Should I Worry About Ford Fiesta Catalytic Converter Theft?

The Ford Fiesta’s catalytic converter is not easy enough to access for it to be a target of catalytic converter theft. Here are more details!
Written by Cameron Thiessen
Reviewed by Brittni Brinn
You probably don’t need to worry about catalytic converter theft if you own a Ford Fiesta. Ford Fiestas have the catalytic converter attached directly to the exhaust manifold, making it hard to access without opening the hood and removing other parts. 
While catalytic converter theft has risen significantly in recent years, thieves are mostly targeting vehicles where the part is easily accessible, usually on the bottom of the vehicle. For example,
Ford F-Series pickup trucks
and
Honda Accords
are extremely common targets.
If you’re worried about ne'er-do-wells messing with your Ford Fiesta while it’s parked, you might want to consider altering your
car insurance
policy to include
comprehensive coverage
. Here’s a guide to keeping your Fiesta safe from cat thieves and what to do if your catalytic converter takes a walk.
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Is it easy to steal the catalytic converter from a Ford Fiesta? 

No. In fact, the Ford Fiesta’s catalytic converter is only accessible via the engine bay. You need to remove a number of other parts and components in order to access it.
More common targets for catalytic converter theft are vehicles that ride higher off the ground and have their catalytic converters accessible from underneath. Hybrid vehicles are also common targets because their cats contain a higher concentration of precious metals.

What is a catalytic converter and what does it do? 

Catalytic converters have been a part of exhaust systems in all vehicles in the U.S. since 1975 after emissions control regulations were significantly tightened.
Catalytic converters consist of metal catalysts such as platinum, rhodium, and palladium surrounded by a metal casing. Cats are placed after the exhaust manifold and before the muffler.
A common three-way catalytic converter contains a reduction catalyst and an oxidation catalyst. The reduction catalyst separates nitrogen oxide and nitrogen dioxide—harmful gasses which contribute to smog and acid rain—to eventually emit water and nitrogen gas. The oxidation catalyst burns hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide, resulting in the release of carbon dioxide and water.
Thanks to these processes, less harmful emissions are released as car exhaust.
MORE: How to pass emissions testing

Ford Fiesta catalytic converter replacement cost 

It’s more likely that you’ll need to replace your Ford Fiesta’s catalytic converter due to regular wear and tear than theft. Most catalytic converters are designed to last about ten years or 100,000 miles, but they can often last even longer.
However, when a catalytic converter does go bad, it’s important to have it replaced. A bad catalytic converter will reduce fuel efficiency and is likely to eventually lead to engine failure if left too long.
Most catalytic converter replacement costs about $2,000, but according to
RepairPal
, it should only cost just over $1,000 for a Ford Fiesta.

Can you drive a Ford Fiesta without a catalytic converter?

Technically, yes you can, but you shouldn’t. If you live in a state that requires consistent emissions testing, your catless Fiesta will certainly fail. The Ford Fiesta is designed to be driven with its specially-designed exhaust manifold system, and bypassing the catalytic converter will cause possible harm to the engine, commonly in the form of overheating.
That being said, if some miracle worker manages to get under the hood of your Ford Fiesta and steals just the catalytic converter, it is still technically safe to drive yourself to your local auto shop.

Why are catalytic converters stolen?

Catalytic converter theft has risen in recent years because the value of precious metals like the ones used as catalysts has shot up significantly. Here’s how much the metals in your catalytic converter were worth in 2022:
  • Platinum: $1,128 per ounce 
  • Palladium: $2,938 per ounce 
  • Rhodium: $20,000 per ounce
The other factor at play here is the ease of access of many catalytic converters. Of course, as we’ve already pointed out, your Ford Fiesta’s cat is tucked away quite safely in the engine bay, attached directly to the exhaust manifold.
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