Which Cars Are Most Likely to Have the Catalytic Converter Stolen?

Catalytic converter thieves often target hybrids, large pickup trucks, or other high-seated cars.
Written by Macy Fouse
Edited by Bellina Gaskey
Reviewed by Georgina Grant
Catalytic converters contain certain types of precious metals, making them popular targets for theft. Some of the most popular vehicle types targeted for cat converter theft include large pickup trucks,
older cars
, and
luxury cars
  • Catalytic converters are often stolen because they’re easy to access and contain expensive metals.
  • A car is more likely to have its catalytic converter stolen if the converter is pricier or if the car sits higher off the ground.
  • Cars least likely to be targeted by cat converter thieves are those with low ground clearance and EVs, which don’t have them.

What is a catalytic converter?

The catalytic converter is a crucial part of your automotive
exhaust system
When a vehicle’s engine uses fuel, it’s converted to toxic gasses, like carbon monoxide and nitric oxide. The catalytic converter then changes these harmful pollutants into carbon dioxide and water before they’re emitted through the exhaust pipe. 
Catalytic converters are typically located somewhere between your car’s engine and muffler. Some vehicles have a front and back catalytic converter, but many cars just have one. 

Why do people steal catalytic converters?

People steal catalytic converters because their materials can be sold at a high price and they're easy to steal.
Catalytic converters contain valuable metals like platinum, rhodium, and palladium. Thieves can make anywhere from $25 to $300 for a standard catalytic converter, and ones from hybrid vehicles can sell for up to $1,400.
These parts are also easy to access beneath the vehicle. Catalytic converters generally hang lower than other components of the vehicle, making them easy targets for thieves to simply slide under the car and cut them off. 
Why it matters: Catalytic converter theft has increased from 3,389 reported thefts in 2018 to 14,443 in 2020, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). That's a 977% increase in just two years.

Which cars are most likely to have their catalytic converter stolen?

While catalytic converter thefts can often be crimes of opportunity, many thieves target specific vehicles based on the cost of the catalytic converter, how common the vehicles are, and how easy it is to access the catalytic converter.
By referencing their partner repair shops,
found that these vehicles that are the most targeted for catalytic converter theft:
  1. 1985-2021
    Ford F-Series
  2. 1989-2020
    Honda Accord
  3. 2007-17
    Jeep Patriot
  4. 1997-2020
    Honda CR-V
  5. 1987-2019
    Toyota Camry
  6. 2011-17
    Chrysler 200
  7. 2001-21
    Toyota Prius
These are just the models that most commonly get their catalytic converters stolen. Your vehicle could also be at risk for catalytic converter theft based on a few other factors. 
Here’s an idea of which types of vehicles are even more at-risk for catalytic converter theft:
  • Luxury vehicles: The Ferrari F430 has the most expensive catalytic converters, coming in at a whopping $3,770 each (there are two). Lamborghinis also have incredibly pricey catalytic converters, averaging at about $3,000.
  • Hybrid vehicles: The more emissions-friendly the vehicle, the more valuable its catalytic converter tends to be. These vehicles require a higher concentration of the precious metal palladium, upping the total value—and the incentive for thieves. 
  • Older vehicles: Due to their concentration of valuable metals and their general non-eco-friendliness, catalytic converters in larger, older vehicles are worth more than newer, more efficient vehicles.
  • SUVs and trucks: Larger trucks and SUVs tend to be targeted because their larger engine means a more valuable catalytic converter and their high ground clearance makes their converters easier to access. The
    Dodge Ram 2500
    ’s catalytic converter’s value is nearly Ferrari-level at a staggering $2,000.

Other models with valuable catalytic converters

Of course, there are cars that aren’t targeted for a specific category but tend to have more valuable catalytic converters for one reason or another. 

Which cars are the least likely to have their catalytic converter stolen?

Luckily, a few types of vehicles are less likely to have their cat converters stolen than average. Some of these don’t even have catalytic converters!

Cars prior to 1974

Cars built before 1974 didn’t have converters, so antique and vintage models are in the clear. 

Diesel vehicles

Diesel converters have almost no precious metals, so they have little value to thieves.

Electric vehicles 

electric vehicles
don’t run on gas, they have no need for catalytic converters. This means that the following models are immune to catalytic converter theft: 

Least at-risk makes

In terms of brands, here are the car makes that overall are at least risk of catalytic converter theft: 
  • Chevrolet
  • Chrysler
  • Dodge
  • GMC
  • Hyundai
  • Jeep
  • Mazda
  • Nissan 
  • Subaru 
Again: Cars lower to the ground also tend to be less likely targets for theft. 

How to prevent catalytic converter theft

It’s more important than ever for car owners to be aware of catalytic converter theft and try to prevent it. 
Here are a few safety tips to protect your vehicle: 
  • Install a catalytic converter anti-theft device: Many mechanic shops can install a metal shield to cover your converter, but there are other options.
  • Park wisely: Try to park with your exhaust pipe close to the wall if possible. Always park in well-lit areas of a parking lot or garage. 
  • Etch your license plate or VIN number onto your catalytic converter: This will make the part more identifiable and trackable if the thief tries to resell it.
 Another major way to protect your vehicle is by having the right
car insurance
coverage. If you have
comprehensive coverage
, catalytic converter theft and replacement will be covered. Without
full coverage car insurance
, you'll be responsible for the costs of catalytic converter theft.
is an amazing app. I saved a lot of money in minutes for my Tesla Model 3’s insurance. I’m so glad I downloaded the app!” —Erza S.
Compare auto insurance policies
No spam or unwanted phone calls · No long forms · No fees, ever
Compare Car Insurance Quotes For Free
Jerry automatically shops for your insurance before every renewal. Members save $872/year.
rating primary
Rating on App Store
Start saving money!
12,000+ Reviews
Trusted by 3.5M car owners like you

You might also be interested

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings — it's 100% free