Each year tens of thousands of vehicle owners lose catalytic converters due to theft. Now, many catalytic converter theft victims are finding it difficult to get their vehicles repaired in a timely manner.
Repair shops around the United States are reporting increasing catalytic converter shortages. This shortage is leading to some vehicles taking days, weeks, or in extreme cases, months to get repaired. Repair shops and parts suppliers are frantically trying to find parts while struggling to find skilled workers to keep up with increased catalytic converter repair and replacement.
This article breaks down the reasons behind this problem and what you can do to protect yourself. And, now is a great time to consider taking steps to protect your vehicle from catalytic converter theft so you don’t become the next victim.
Catalytic converter supply chain issues
The automotive parts supply chain is stressed due to years of rising catalytic converter theft rates. In 2020 and much of 2021, Covid shutdowns at factories and precious metal mines around the world further strained the production of replacement converters.
And, if that wasn’t problematic enough, catalytic converter replacement costs have been going up due to higher consumer demand, higher diesel prices, and overall shipping costs.
And these increased costs are being passed on to consumers.
Out-of-stock orders and order limits
Automotive repair shops are reporting increasing difficulty in getting catalytic converters along with other automotive parts. Suppliers who used to be able to supply automotive shops with parts are now placing limits on orders or are only able to partially fill orders because they simply can’t get them from the manufacturers fast enough.
The biggest shortages, specifically with catalytic converters, are coming from Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) catalytic converters. This is due to auto manufacturers dictating the exact specifications a vehicle can use and only a small number of “approved” catalytic converter models can be sourced that are OEM-compliant.
If you get your vehicle repaired at a dealership, where OEM parts are used, not only will your choice be limited, but your car may be on a wait list to get repaired until the dealer can get the parts they need.
But just because a catalytic converter isn’t on the manufacturer’s OEM-approved list, doesn’t mean you can’t install an aftermarket catalytic converter that will work for your car. While in short supply, Amazon and other auto parts sites carry aftermarket catalytic converters, often at a cheaper cost than the OEM model. Despite low quantities, it does give you more choices to choose from.
CARB-compliant models can also be purchased as aftermarket parts, for those of you who live in states that require them. However, always be sure to check with your specific state on which models meet your state’s specific requirements.
Increased Labor Costs for skilled workers
Another problem for repair shops and manufacturers is finding skilled labor. This is causing shortages in production and limiting the number of cars repair shops can service each day.
High transportation cost
With the average cost of diesel in the United States at 5.79/gallon as of this writing, transportation costs have skyrocketed. This is on average $2.50/gallon more than a year ago.
This cost is being passed on to consumers who, according to repairpal.com are already paying an ‘average” of $1798 and $1855 USD for a catalytic converter replacement.
Some vehicles like the Toyota Prius or Toyota Tundra have estimated repair costs as high as $3700.
Skyrocketing precious metal prices
Catalytic converters use precious metals, like palladium, platinum, and rhodium to remove harmful emissions from your vehicle’s exhaust. And these prices have been skyrocketing for years. When mines closed during the early months of Covid, this created shortages of the raw materials needed to build catalytic converters. Despite many mines reopening, the prices of these precious metals are still extremely high and the war in Ukraine has slowed down exports of Platinum since Russia is the second-largest exporter of platinum and platinum family metals
Find more statistics at Statista
How does the inventory shortage impact car maintenance and repairs? (Cars.com)
Top palladium and platinum producing companies (Investing News)
The outlook for parts & service industries in 2022 (National Auto Car)