What is a catalytic converter and how can you keep it safe?

Most people will give very little thought to the catalytic converter in their car and many don’t know what it is, but unfortunately there are thieves giving it plenty of thought.

We want to reassure the public following a national rise in catalytic converter thefts and advise drivers on the best ways to keep their vehicles safe. 

We have also launched a new virtual reality car park this month, which puts you in the shoes of a car thief – so you can learn how to better protect your vehicle. Click here to find out more.

Stealer Street
Our new virtual reality car park

Detective Superintendent Scott Griffiths said: “We are aware of the problem, and are working with partners nationally to tackle this expensive and inconvenient crime.

“We have made several arrests in recent weeks and identified lines of investigation. We actively work to disrupt these kind of offenders. You can report suspicious activity to us via our normal channels.”

What is a catalytic converter? 

The devices reduce emissions by cleaning up harmful exhaust gases before they are expelled from the car. 

Precious metals, such as platinum, rhodium and palladium, found inside the catalytic converter turn toxic gases like carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide into less harmful substances and water vapour.

Cat cons
A haul of stolen catalytic converters found by West Midlands Police

Why are they being targeted?

Thieves are stealing them from cars for the small but expensive amount of precious metals found inside them. 

The soaring value of these precious metals, some of which are worth more than gold, has meant catalytic converter thefts are on the rise not just in the UK, but around the world.

They can cause car owners thousands of pounds in replacement costs and great inconvenience. 

Hybrid cars are targeted the most because their catalytic converters contain a higher concentration of precious metals and are generally less corroded. 

However, this does not exclude other vehicles and we advise all car owners to take extra precautions to keep their vehicle safe. 

What can I do?

To help keep your catalytic converter safe, we’d encourage motorists to follow the crime prevention advice below:

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