How to Prevent Jeep Renegade Catalytic Converter Theft

The Jeep Renegade’s catalytic converter is tucked away safely in the engine bay, but you can increase your protection by buying an anti-theft device for your cat.
Written by Matt Nightingale
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
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Catalytic converter theft is on the rise across the country, but you can keep your Jeep Renegade cat safe by parking in a high-visibility area, having your VIN engraved on your converter, or by purchasing an anti-theft device designed to thwart catalytic converter thieves. 
If this spike in catalytic converter thefts has you on edge, you’re not alone. Replacing a stolen cat can be expensive, and its not something that you want to go very long without. But what can you do about it?
In this article, we’ll show you how concerned you should be about your Jeep Renegade catalytic converter, and how to prevent cat theft. And just in case, we’ll also go over what kind
car insurance
you can get to help pay for damaged or stolen converters and what
car repairs
you’ll need if it is stolen.
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Is it easy to steal the catalytic converter from a Jeep Renegade? 

Luckily, no! The Jeep Renegade’s catalytic converter is tucked up in the engine bay, attached right to the exhaust manifold. That makes it extremely difficult for thieves to reach without opening your Renegade’s hood and removing some rather large components.
Thieves are most likely to target catalytic converters that are located underneath the vehicle further down the exhaust system. These cats are easy to reach and can be sawed off in under a minute with the right tools. Especially vulnerable are pickup trucks with underfloor cats and sizable ground clearance for easy access, like the
Ford F-Series
and the
Chevy Silverado
. Large SUVs like the
Toyota Sequoia
are also at risk. 

Top Jeep Renegade years that catalytic converter thieves target

Every Jeep Renegade is just as likely to have its catalytic converter stolen as the next—which is to say its rather unlikely, thanks to the cat’s location in the engine bay.
Most
Jeeps
have well protected catalytic converters, but the
Jeep Patriot
is the most vulnerable of all the Jeeps because it has two catalytic converters—one up in the engine bay, and one underfloor cat located further down the exhaust set up. In fact, the Jeep Patriot is among the
vehicles most targeted by catalytic converter thieves
.

Why are Jeep Renegade catalytic converters stolen?

Although it is unlikely that your Renegade catalytic converter will be stolen, that doesn’t mean it won’t happen. Catalytic converters are valuable components, and if a thief really wants yours, they might be willing to go to the trouble to get it.
What makes catalytic converters so valuable? They’re packed with high-priced precious metals such as platinum, rhodium, and palladium. These metals convert your engine’s toxic fumes into less toxic outputs like steam.
As of December 2022, the market prices for these three particular precious metals were:
  • Rhodium: $12,250 per ounce
  • Platinum: $1,054.82 per ounce
  • Palladium: $1840.99 per ounce
Catalytic converters contain very small amounts of these metals, so quantity is important to thieves. That’s why they prefer cats that are easily accessible. They can easily crawl under vehicles with 10-inch ground clearances, remove the underfloor cat in less than a minute and move on to the next one, stealing several in one night.
More: How to lower your car insurance premiums

Jeep catalytic converter replacement cost

Catalytic converter replacement is one of the more expensive procedures you can have done to your car. Consumer advocate website RepairPal.com estimates the cost of a catalytic converter replacement for a Jeep Renegade can be upwards of $3,500$4,000
Part of the reason they’re so expensive is because of the labor involved. A mechanic will need to remove your Renegade’s engine to remove and replace your catalytic converter properly. And because the cat is built right into the exhaust manifold, you’re actually replacing two parts—hence the extra dollars.
You might be able to save yourself a little bit of money by doing the work yourself, but it will take a lot of know-how and a lot of specialized tools and equipment. An
OEM Jeep Renegade catalytic converter manifold
will cost you somewhere in the range of $2,891$3,550. You might be able to save even more money by opting for an aftermarket cat/manifold.

How to prevent catalytic converter theft from a Jeep Renegade

Even though the risk of catalytic converter theft is low on the Jeep Renegade, there is still a chance that it could happen. Luckily, you can further increase your chances of keeping your cat by employing a few street-smart anti-theft tactics.

Park in a secure area

Thieves like to operate under cover of darkness when nobody is looking. Parking in a well-lit, high-traffic area will help protect your vehicle from thieves. Better yet, keep your Jeep out of sight of thieves by parking in a garage. If that’s not an option, consider installing motion sensor lights and video surveillance in your driveway.
MORE: How to tell if a parking garage is liable for a stolen or damaged vehicle

Buy a catalytic converter shield

While some people have found it profitable to steal catalytic converters, other more honorable folks have found it profitable to help protect your catalytic converter by inventing anti-theft devices like the
Cat Shield™
and the
Cat Strap™
, among others. These products add a barrier of protection and can often be installed without professional help.
If you have a
Jeep Renegade Trailhawk
, be sure that device you purchase will work with your underbody skidplates.
As an added bonus, installing such a device might qualify you for an
discount on your car insurance
coverage. Contact your car insurance provider to see if they offer anti-theft discounts.

Put your VIN on the catalytic converter

Another way to prevent catalytic converter theft is by tagging your Vehicle Identification Number on your catalytic converter. Once the VIN is on there, it can’t be resold legally, and if it is ever stolen, it can be traced right back to your vehicle when it’s found.
You can have your VIN etched into your cat at your local muffler shop, and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) conducts free catalytic converter tagging events throughout the year across the country.

Invest in comprehensive insurance

Another way to mitigate the effects of catalytic converter theft is by investing in
comprehensive auto insurance
. This type of coverage covers the cost of damage and replacement parts following vandalism and theft, as well as other non-collision events like water and hail damage.
While this insurance coverage won’t prevent any thefts, it will prevent you from paying out of pocket for an expensive catalytic converter replacement.

What to do if your Jeep Renegade’s catalytic converter is stolen

The first thing you should do if your Jeep Renegade’s catalytic converter has been stolen is to alert the authorities. Not only will involving the police lead to possibly finding the culprit, but filing a police report is also a necessary step to filing a claim with your insurance provider.
That brings us to step two: contact your insurance company. If you have comprehensive auto coverage, that should cover some or all of the cost of replacing your missing cat. And that’s good, seeing as replacement catalytic converters for a Jeep Renegade can cost upwards of $4,000.
After that, you will need to schedule a trip to the mechanic to have the missing parts replaced. If you have submitted an insurance claim, you may need to work with your insurance company to find a service shop that you are both amenable to.
If your insurance doesn’t cover the cost of replacing your missing cat, you’ll have to pay for the repairs yourself. You can save money by doing the work on your own, or by finding a mechanic who will use more affordable aftermarket components. 
MORE: How to file a car accident claim report
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Can you drive a Jeep Renegade without a catalytic converter?

The catalytic converter is not a component that your vehicle needs to operate, so you can drive without one. However, if you live in a state that requires you to pass regular vehicle emissions tests, your vehicle will not pass these tests without a cat, so eventually, you’ll need to have a catalytic converter installed to stay street legal.
Even if you don’t have to pass regular emissions tests, cars with missing catalytic converters are loud and jumpy, so you might want to replace it anyway, if only to reduce the noise pollution and improve your car’s performance.
In summation: No, you don’t need a catalytic converter to drive your car, but you won’t pass emissions tests without one. Besides that, the added noise and pollution that comes from driving without a cat isn’t fair to your fellow motorists or Mother Nature.
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