Skyrocketing precious metal prices mean thieves are targeting a piece of your car that you probably never knew was valuable: the catalytic converter.
And if you are looking to sell a junk car for cash, you might not even realize the converter is missing until the buyer inspects it.
Avoid catalytic converter theft: Why do thieves want junk cars, anyway?
The catalytic converter is an unassuming tube located under your car. It removes carbon emissions from your car exhaust. The secret to its function is in the precious metals that it contains: platinum, rhodium and palladium. The last two, rhodium and palladium, are currently worth more than gold. The amount of these metals in a converter varies, but a part from a large truck could contain as many as 30 grams.
What does all this mean?
It means that even junk cars can be a target of theft. In fact, here at AllCarBuys.com, in the last three months alone we’ve seen a double-digit spike in the number of cars that come to us with after-market catalytic converters, or that are missing the converter entirely.
Gone are the days when car thieves looked primarily for expensive electronics or a forgotten wallet in your glovebox. These days, a stolen catalytic converter can command a couple hundred dollars or more, so even that junk car you’re looking to sell could be a target.
Avoid catalytic converter theft: How do they do it?
On many cars, stealing the catalytic converter is as simple as using a wrench to remove the bolts attaching the converter to the undercarriage. On cars where the converter is welded on, thieves use a reciprocating saw or even a common hack saw. No matter the method, the theft only takes a minute.
Because it can be done so quickly, cars are vulnerable in unsecured lots, garages or even your driveway. And although hard country-wide numbers aren’t available, catalytic converter theft reports are all over the news.
- Susan Bleemer, a caterer in Doral, Florida, caught thieves on camera cutting the converters out of her catering vans
- Police in Volusia County, Florida, uncovered a catalytic converter theft ring and arrested five men
- And around the country, demand for catalytic converters has risen as a result of the increased thefts.
Avoid catalytic converter theft: Keep your junk car safe until you sell it
As catalytic converters have become more attractive to thieves, it’s not surprising that purpose-made security devices have popped up.
Multiple companies sell strong wire security cages designed to prevent theft. You can even install a motion-triggered, extremely loud alarm under your car to discourage would-be thieves.
Some car companies also make their own security devices, so check with your manufacturer. Or, for a lower-tech solution, you can also simply park your car in a secured garage, or in such a way as to block access to the undercarriage.
No matter what you do, don’t assume that just because your junk car isn’t fit to drive, it’s not valuable to thieves. It absolutely is.
It’s vital to protect your car from catalytic converter theft because even junk car buyers can’t purchase a car that has been damaged in that way.
Junk Car Buying in Orlando
And if you’re looking for a reputable buyer for your junk car in Orange County, Seminole County, Osceola County, Lake County or Polk County in Florida, give us a call. We’ll purchase your junk car for a fair price and tow it away for free!