A new report reveals that catalytic converter theft is on the rise, with thieves stealing them right off the bottoms of cars and trucks and selling them for quick cash.
Vehicle history company CARFAX found that the most frequently targeted vehicles in Houston and Texas are trucks and SUVs because they sit higher off the ground, leaving more room for a thief to get beneath and cut them off.
CARFAX also found that hybrids, such as the Toyota Prius, are getting hit hard because their converters can be worth as much as $1,400 on the black market.
The converters contain precious metals like palladium, platinum, and rhodium. CARFAX poured over service records from across the country and found 153,000 catalytic converters were stolen from cars in 2022.
Replacing one can cost anywhere between $500 and $5,000, making it worthwhile for vehicle owners to take steps to protect their vehicles. Tips from experts include parking in well-lit, well-traveled areas, installing motion-sensor lights or a car alarm, and adding covers, steel plates or a locking cable.
Texas state Senator Paul Bettencourt has proposed SB 465, which would make it a crime for someone to be in possession of a converter unless they work for an approved business in the automotive industry, and Congress is considering the PART Act, which would require converters to be marked with ID numbers and make catalytic converter theft a crime.