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Stolen Catalytic Converter: Here's What You Should Do

Catalytic Converters  ·  March 23, 2022

Stolen Catalytic Converter: Here's What You Should Do

Many car owners don’t fully appreciate the value of a catalytic converter, that is, until someone steals it from their vehicle. Cat converters are worth quite a sum, so it’s not surprising why catalytic converter theft is on the rise.

When someone steals your catalytic converter, take a moment to calm down, and then call the police to make a report. You’ll need that report when filing a claim with your insurer, after which, you’ll need to get your car to a mechanic to replace the converter asap.

Reacting to a stolen catalytic converter is stressful no matter who you are. This guide will help you get through the process as smoothly as possible and hopefully prevent it from happening again.

What to Do If Someone Has Stolen Your Catalytic Converter

So, let’s assume that you’ve just got into your car and noticed signs of a stolen catalytic converter. You get off your car and check underneath, and to your dismay, your suspicions are confirmed. What do you do? Lucky you, today’s guide will help you get through your dilemma, step by step.

#1 Take a Moment to Collect Yourself

First, you’ll want to give yourself a couple of minutes and take a deep breath. Someone has stolen something that belongs to you, and that to me qualifies as a ‘traumatic experience’.

Even if it wasn’t your first time finding your catalytic converter stolen, the experience would still be stressful. Maybe more so if it's the second or third time. 

#2 Call the Police

Once you’ve regained your bearing, get your phone and call the authorities. Depending on where you parked your car, you can notify security so that they’re aware of the situation.

Then, you should contact the police by phone or by going straight to the police station.

Some people might not feel the need to involve the police, but that’s wrong. There are two reasons you’ll want to do that, namely:

When you notify security or the police, you'll want to provide as much information as possible. If you have the serial number for that cat-con, you'll want to provide that as well.

That piece of information will help the police work faster, especially if the thieves target multiple cars in your area.

#3 Contact Your Insurance Company

Next, you should call your insuring company. Insurers usually have a hotline or phone number for emergencies, so that’s the one you should call. 

Firstly, you’ll want to check with them to see whether your auto insurance policy covers catalytic converter thefts.

Then, assuming your policy does cover these kinds of thefts, inform them that you’re filing a claim and ask about what documents they require from you. The compensation you’ll get will help cover the cost of replacing the stolen catalytic converter.

#4 Get to a Mechanic ASAP

Last but not least, you’ll want to go directly to your mechanic to get the stolen catalytic converter replaced.

A catalytic converter is a critical part of a vehicle, and its absence will cause you many problems.

Plus, as you’ll see below, an absent cat converter causes a horrible noise that you (and your neighbours) will undoubtedly be concerned about.

What Happens When You Drive Without a Catalytic Converter?

A stolen catalytic converter will not prevent you from driving your car. You can still start the engine and drive the vehicle around like any other day, but you will suffer some annoying issues until you install a new catalytic converter.

Common Problems of Vehicles with a Missing Cat Converter

#1 Loud Noise

The catalytic converter is a part of your vehicle's exhaust system. Stealing it means cutting open the exhaust system on both sides to remove the converter.

The cut ends expose the exhaust system to the air, not only emitting gases but also producing unpleasant noises.

For as long as you don't have a catalytic converter on your car, the vehicle will continue producing a loud sound whenever the engine is on.

#2 Rough Driving and Acceleration

Car engines can only function smoothly when the air goes in and comes out correctly. An exhaust system with a missing catalytic converter will result in rough driving and acceleration since the engine’s outgoing airflow is disrupted.

#3 Harmful Emissions

Catalytic converters are given that name because they convert harmful engine emissions into less harmful ones. Without them, engines will release toxic gases directly into the environment.

Those gases will also find their way into your car’s cabin, causing health issues for you and your passengers.

#4 Possible Fine

Most places will have rules about cars having catalytic converters. Those places will likely enforce those rules with fines, too.

So, unless you want to get in trouble with the law, you’ll want to replace that converter ASAP.


So, here’s the unfortunate truth: a determined thief will steal a catalytic converter no matter how safe anyone thinks it is. That’s especially true because they can make quite a bit of money recycling those stolen parts. 

There are ways to make your converter less inviting to thieves. Check out our article about cat shields here.

As you've seen above, driving your car around without a catalytic converter is not an option. Again, there are performance and safety issues, not to mention possible fines if you’re caught. 

In other words, replacing a stolen catalytic converter is the only option, and it’s not one that you can delay.

You could always try to get a used or second-hand catalytic converter. Used ones will remain functional for years, and you could get a bargain at CarpartAU’s Marketplace. The easiest way, of course, is to get quotes from reputed sellers and local wreckers via our Car Part Finder. Just fill out this request form and start receiving quotes!

FAQs about Stolen Catalytic Converters

1. Will Insurance Cover a Stolen Catalytic Converter?

Auto insurance companies offer catalytic converter theft coverage, so hopefully, your car insurance policy includes it. If you have opted for it, your insurance provider will compensate you accordingly.

2. How Much Is a New Catalytic Converter?

A brand-new catalytic converter can cost anywhere from $200 to $1,600. Of course, the final price depends on your car brand, model, and installation costs.

3. How Can I Make My Catalytic Converter Secure?

There are a few steps you can take to reduce the chances of thieves targeting your vehicle. For example, you can:

By Ray Hasbollah

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