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Why catalytic converters are stolen?

Why catalytic converters are stolen more often these days

Why catalytic converters are stolen

Catalytic converters have been installed in cars since 1974. So why are thieves stealing catalytic converters now? Simple. Catalytic converters contain three precious metals: platinum, palladium and rhodium. Catalytic converters are stolen for the precious metals.

Why now?

The market prices for those three metals have risen dramatically in the past few years due to Covid, making catalytic converter theft even more profitable for the crooks.

The more catalytic converters they steal, the more money they make

Every time a thief steals a catalytic converter, it must be replaced with a new one. That extra converter replacement increases demand for the precious metals at a time when supply is limited by Covid. So, the more they steal, the higher the prices rise. The more they rise, the more the thieves get from the recyclers.

Catalytic converters are stolen because Platinum and Palladium prices are way up

platinum palladium prices

Catalytic converters are stolen because Rhodium prices are through the roof

rhodium prices

Platinum content in a catalytic converter

Precious metal content in a catalytic converter varies by the year, make, model and type of vehicle, with hybrids having the most. An average catalytic converter contains 3 to 7 grams of platinum.

The market price for platinum is $32.50/gram (as of March 30 2022). That translates into $97.50 to  $227.50 per converter

Palladium content in a catalytic converter

Palladium content varies as well, from 2-7 grams. The market price for palladium is $70.22 per gram (as of March 30 2022). That translates into $140.44 to as much as $491.54 per converter.

Rhodium content in a catalytic converter

Rhodium content is much lower, in the 2-3 grams per converter range. But with the current high price for Rhodium at $607.65 per gram, that translates into $1,215.3 to  $1,822.95 per converter.

How much do the thieves make for stealing catalytic converters?

No reputable recycling center would buy from thieves. In fact, many states have enacted laws requiring recycling centers to obtain photo identification from anyone trying to sell a catalytic converter and limiting the transaction to one converter per set time period.

Manifold catalytic converter versus post catalytic converter

Exhaust setup for a 2015 Hyundai Sante Fe Sport with 4-cylinder engine

So thieves sell to fences who sell to disreputable precious metal dealers around the world. On average, a stolen catalytic converter nets the thief $250 to around $600 for a catalytic converter from a hybrid vehicle.

What does a catalytic converter do? See this post

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