Catalytic converter theft is on the rise in North Texas and means big money for criminals and vehicle owners. According to the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA), thieves can sell this valuable part on the black market anywhere from $20 to $350 while costing Ford vehicle owners up to $3,000 for replacement, plus any additional costs for other stolen components or damages. Why the increase in this problem? Catalytic theft is easy for criminals and nearly untraceable, leaving many wondering how to avoid catalytic converter theft.
Fortunately, North Texas vehicle owners can take Ford catalytic converter theft prevention measures and help lessen the risk of this growing crime happening to their car, Ford F-150 truck, or SUV. However, if a thief is determined to steal your Ford converter, it does not matter where you park your car and what you etch on your converter. There are countless testimonies of people parking their cars in garages, using alarms, or other security devices, only to have their catalytic converters stolen. Converters are extremely enticing for criminals to steal because they are worth so much, stolen within minutes, and are extremely hard to trace. With a struggling economy and rising commodity prices, it is difficult to see this trend of theft waning in the future.
Stop Catalytic Converter Theft from Happening to You.
These days, there are a growing number of products you can buy to help prevent your catalytic converter from being stolen. They come in various shapes, sizes, material, and fastening methods and are graded by these three factors: material, shape, and fastening methods.
Catalytic Converter Security Device Materials
Shields and security devices come in various metals. Aluminum, steel, and stainless steel. There are advantages and disadvantages to each of these materials.
- Aluminum: Probably the most common material used in shields and guards because it is relatively cheap, lightweight, and anticorrosive. However, aluminum is most effective at being a visual deterrent for thieves than an actual physical deterrence. Most of the time, a thief will see a shield and leave, but if a thief tries to cut through it, the aluminum can be cut if given enough time. Thicker aluminum (.190″) can gum up a sawzall, but thinner material is less effective at stopping a blade.
- Steel (carbon/mild steel): Not to be confused with stainless steel, this is a common material for skid plates. It is a cheap, heavy material, but is more prone to rust and easier to cut through than stainless steel. The main drawback is its limited anti-rust properties when compared to other metals.
- Stainless Steel: Is a hardened material that has high anti-corrosive properties. This is the most ideal material for shields, guards, protection devices. 304 stainless steel will burn out the strongest sawzall blades compaired with the best saws on the market.
Catalytic Converter Security Device Shape
The most common shields you might find are flat pieces that are fastened to the underbody of the vehicle. While these are common types of guards (because they are easier to manufacture), they are also limited in their effectiveness at preventing theft and noise. This is because flat shields can only protect so much of the converter and also do not account for the angles and motion of the exhaust system. Typically, the more complex the design and engineering, the more effective the product.
Additionally, while vents and logos are great to add to a product, they are also a vulnerability. Shields that have simple cut outs or large logos give thieves a head-start in cutting a shield and may actually encourage such behavior. There are better ways to increase airflow and show off your logo, such as using louver vents and stamping your logo.
Catalytic Converter Security Device Fastening Methods
Some protection devices will permanently fix the cover to your vehicle while others provide screws and a key to remove them when you need to. Drilling and using rivets is the cheapest way to attach a shield, but will cost you when any type of maintenance needs to be done to the exhaust or O2 sensor. It can also cause galvanic corrosion which will eat away at the frame of the vehicle, shield, and fastening hardware. Security screws are ideal to give the ability to maintain the vehicle and protect it. However, most companies will say they have tamper-proof/resistant hardware, when in fact, they are not. Most companies use a 6 lobe screw with a pin. We can usually find these at your local hardware store or tool box.