How to Prevent Hyundai Ioniq Catalytic Converter Theft

Drivers of the Hyundai Ioniq are at a higher risk of catalytic converter theft because of the car’s hybrid status—but there are steps you can take to lower that risk.
Written by Meaghan Branham
Reviewed by Alita Dark
The Hyundai Ioniq’s catalytic converter is located underneath the body of the vehicle, making it more likely to be the target of a theft. Protect yours by parking in well-lit or secured areas, purchasing an anti-theft device, and investing in comprehensive car insurance coverage. 
The Hyundai Ioniq is available as either a hybrid or plug-in hybrid option: great news for the environment, but not so much for the owners who have to deal with the reality that catalytic converter theft among hybrids is on the rise. 
If you own an Ioniq and are worried about catalytic converter theft, we have some answers for you. In this guide, we’ll cover why this crime has seen such a rapid rise recently, what you can do to prevent it, and what
car insurance
coverage might be able to help if you are a victim. 
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Is it easy to steal the catalytic converter from a Hyundai Ioniq? 

Despite the fact that hybrids are ahead of the curve in a lot of ways, their catalytic converters unfortunately remain an easy target. Instead of a more modern design adapted by some manufacturers, in which the converter is under the hood, the Hyundai Ioniq keeps a traditional layout: the catalytic converter is situated underneath the body of the car
While a catalytic converter isn’t as easy to steal from an Ioniq as it is to steal from, say, a pickup truck or SUV—the
Ford F150
is among the most common targets thanks to its high ground clearance—thieves have still been known to jack up vehicles to get better access. From there, they use a reciprocating saw to cut the converter out. 

Why do thieves target hybrids? 

Very few car
makes and models
have been exempt from the trend of catalytic converter theft, but hybrids especially have taken a hit. This is because many hybrid powertrains use a higher concentration of precious metals, making them more valuable for resale.

Why are Hyundai Sonata catalytic converters stolen?

What exactly are the precious metals that are present in catalytic converters, and why are they there? Well, the name of this component comes from its function. The converter filters harmful emissions by removing some of the more dangerous byproducts, turning them into less harmful gasses. It does so by passing them through a honeycomb mesh coated with precious metals, like rhodium, platinum, and palladium. These metals serve as the catalyst, causing the reaction that converts emissions into less harmful products. 
It’s those precious metals that thieves are after when they steal a converter. As of spring of 2022, those metals were worth: 
  • Platinum: $1,128 per ounce 
  • Palladium: $2,938 per ounce 
  • Rhodium: $20,000 per ounce 
Now, there isn’t a full ounce of platinum, palladium, or rhodium in your converter—although many hybrids have them in greater concentrations—but any amount of these materials is valuable to a thief. Factor in how easy it is to scoot under the car and cut through the attaching pipes, and you get a recipe for an ever-growing problem in the auto parts world. 

Hyundai catalytic converter replacement cost

No matter what part you’re dealing with, buying a replacement because yours was stolen is—to put it lightly—not a good time. It’s stressful, unexpected, and, worse, steeply priced. 
To replace a stolen catalytic converter on a Hyundai Ioniq, you’ll likely pay between $1,200 and $1,300. The part itself can cost hundreds of dollars, while the complicated process of reinstalling it and repairing any damage done by the thief can quickly add up. 

How to prevent catalytic converter theft from a Hyundai Ioniq

Since hybrids are becoming increasingly common targets for catalytic converter theft, owners of the Ioniq might want to take a few extra precautions to help them sleep better at night:

Park in a secure area

It may sound obvious, but parking in well-lit or monitored parking garages, streets, and lots is a much safer option than parking in areas that are less secure. Not only does this make walking to your car late at night less of a risk, it also means that those looking to steal a catalytic converter are less likely to do so, as they are more likely to get caught. 

Buy an anti-theft device

There are quite a few catalytic converter anti-theft devices on the market right now, all of which can decrease the likelihood of yours being stolen. 
Catalytic converter anti-theft shields, for instance, are simple stainless steel or aluminum shields that fit snugly in place and are very difficult to cut through. 
You can also opt for devices like the
, both of which utilize steel cables or wire ropes to encircle the catalytic converter—making it harder to get to—and latch the component to the underside of the car several times, making stealing it all the more time-consuming. 
These are usually simple enough to install and can be done by yourself once you have ordered it. Installing one can even save you money on your insurance, as companies may offer lower rates on comprehensive policies if you show proof of one of these anti-theft devices.  

Put your VIN on the catalytic converter

Unfortunately, a Sharpie won’t be enough to get your VIN onto your catalytic converter. We’re talking about etching it in so that if the thief tries to sell it, they won’t be able to without it being quickly traced back to its original owner. 
Thieves are much less likely to steal the cat if they know they’ll have a difficult or impossible time reselling it because of this identifying feature. You can take your car to a muffler shop to get this done quickly. 

Invest in comprehensive insurance

Okay, so upgrading your policy with
comprehensive insurance
won’t dissuade a thief from stealing your catalytic converter in the first place, but it does absolutely come in handy on the off chance that your catalytic converter is stolen. 
Opting for comprehensive coverage when choosing your auto policy allows you to file a claim for at least some of the cost to replace a stolen catalytic converter. Unlike comprehensive coverage, basic
liability insurance
does not cover theft and leaves you paying for the parts and labor of a replacement entirely out of pocket.

What to do if your Hyundai Ioniq’s catalytic converter is stolen

If you have been the victim of a catalytic converter theft, you may be wondering what the best course of action is to take. Here’s what you should do if your Hyundai Ioniq’s converter goes missing:
  • Call the police and file a report: The first step is to alert the authorities of the crime and file a report with them. In some cases, they may even be able to track down the person who stole your converter with the help of surveillance footage or witness accounts. Even if they can’t, having a report of the incident can help you with the next step. 
  • Contact your insurance company: If your policy includes comprehensive coverage, you can file a claim with your provider regarding the stolen catalytic converter. While you’ll still have to pay a deductible, you won’t have to cover the full replacement out of pocket.
  • Schedule an appointment with a mechanic: You’ll next want to get in with a mechanic to discuss replacing the missing part. Even if you don’t have comprehensive coverage and have to pay out of pocket, it's a good idea to get a new converter as soon as you can to avoid any further damage or complications. 

Can you drive a Hyundia Ioniq without a catalytic converter?

While you can technically drive your Ioniq without a catalytic converter, we don’t recommend it. First of all, driving without a catalytic converter means you are emitting dangerous gasses that are harmful for the environment.  
Aside from the environmental impact, driving without a cat means the hot gasses that would normally be processed by this component can begin to affect the engine, leading to overheating, poor engine performance, and reduced fuel economy.  
So while you can probably get away with waiting for a bit to replace it, it's in your—and the planet’s—best interest to get a new one as soon as possible. 
MORE: How to find eco-friendly cars
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