Car parts theft isn't a new concept, but the latest in thievery has to do with your vehicle's catalytic converter.

Police from Auburn are putting attention out there that catalytic converter theft is a growing issue for car owners nationwide and are warning car owners that this issue is happening right here in the state of Maine.

WABI-TV5 reported in May that the Bangor Police Department was seeing an uptick in catalytic converter thefts, including a Maine VA vehicle that had its catalytic converter stolen.

Why the catalytic converter?

Catalytic converters are a part of your car that converts bad exhaust fumes into not as bad exhaust fumes. Inside the filter of a catalytic converter are trace amounts of the precious metals platinum, palladium, and rhodium. One catalytic converter wouldn't have a lot of precious metal in it to be worth that much but, if you have a multitude of converters that can create just one ounce of rhodium, that's about $20,000 right now. In March 2021, that number hit $30,000.

Who is at risk of having their catalytic converter stolen?

If you have a vehicle, you are at risk. They became a mandatory part of your car in the 1970s so it's not like older cars aren't at risk. But, some catalytic converters are easier to steal than others. The task takes a jigsaw and about two minutes time, so it's not a labor-intensive process to steal a catalytic converter.

Why are trucks and bigger vehicles more vulnerable than cars?

What makes the stealing process even easier is having more clearance under a vehicle. So, the more room between the bottom of your vehicle and the ground, the easier it will be for a thief to get under your vehicle and take the part. Also, bigger vehicles will have bigger catalytic converters which means more precious metals. So, putting all of this into focus those with big trucks, which Mainers are particularly fond of, need to be aware.

What can you do to avoid this from happening to you?

Park in well-lit areas to avoid the thief from taking the risk to steal your vehicle's part. Make it hard for the thief to get under the car. Park the vehicle in a garage if you can. You can also purchase a metal plate to install under your vehicle, which may be a good idea to keep the road elements off of your vehicle underneath- less rust to deal with. It is a costly replacement so, just doing what you can to avoid it from happening to you may save you several thousand dollars in the long run.

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