Catalytic converter theft continues to rise at alarming rates, and the Honda Element is a popular target of catalytic converter thieves. In this article, we look at a few options to help reduce the chances of your catalytic converter being stolen.
According to RepairPal.com, The average cost to replace a stolen catalytic converter on a Honda Element is between $2760 and $2774 . This makes catalytic converter theft one of the most expensive repairs you could face as a vehicle owner. And it can happen in under a minute.
The Honda Element’s catalytic converter is in high demand due to the significant presence of precious metals used to filter out harmful gasses. The cat is also fairly large compared to other vehicles and easy to remove.
Because of high theft rates and increased shipping issues getting the converter from the manufacturer to your local repair shop, many Honda Element owners are waiting several weeks to months to get replacement converters from Honda and other aftermarket OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) suppliers.
Why is the Honda Element popular with catalytic converter thieves?
As mentioned above, the Honda Elements is a popular target because of its value and easy access.
While ground clearance is not as high as SUVs, this crossover SUV has enough clearance that thieves can access it easily.
Many catalytic converter thieves use portable car jacks to lift the car high enough to access them. An experienced catalytic converter thief can cut lift your vehicle and cut one out in as little as a minute with a car jack and a battery-powered saw.
Honda Element catalytic converter theft prevention tips
Following the steps below will help you prevent catalytic converter theft and best protect your Element from catalytic converter theft.
Secure your vehicle in your garage when not in use
The best way to protect your Element’s catalytic converter is to keep your vehicle in a safe location, such as a garage, when not in use. Unfortunately, this is not realistic for most of us. We have to work, run errands, or for many, there is no garage to store your vehicle in. However, if you are fortunate enough to have a garage, park it inside when you can.
Install a catalytic converter anti-theft shield
The next best way to protect your Honda Element is to install a catalytic converter anti-theft shield. These are sometimes also known as catalytic converter locks or catalytic converter covers.
While it is unfortunate that the Element is high on the list of popular vehicles for catalytic converter theft, the good news is the Honda Element has custom-fit catalytic converter shields that you can buy to protect your vehicle.
Because they are a custom fit for your Element, they are easy to install, and most can be installed in an hour or two. If you don’t feel comfortable installing your anti-theft shield, your local mechanic will be able to do it for you.
And, consider yourself lucky. Most vehicle models do not have cat shields available to install, but thanks to MillerCAT, they are available for your Honda.
Catalytic converter anti-theft shields do require an investment and cost a few hundred dollars, but if you have ever been a victim of catalytic converter theft, you will find it is worth every penny.
Replacing a stolen catalytic converter is an expensive and frustrating thing to go through. Installing a cat cover is your best chance at protecting your vehicle. They work because they cover your catalytic converter and are extremely difficult to cut through. Installing one drastically increases the work a thief needs to steal your converter.
When thieves see your catalytic converter shield, they are higher likely to move on to a softer target.
Paint and etch your catalytic converters
If purchasing a catalytic converter shield or cage is not an option due to cost, the next best thing to do is etch and paint your catalytic converter with your VIN number.
High-temperature spray paint is available that can be used to paint your catalytic converter. This makes it harder for thieves to resell for cash. Thieves will likely move on to other vehicles unless they know a shady junk yard or recycler.
Install a home surveillance camera
If you have to park outside, you should consider buying a wireless camera system with built-in WI-FI, cloud recording, and motion detection.
Wireless WI-FI camera systems can be installed in minutes, without the need to run electricity. We have found it to not only be a great deterrent, but many systems come with a phone app that gives you an early notification if someone is tampering with your car. This gives you an opportunity to call the police. Some models come with speakers so you can scare off the thieves. And having a recording for your local police and insurance company is a bonus.
While these anti-theft solutions can’t guarantee that your Element’s catalytic converter won’t be stolen, they will drastically reduce the chance.
Most thieves will simply walk away and target vehicles that are less protected.