Catalytic converter thieves frequently target vehicles like this Jeep.

How to protect your Jeep from catalytic converter theft

With the rise in inflation and precious metals prices, Jeep owners across the nation are reporting increased occurrences of catalytic converter theft. If you are a Jeep owner, preventing catalytic converter theft is no longer an option. It is a necessity.

In this article, I share several Jeep catalytic converter theft prevention tips to keep your vehicle safe regardless of which model you own.

Which Jeep model is most targeted for catalytic converter theft?

According to insurance claims, the 2007 – 2017 Jeep Patriot is the most targeted vehicle in the Jeep product line.

PropertyCasualty360, a company that provides information and research to insurance companies and their agents, listed the Jeep Patriot as one of their top 10 vehicles targeted for catalytic converter theft in the United States.

Carfax, also listed the Jeep Patriot on its most targeted vehicles list based on reports from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and surveys with repair shops.

However, if you do not drive a Jeep Patriot, that does not mean you are off the hook.

High ground clearance and high prices for precious metals like platinum, palladium, and rhodium make most Jeeps an easy target.

Jeep Wrangler, Grand Cherokee, and Gladiator owners specifically have seen a dramatic rise in catalytic converter theft, especially since 2019.

Jeep catalytic converter theft protection

Whether you have been a victim of “cat theft” or not, you should protect your vehicle from future thefts. Catalytic converter thefts can occur at your local mall’s parking lot in plain daylight or your own driveway at night. Often in just 1-2 minutes.

Replacements can cost several hundred to a few thousand dollars depending on certain vehicles’ make and model and where you live. However, before paying for an OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer) catalytic converter, check out aftermarket models that give you the same exhaust protection without the high cost. Both direct-fit and universal-fit catalytic converters are available.

A universal fit design will fit most vehicles but may require additional cutting and fabrication. A direct-fit catalytic converter replacement is designed to fit your specific model.

How do thieves steal catalytic converters off your Jeep?

Thieves remove your catalytic converter with a battery-powered Sawzall in seconds by cutting through your exhaust pipes on each side of the converter. In addition to removing the catalytic converter, the wires to your vehicle’s oxygen sensors are often cut, adding to the overall repair cost.

How to protect your Jeep from catalytic converter theft

The best way to protect your vehicle is to install anti-theft devices like a catalytic converter shield or cage. Unfortunately, for a Jeep, there are very few options.

A few places, like Amazon, typically sell catalytic converter guards, but it is hit-and-miss when it comes to finding one for a Jeep.

MillerCAT, a well-known manufacturer of catalytic converter shields, does not offer a catalytic converter shield currently for any Jeep model. Do check with them, though, as they may add them to their product line in the future. MillerCAT does carry several cat shields for other makes and models, so be sure to check if you have other vehicles that you want to protect.

Another option is to have a custom-fabricated cage welded onto your vehicle, but make sure you find a qualified fabricator who can do this. Be careful, though; depending on the age of your Jeep; this may invalidate any warranties on your vehicle. This will most likely violate any lease terms you have should you lease your vehicle.

Some owners try securing the converter by creating a physical barrier with wire rope around the frame and exhaust pipe, but many vehicle owners report back that it is hard to do right and often leads to noise when driving as the wire rope rubs your exhaust system.

Another option you can try is installing a catalytic converter anti-theft alarm. The only problem we have seen with these is that many do not work as well as they should. Amazon carries several catalytic converter alarms but do your own research and read the reviews. We have not tested them.

The final thing you can do, which is more of a deterrent, is to use high-temperature engine paint and spray paint your catalytic converter bright yellow or red. You can also etch your vehicle’s VIN number onto the catalytic converter.

Painting and etching may deter a would-be thief who might find it more inconvenient to resell for cash at a junkyard or metal reclamation center. This is a low-cost option that is better than nothing but does nothing to secure your catalytic converter.

Finally, when possible, secure your vehicle in a garage or fenced-in parking area, or at least try to park in well-lit, populated areas. Catalytic converters are so valuable, though, many thieves risk it anyways since catalytic converter thefts are so lucrative for them. Some vehicles’ catalytic converters are so popular that thieves drive around looking for them.

Average catalytic converter replacement costs – Jeep

Here are the average catalytic converter replacement costs for various Jeep models according to

Wrangler catalytic converter replacement cost – $1481 to $1547

Patriot catalytic converter replacement cost – $2537 to $2581

Grand Cherokee catalytic converter replacement cost – $1573 to $1670

Gladiator catalytic converter replacement cost – not listed

Compass catalytic converter replacement cost – $1297 to $1393

Renegade catalytic converter replacement cost – $3548 to $3590

As you can see, catalytic converter replacement is not cheap. If you have comprehensive auto insurance, your plan will most likely cover the theft minus any deductibles. However, some insurance carriers may limit the number of replacements allowed.

For more information about insurance coverage and stolen converters, check out an article we wrote previously called: Does Insurance Cover Catalytic Converter Theft?