What Audi Owners Need To Know About Catalytic Converter Theft

Despite not being among the top 10 cars for catalytic converter theft, Audis are still vulnerable. Let’s look at how to safeguard your Audi.
Written by Jennifer Justice
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
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Even though catalytic converter thieves aren't specifically targeting Audis, you want to be careful because this type of crime is on the rise. Several Audi vehicles are also more vulnerable.
Audi has several SUVs, the type of cars that catalytic converter thieves tend to go after. Since posting a guard by your Audi isn’t realistic, you’ll want tips on preventing theft and what
car insurance
can do for you if you get ripped off.
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Why are Audi catalytic converters being stolen?

Several factors can make vehicles more tempting to thieves than others, and catalytic converter thefts are a definite concern. The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) estimates there are an average of 1,200 thefts per month!
Here are some reasons your Audi is at a higher risk:
  • Higher ground clearance: Audi’s SUVs are a draw since they have more space under them. Since the cat is under the SUV, it is easier for someone to slip in, grab the part, then take off.
  • Double dip: most Audis have two catalytic converters, which means twice the payout. 
  • Popularity: Audi sold nearly 187,000 cars in the US. More Audis on the road mean more potential targets to pick.

What is a catalytic converter?

So why would anyone even want to steal a catalytic converter in the first place?
A vehicle’s exhaust system produces a lot of harmful chemicals that would normally go straight into the air, but a catalytic converter keeps that from happening. It uses a kind of filter with a honeycomb structure coated in rare metals, like
palladium
, platinum, and rhodium. Thieves can sell your catalytic converter for a good $2,000 or more per item!
It doesn’t hurt that a catalytic converter is pretty easy to steal thanks to being on the outside of the vehicle, and larger vehicles like SUVs can have two or more!
If you suddenly notice your exhaust system is really loud, chances are good it might be the catalytic converter. The muffler might be the issue, but have your mechanic check the catalytic converter as well.

The Audi models most targeted by catalytic converter thieves

Thieves are going to be interested in some Audis more than others.
SUVs are on the top ten list of cars most targeted by thieves, so there are several Audis that fall under this category:
  • 2009 - Present Audi Q5 models
  • 2007 - Present Audi Q7 models
The Audi Q5 has just over 8 inches for ground clearance, while the Audi Q7 has more than 9 inches of clearance, giving thieves easier access. While there are other SUVs, those models have around 6 inches of clearance, making them harder to slip under–but not impossible by using a car jack.
MORE: How to prevent Audi Outlander catalytic converter theft

Audi catalytic converter replacement costs

You’ll definitely have a major repair bill on your hands if you need to replace your catalytic converter. Here is what you could have to spend:
Model
Average cost to replace catalytic converter
$2,147 to $2,202
$2,731 to $2,820
$2,555 to $2,639
$2,690 to $2,775
$2,676 to $2,776
$4,269 to $4,480
$2,165 to $2,220
$2,555 to $2,639
$2,676 to $2,776
$4,269 to $4,480
$2,381 to $2,456
$2,049 to $2,104
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As you can see, you’ll be out thousands of dollars thanks to a thief. You can save some money if you get an aftermarket replacement instead of an OEM part, but be sure to get your Audi repaired by a trusted muffler shop.  

How to protect your Audi catalytic converter from theft

Besides just relying on luck, you can take steps to keep your vehicle safe. Here are ways to protect your Audi:
  • Pay attention to where you park
    . Even though you can't always pick the best spot, parking in a remote area gives thieves an advantage. Your ideal choice is a private garage, although locations with plenty of lighting and in a busy area are good as well.
  • Upgrade your car with an anti-theft device. It will be more difficult for criminals to steal your catalytic converter, plus you could get a discount on insurance. You can buy a
    catalytic shield, cage, or lock
    from an auto place or through Amazon.
  • Etch the VIN on the catalytic converter. Adding the VIN number to the part makes it hard to sell. Potential thieves won’t bother with something they can’t cash in on.
  • Use spray paint. A bright orange part is easier for police to trace, so someone will be less interested in stealing it. Just use heat-resistant paint.
  • Take advantage of security devices. Options like a front door camera, motion-activated lights, and more can make it harder for thieves, and they help the cops track down the criminal.
  • Get
    comprehensive car insurance
    . Prevention is not 100% possible, but insurance can help pay for repairs. You can file a claim if your catalytic converter gets stolen.
MORE: Data on the Most Stolen Car Reveals Ways To Prevent Auto Theft

What to do if you see someone stealing an Audi catalytic converter

If you see a theft in progress, call the police ASAP. Whether you or someone else is the victim, a police report increases the chance of catching the criminal. It also makes it easier to file insurance claims.
MORE: How to file an insurance claim with no police report
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FAQs

An Audi catalytic converter replacement is usually between $1,525 to $2,075.
If you have comprehensive car insurance, then yes. Comprehensive insurance pays for non-accident-related damage, like theft and storm damage, but not everyone purchases this option. You need to add this extra to your coverage to get help with something like catalytic converter theft.
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