What is a catalytic converter? And how to protect yours from theft.

Cars that make loud noises are never a good sign and are a particular nuisance when the cause of the noise is the absence of a catalytic converter.

Catalytic converters are regularly targeted auto parts, sometimes stolen straight off the road. Theft can cause headaches for car owners and up to thousands of dollars.

Detectives identified a man in August 2022 who ran a $22 million catalytic converter trafficking operation based in Oregon and spanning six states. A jury indicted a dozen people on racketeering, aggravated robbery and money laundering charges, among other charges.

What are catalytic converters and why are they stolen so often?

Theft of the catalytic converter:Probably 10 vehicles pull up and what are the police doing about it

Stolen catalytic converters recovered by detectives in a storage unit in Phoenix.

What are catalytic converters?

Catalytic converters are your car’s way of filtering harmful pollutants out of the engine’s exhaust. This exhaust system converts pollutants (hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides) into compounds that already make up our atmosphere (nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide and water).

Well-designed catalytic converters can reduce hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions by 90%, as well as diesel particulate emissions by 25-35%. These converters work by using metal catalysts to drive reactions at lower temperatures than would normally be needed.

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