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5 Cheapest Ways to Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft

I enjoy writing about experiences from my own life so that my tips may help others.

Painting your catalytic converter in a bright color could help deter theft

Painting your catalytic converter in a bright color could help deter theft

The catalytic converter theft situation is bad, but you can take steps to protect your vehicle. Here are five of the cheapest ways to prevent catalytic converter theft:

1. Park in a Garage if You Can

If you can, park your vehicle in a locked and secured garage. Thieves are less likely to steal a catalytic converter if they have to break into your garage through a door or window.

If you don't have a garage, you could park on your driveway or the street close to your home, and keep an eye on your vehicle while it's parked there.

2. Buy a Can of High-Heat Spray Paint

The easiest and cheapest way to protect your catalytic converter is to buy a can of high-heat spray paint.

Thieves will likely look for easy opportunities to quickly cut out your exhaust and remove the catalytic converter, so spraying a generous amount of yellow or orange paint onto the converter would certainly be a low-cost and quick way to deter them. A painted converter should be considerably more difficult for them to sell in the open market. Just by spraying some cheap high-heat spray paint, you have a much higher chance that they will not even consider stealing it in the first place.

Make sure it's the right kind; you want very high-heat 1300-2000 degrees Fahrenheit paint specifically for automotive exhausts, not just any old automotive material. Make sure it covers well, and make your catalytic converter stand out!

Choose an affordable can of flameproof high-temperature paint

Choose an affordable can of flameproof high-temperature paint

3. Use Motion Lights and Cameras

Motion lights are an affordable and effective way to deter catalytic converter thieves. Motion lights will turn on when a person or another vehicle approaches your vehicle, but they won't be activated if, for example, a cat walks by. This can help you determine whether or not the noises you hear in the middle of the night are coming from a thief trying to steal your vehicle part or just neighborhood cats looking for food.

Cameras are another great way to capture footage of any suspicious activity around your vehicle and identify who is responsible for stealing it. If you're able to get clear enough footage of the person who stole from you, then that person could potentially be charged with theft!

4. Use an Alarm System

If you want to deter catalytic converter theft, a sure -fire way is to use an alarm system. This can be installed on your car or your garage, and it's worth it if you have a valuable catalytic converter. A good alarm will make a loud screeching sound when someone approaches the vehicle or garage. The noise will scare away most thieves and alert neighbors that something is wrong.

Thankfully, most vehicles these days are pre-installed with a alarm system to deter potential thieves, so it shouldn't need to be an additional expense. Just make sure that your alarm system is activated each time you lock and walk away from your vehicle.

5. Engrave a VIN on Your Catalytic Converter

If you really want to make sure that thieves stay way from your catalytic converter, one of the best and cheapest ways to do so is to engrave the vehicle identification number (VIN) on it. The VIN should be engraved in a way that is very clearly visible. The VIN identifies the car the part came from, and makes it more difficult for the converter to be resold on the open market, thereby acting as a distractor.

To engrave a VIN on your catalytic converter, any good metal engraving or craft engraving tool should do the trick; these can be purchased from home hardware stores for around $20. You'll be doing the engraving yourself. No special skills are required but it will need a little time and patience. There are several videos on YouTube to help make this process easier.

How to Mark Or Etch Your Catalytic Converter

Why It's Worth It to Keep People From Stealing Your Converter

The catalytic converter is a crucial part of your vehicle, and you want to make sure it’s protected. Taking the time and effort to deter catalytic converter theft is well worth the effort. If someone does steal your "cat," be prepared for a long and costly wait to replace the part. Some vehicles have multiple catalytic converters, which makes theft even more costly.

Keep in mind though that if someone is determined enough (and has enough tools) they will eventually be able to remove the catalytic converter from its vehicle. The goal here isn't necessarily unattainable security; rather, it's retaining as much functionality as possible while keeping costs low.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2022 Louise