2021 Toyota Corolla Catalytic Converter Anti-Theft Tips

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The catalytic converters inside a 2021 Toyota Corolla aren't easy to reach, nonetheless, you should keep your car in a secure location and your hood tightly locked to prevent theft.
When you consider the price of the precious metals they contain, it's no wonder catalytic converter thefts are on the rise. A single ounce of rhodium can fetch nearly $12,300 at the time of writing. And since every gasoline-driven car has a catalytic converter, thieves only need to stroll down the street or into a parking garage to find their targets.
Fortunately, they're unlikely to choose your sedan. In this article, we’ll show you how to prevent catalytic converter theft in a 2021 Toyota Corolla. You'll learn where your car's “cats” are located, how to protect them, and what kind of
car insurance
will pay for replacements should things go wrong.

Is it easy to steal the catalytic converter from a 2021 Toyota Corolla? 

No, it’s not easy to steal a catalytic converter from a 2021 Toyota Corolla.
The '21 Corolla has two catalytic converters in its engine compartment, both of which are under the hood. To open a Corolla’s hood, a would-be thief would first have to break into the cabin and flip the release switch to the left of the steering wheel.
Next, they’d have to dismantle several parts to get their prize, including the integrated exhaust manifolds that bolt the cat cons to the engine.
Pick-up trucks and SUVs are the most common targets for thieves. Their catalytic converters are integrated with the exhaust pipes on the underside of the car and are completely unprotected. You can also wiggle under them pretty easily. A burglar with a saw can get away with a cat con in about one minute thanks to the
Toyota Tundra's ground clearance
of almost 11 inches.
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Why are catalytic converters stolen?

Catalytic converters are valuable because they contain precious metals, such as rhodium, platinum, and palladium. These metals are used to filter toxic chemicals from your car's exhaust, reduce harmful emissions, and improve air quality. They also go for a pretty penny on the black market, making them an attractive target for thieves.
Catalytic converters are also a huge pain to replace!

2021 Toyota Corolla catalytic converter replacement cost

Be prepared to spend over $1,500 on parts alone if you have to replace the catalytic converters in your 2021 Toyota Corolla.
Genuine Toyota catalytic converters with integrated exhaust manifolds
cost between $750 and $790. Your bill will be close to $2,000 after you factor in taxes and labor. The good news is that genuine Toyota parts come with a 12-month/20,000-mile warranty, provided you visit a licensed mechanic.

How to prevent catalytic converter theft from a 2021 Toyota Corolla

As the old saying goes, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Here are the smartest ways to invest your time and money so you don’t have to pay a costly visit to the garage.

Park in a secure area

You can make it even harder for thieves to steal your Corolla's catalytic converters by choosing a secure parking location. This is especially important if you’re planning on putting your car in storage or taking a long trip.
Consider investing in a locked garage. If you can’t, try to find a well-lit area or make your own with motion-sensor lights and security cameras.
MORE: How to tell if a parking garage is liable for a stolen or damaged car

Install an anti-theft alarm

To protect your Corolla’s catalytic converters, you need to protect the engine compartment. To protect the engine compartment, you need to protect the hood release switch. To protect the hood release switch—well, you can probably see where this is going.
A car alarm is the best
vehicle anti-theft device
in this situation. While the Corolla contains its own security system, it doesn't hurt to add an extra layer of protection that thieves won't expect. You might even receive a car insurance discount for making your vehicle that much safer.

Etch your VIN on the catalytic converter

Etching your Corolla's
vehicle identification number (VIN)
onto the catalytic converters makes them easier to track and almost impossible to sell. You want the etching to be visible so that a thief can spot it before they dismantle your engine. It's another way to tell burglars that your sedan isn’t worth their time.
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What to do if your 2021 Toyota Corolla’s catalytic converters are stolen

If you discover that one or both of your Corolla's catalytic converters have been stolen, you should first call the police, followed by a towing company, and lastly, your insurance provider.

How do you know if your car is missing a catalytic converter?

As your Corolla's catalytic converters are inside the engine compartment, the first thing you'll probably notice is that the hood isn't closed properly or that the driver door is unlocked.
Even if the thieves cleaned up after themselves, a missing cat con is impossible to conceal once you start up the engine.
Here’s what you’ll notice:
  • An engine that’s much louder than normal
  • Decreased gas mileage
  • Hesitation during acceleration
If the worst has happened, step out of your car and grab your phone.

Call the police

It's best to contact the police as soon as you notice that your car has been tampered with. The sooner they can examine your car and any security footage from nearby cameras, the better their chances of recovering your missing part(s). Take pictures of the parking location, note any damage to your car, and call for a tow while you're waiting.

Call for a tow

Can you drive your Corolla without either of its catalytic converters? Maybe, but it’s not worth the risk. To access the parts, the thief would have had to rummage around in your engine compartment, and they probably left loose parts and bolts behind.
Driving your car—even if it’s just to the nearest garage—could cause enough engine damage to make you wish you’d simply paid the
tow cost

File a car insurance claim

Regardless of whether the police catch the culprits, the officer at the scene will file a police report. You can usually request a copy online about a week after the incident. Include the report, your pictures, and any notes when you file a car insurance claim.
If you’ve got
full-coverage car insurance
, your repairs and replacements will be covered.

What type of insurance will replace a stolen catalytic converter?

Comprehensive insurance
protects your Toyota Corolla against theft, vandalism, and graffiti, including catalytic converter theft. It also covers weather-related damages, making it a good investment for drivers who live in an area with a high rate of crime or extreme weather.
For the best price, use a
licensed insurance quote comparison app
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The 2021 Toyota Corolla has two catalytic converters, both located inside the engine compartment. Each one is secured to the engine block through an integrated exhaust manifold.
Call the police immediately if you find someone rooting around inside your engine compartment. For your own safety, don’t attempt to confront the thief or take a photo or video, unless you can do so from a distance.
If you don’t notice that your catalytic converter has been stolen when you return to your car, it’ll become obvious when you start driving. Without a catalytic converter, your car will be much noisier, slower, and less fuel-efficient than normal.

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