the RetainaGuard kit sold on Amazon. This is a sticker that you attach to any metal surface. In the sticker is a stencil of your unique security code and phone number to the International Security Register. You use the liquid to fill in the stencil to create a permanent etching on the metal. If the sticker is removed, the sticker falls apart and the etching is clearly visible.

You can have a mechanic etch an identification number, such as your car’s license plate, onto the metal. Put it in an obvious spot for better theft prevention. That way if someone tries to remove the converter, they will see it’s marked and hopefully move on.

Car Anti-Theft Alarm

It’s true that no one pays any attention to car alarms anymore. However, it will still help as a catalytic converter theft prevention as it takes time to remove the converter and the thieves are not going to be as likely to choose a target that is drawing attention with a blaring alarm.

Secure the Catalytic Converter

At a local muffler or other automotive repair shop you can have your catalytic converter secured to your car’s frame. This makes it more difficult and time consuming for thieves to remove the converter. You do want a reputable and professional mechanic to secure the converter. If done improperly, it can cause stress on the converter leading to cracks and damage. The best option is to have a frame built around the converter that is welded or otherwise attached to the frame of the car, but does not directly attach or to or restrict the converter.

Home Security

Many catalytic converters are stolen at night right while the car is parked right in the owner’s driveway. To protect the vehicle, install motion activated lights and security cameras. Both will be deterrents and should the converter still be stolen, the cameras will record the act, which you can give to police. Position the lights to brightly shine directly on the car. Place the camera’s in obvious locations so people know they are there, but high enough they cannot be reached and damaged easily.

Parking the Car

Parking lots at locations where it’s a good bet the owner will not be back for several hours and that lack security are also targets. These include park ‘n ride parking lots and mall parking lots. When parking your car, choose a location that’s under a light and/or within view of a main street or front door where there is a lot of foot traffic going by your car.


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