Catalytic converter thefts have been skyrocketing for the past several years, and it appears to be getting worse. With the economic turbulence due to Covid-19 and high gas prices, more thieves are turning to catalytic converters for their precious metals.
While any car built after 1974 can be a target, the vehicles below have the highest risk of catalytic converter theft, according to insurance claims data and police reports.
Thieves target these specific vehicles since their catalytic converters contain the highest degree of valuable metals inside or because their catalytic converters are easy to access.
As a result, catalytic converters stolen from these vehicles fetch the highest prices when sold on the black market or to a scrap yard or metal recycling facility for quick cash.
- Toyota Prius
- Honda Accord
- Toyota Tundra
- Toyota Tacoma
- Honda Element
- Honda CRV
- Lexus RX / NX
- Jeep Patriot
- Lexus CT
- Toyota Rav4
- Ford F-150/F-250
Top vehicles for catalytic converter theft by type
Here is a list of vehicle types that are popular targets based on claims data from top insurance companies.
Hybrid vehicles and models, like the Toyota Prius, Honda Accord, Lexus ES/LS, and Toyota Camry top the list. These vehicles contain catalytic converters with the highest degree of platinum, rhodium, and palladium. These valuable metals remove the highest degree of harmful emissions from the car’s exhaust system as these vehicles are considered to be more environmentally friendly.
Trucks, especially the Toyota Tundra, Toyota Tacoma, and Dodge Ram are popular with catalytic converter thieves because they have higher ground clearance and often larger engines that need a larger or second catalytic converter. Unlike some cars, trucks sit higher off the ground, making their exhaust pipe easier to access so the catalytic converter can be cut out faster.
SUVs, such as the Honda Element, Lexus RX, and Toyota Forerunner, are popular for many of the same reasons trucks are. The ease of access and high number of SUVs on the roads make SUVs a popular target for catalytic converter theft.
Non-Diesel fleet vehicles such as small buses, work vans, and trucks are seeing a huge increase in catalytic converter theft. These vehicles have larger engines and larger or multiple catalytic converters to account for a higher degree of exhaust output.
One example is LifeCare Alliance, a non-profit agency in Columbus, Ohio, that helps provide meal delivery and nutrition services to the elderly and those with medical needs. They had several catalytic converters stolen from their parking lot on three separate occasions.
In Portland, Oregon, the Reynolds School District had catalytic converters stolen from 19 school buses and three fleet vehicles over the weekend, causing disruption when discovered on Monday morning.
Top vehicles for catalytic converter theft by make/model
Note that while these are some of the most popular cars targeted for catalytic convert theft, thieves will take advantage of any crime of opportunity and go after what they feel is a safe target.
In some locations, thieves have their own preferences based on ease of access and what car models they feel are easy targets.
The sad fact is that any car with a gasoline/hybrid engine manufactured after 1974 is a target for catalytic converter theft. And not all of them are newer vehicles.
Here are the cars, trucks, and SUVs that are most likely to be targeted by catalytic converter thieves:
The Toyota Prius, by far, tops the list for the car most likely to be targeted for catalytic converter theft. It is also one of the most expensive cars to repair. According to RepairPal.com, the replacement cost of a catalytic converter on a Toyota Prius is $2161 to $2,193.
If you have a Toyota Prius, you will want to make sure you park your car in your garage if possible and take several steps, including installing a protective device to prevent theft. it’s It is almost guaranteed to get its catalytic converter stolen if you don’t add extra protection.
You can learn more about preventing catalytic converter theft on your Prius here.
Check MillerCAT to find protective shields that will protect your Prius.
Check Amazon to find protective shields that will protect your Prius.
Honda vehicles are near the top of the list when it comes to catalytic converter thefts, and the Honda Accord is near the top of all Honda vehicles. Honda’s are known for having high-quality catalytic converters that have a higher concentration of precious metals and just enough ground clearance to attract thieves.
According to RepairPal.com, the replacement cost of a catalytic converter on a Honda Accord is between $2,027 and $2,092.
Check MillerCAT to find protective shields that will protect your Accord.
When it comes to trucks, Toyota tops the list. The Toyota Tundra (along with the Tacoma) are common targets. Toyota Tundra’s come with four catalytic converters! Two are located towards the front, near the engine, and two are near the middle.
According to RepairPal.com, the replacement cost of a catalytic converter on a Toyota Tundra is between $3,721 and $3,746.
Thieves don’t just get one; they often take them all!
Check Amazon to find protective shields that will protect your Tundra.
Check MillerCAT to find protective shields that will protect your Tundra.
Behind the Tundra is the Toyota Tacoma. Depending on the model, Tacoma’s have two or three catalytic converters. Due to this number and the higher ground clearance, they are very popular vehicles among thieves.
According to RepairPal.com, the replacement cost of a catalytic converter on a Toyota Tacoma is between $1,771 and $1,798.
Check Amazon to find protective shields that will protect your Tacoma.
Check MillerCAT to find protective shields that will protect your Tacoma.
Behind the Accord, it is a toss-up between the Honda Element and the CRV. It is also one of the most expensive to repair.
According to RepairPal.com, the replacement cost of a catalytic converter on a Honda Element is between $2654 and $2668 on average, making it one of the most expensive catalytic converter repairs in its class.
Check Amazon to find protective shields that will protect your Honda Element.
Check MillerCAT to find protective shields that will protect your Honda Element.
The CRV is another popular target for catalytic converter thieves. According to RepairPal.com, the replacement cost of a catalytic converter on a Honda CRV is between $2,059 and $2,092. Theft of converters on CRVs has been steadily climbing over the past few years.
Lexus RX / NX
The Lexus RX and NX models are popular. Many thieves stealing catalytic converters love the Lexus models because of their similarity to Hondas, therefore, making this car’s catalytic converter appear near the top of the catalytic converter stolen list.
According to RepairPal.com, the replacement cost of a catalytic converter on a Lexus RX300 is between $1,904 and $1,932.
At this time, there are no known protective covers for these vehicles.
Jeeps make great targets due to their high ground clearance and ease of access to its catalytic converter. The Jeep Patriot leads the Jeep family as it has one of the most valuable catalytic converter resale values.
Lexus CT’s catalytic converter is gaining popularity among thieves, and it is easy to see why. The Lexus CT is built on the same frame and has many of the same specifications as its cousin, the Toyota Prius.
The Lexus CT is often referred to as the luxury version of the Prius. The only thing that keeps this car down the list is the number of CTs on the road is not as high as many other models. This means that they are harder to spot and find, but if found, thieves love them!
If you own this vehicle, protect it as if it was a Prius.
What is the average cost to replace a Lexus CT catalytic converter? Ranges have not been published, but since it is built on the Prius frame and similar engine style, we estimate it is around $2161 to $2,193.
Check MillerCAT to find protective shields that will protect your Lexus CT.
The Toyota Rav4 is another popular vehicle that gets its catalytic converters stolen. While not cheap, the replacement costs on this vehicle tend to be lower than some of its competitors.
According to RepairPal.com, the replacement cost of a catalytic converter on a Toyota Rav4 is between $1,323 and $1,374.
At this time there are no known protective covers for these vehicles.
The final vehicle in this list is actually two different models of Ford trucks – the Ford F-150 and the Ford F-250.
The high ground clearance and the popularity of these trucks make these catalytic converters a prime target.
According to RepairPal.com, the replacement cost of a catalytic converter on a Ford F-150 is between $1,421 and $1,446. The F-250 is significantly higher and is between $2,861 and $2,895.
At this time, there are no known protective covers for these vehicles.
Why should I protect my vehicle from catalytic converter theft?
Simply put, catalytic converter replacement is expensive, and if you own one of the vehicles listed in this article, you are at higher risk than vehicles that are on the least-likely list.
“According to State Farm claims data, in the 12-month period from July 1, 2020, to June 30, 2021, catalytic converter theft grew close to 293 percent nationwide, in terms of the number of claims filed, compared to the 12 months prior ” (Excerpt from State Farm newsroom press release)
Carbrain.com reports that the average cost to replace a stolen catalytic converter is between $945 and $2475, including parts and labor. However, that is the average. We have seen some vehicles require repairs of upwards of $5000 due to the type or number of catalytic converters needed and damage to the surrounding exhaust system or oxygen sensors. This is especially true for those vehicles in CARB-compliant states that require CARB-compliant catalytic converters which require higher emission control standards.
Estimates published above have average prices across the United States, so average repair costs may be higher in your state.