What Kia Owners Need To Know About Catalytic Converter Theft

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Kia vehicles can be targeted for their catalytic converters—emissions-filtering devices that contain a mix of precious metals that are valuable on the black market. To protect your Kia, park your vehicle in a secure environment, install an anti-theft device, or personalize your catalytic converter.
With hybrid options, SUVs with high ground clearance, and the sheer amount of models on the road, Kia vehicles can make an appealing target for catalytic converter theft. If you’re a Kia owner, it is important to know how to protect your vehicle from these crafty and cretinous catalytic converter burglars. 
Anti-theft devices and the right
car insurance
coverage will go a long way in protecting your Kia. Read on for everything that Kia owners need to know about catalytic converter theft!

Why are Kia catalytic converters being stolen?

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), catalytic converter theft is increasing across the country. Kias can be targeted for three primary reasons:
  • High ground clearance: Nearly all Kias are SUVs or crossovers whose ground clearance tends to be slightly higher than passenger cars. If your Kia has a higher ground clearance, it will be easier to get underneath it and steal a catalytic converter.
  • Hybrid models: Kia is known for its efficient vehicles, and hybrid powertrains often have catalytic converters with higher concentrations of the precious metals that thieves covet.
  • Popularity: Kia sales are increasing every year, with more than 50,000 sold annually in the U.S., presenting thieves with plenty of targets.
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What is a catalytic converter?

A catalytic converter is a device that filters harmful toxins from your Kia’s exhaust fumes into safer gas before emitting them into the atmosphere. A complex mix of precious metals, such as palladium, rhodium, and platinum, help catalytic converters accomplish this task. In the last few years, the price of these metals has risen sharply, meaning that catalytic converters have high resale value. Some parts fetch as much as $2,000! 
Catalytic converters are often swiped because it's easy to do so. Most are located underneath the vehicle, so the higher the ground clearance, the easier it is for thieves to scoot underneath, pry the catalytic converter loose, and then disappear into the night.

Kia catalytic converter replacement costs

You’ll have to replace your catalytic converter if it gets stolen unless you need to pass emissions testing to keep your car registered. Here are the approximate costs for replacing a catalytic converter on a Kia, as per RepairPal:
Average cost to replace catalytic converter
$2,000 – $2,100
$1,200 – $1,300
$2,400 – $2,500
$1,900 – $2,000
$1,700 – $1,900
$400 – $600
$400 – $600
$1,900 – $2,000
$1,800 – $1,900
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If you opt for an aftermarket catalytic converter over a getting one from your Kia dealership, this might reduce your costs slightly. That said, replacing a catalytic converter will likely cost a fair bit, no matter who ends up doing the work.

How to protect your Kia catalytic converter from theft

No need to resign yourself to your Kia’s catalytic converter getting swiped no matter what. We here at Jerry never subscribe to such soul-sucking fatalism—to wit, here are a few steps you can take to protect your Kia’s catalytic converter:
  • Park in a well-lit and secure area: Parking your Kia in a secure, well-lit parking garage or a locked personal garage are great ways to protect your catalytic converter. Both locations require work to break into, and a parking garage’s increased foot traffic and floodlights make theft a less likely occurrence.
  • Buy a shield, cage, or lock: Cages and cat shields are
    anti-theft devices
    that will make a thief’s job much harder if they’re trying to pry your cat loose. You’ll find a plethora of affordable DIY options on Amazon, or get a muffler shop to professionally install one.
  • Get your cat tagged: No scrap yard worth its salt (and by that we mean a reputable one) will buy a catalytic converter with the vehicle's VIN etched onto it.
  • Get spray painting!: Use high-heat spray paint to tag your catalytic converter—it will likely get thieves to back off, and if not, it will help police track your stolen cat.
  • Invest in a security camera: A security camera watching your driveway or garage can help police identify the culprit who stole your catalytic converter.
  • Buy comprehensive car insurance: While your
    comprehensive car insurance
    policy won’t prevent your catalytic converter from being stolen, you will be able to file a car insurance claim. This will help cover the replacement costs after you pay your deductible.

What to do if you see someone stealing a Kia catalytic converter

Contact the authorities as soon as possible if you see someone stealing a catalytic converter. Whether the part is from your car or someone else's, a police report can help in the retrieval of this valuable car part. It will also help when filing your insurance claim.
MORE: How to file an insurance claim with no police report
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This depends on the type of Kia you drive—on average, replacing a Kia catalytic converter can cost anywhere from $400 to $2,500. As well, it will likely cost less to have this job done at an aftermarket auto shop than at a Kia dealer.
Only comprehensive coverage will cover the replacement costs of a stolen catalytic converter. Check your policy to determine whether you have enough coverage to cover this.
Reviewed by Pat Roache.
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