How to Prevent Kia Sorento Catalytic Converter Theft

Catalytic converter theft is on the rise, and your Kia Sorento is a likely target. Keep reading to learn about cat theft and what you can do to prevent it.
Written by Jessica Gibson
Reviewed by Amy Bobinger
No car is immune from catalytic converter theft, but the Kia Sorento’s high ground clearance makes it a popular target for thieves. To protect your SUV, park in a secure area, personalize your cat, and install an anti-theft device.
If you’re concerned that your car’s catalytic converter might be stolen, or you’ve just had it cut out of your Kia, we’re here to help! Read through our guide to learn why criminals steal catalytic converters, how to deter thieves, and steps to take if yours is unfortunately stolen. Plus, we’ll go over what type of
car insurance
you need to cover catalytic converter replacement.

Is it easy to steal the catalytic converter from a Kia Sorento? 

Yes. Catalytic converter thieves can get under a vehicle—especially an SUV or truck with higher ground clearance—and cut the cat free in 90 seconds or less. They use pipe cutters instead of saws, so they can steal the part without making a loud noise.
Along with Kia Sorento, other Kias with high ground clearance, like the
Kia Seltos
Kia Sportage,
are also targeted.

Top Kia Sorento years that catalytic converter thieves target

Any Kia Sorento is a popular target with catalytic converter thieves. You’ve probably also seen the news that 2011 and newer Kias (along with Hyundais) are being stolen because an anti-theft error makes it easier for thieves to drive off with the cars. This also means that it’s easier for thieves to take the entire car in order to remove the catalytic converter in another location.
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Why are Kia Sorento catalytic converters stolen?

If you were to slice a catalytic converter in half, you’d see a fine honeycomb of precious metals like platinum, palladium, and rhodium. As your car puts out the exhaust, it passes through these metals, so the gas that’s emitted is less harmful. 
Recently, these metals have become a lot more valuable, which is why thieves target catalytic converters. Wonder how much they’re worth? As of December 2022, each of the metals in your Sorento’s catalytic converter is worth: 
  • Platinum: $1,014 per ounce 
  • Palladium: $1,764 per ounce 
  • Rhodium: $12,250 per ounce 
There’s not much of these metals in your catalytic converter—less than one ounce of each—but it’s really easy for thieves to steal them. Since your Sorento has a ground clearance of around seven inches, thieves have no trouble getting under your SUV to cut the cat free.

Kia catalytic converter replacement cost

Although a stolen catalytic converter is only worth a few hundred bucks on the black market, it costs between $2,043 and $2,062 to replace (not including taxes and fees). If you’re driving a hybrid Sorento, your catalytic converter is even more valuable (and costly to replace) since it has more precious metals. 

How to prevent catalytic converter theft from a Kia Sorento

You might feel powerless to stop catalytic converter theft, but you can deter thieves from targeting your SUV. Here are some great anti-theft strategies that can help:

Park in a secure area

Thieves want to get in and get out undetected, so park in a garage or a well-lit area with video surveillance. If you have to park in your driveway, install a motion sensor light. If you’re parking in a garage, back into the parking space so it’s harder for the thief to get to the catalytic converter.
MORE: How to find city parking

Buy a catalytic converter shield

Thieves count on getting in and out quickly, but if you install a catalytic converter anti-theft shield, you’ll slow them down. Potential thieves might even move on if they spot a shield on your cat!
Although some well-known brands make catalytic converter shields, they don’t offer them for Kia makes. Shop around online or ask a mechanic at a muffler shop to install an aluminum plate or cage over your cat.
Whatever you use, ensure that it fits your exact Sorento. Then, reach out to your insurance company to ask if they offer a discount for installing an anti-theft device.
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Put your VIN on the catalytic converter

Make it hard for a thief to sell your stolen catalytic converters on the black market by personalizing yours. Get your Sorento’s VIN etched onto the cat. You can get this done at a local muffler shop or wait for the National Insurance Crime Bureau to host one of their regular catalytic converter etching events.
You can also spray paint the catalytic converter with high-temperature spray paint in a bright color. Again, thieves would have to remove all the paint before trying to sell it, so many would skip over a painted one.

Invest in comprehensive insurance

We know—insurance can’t prevent your catalytic converter from being stolen, but it will protect you financially if it does happen. 
Read through your insurance policy to see if you’ve got
comprehensive insurance
. If not—get it! In order to file a claim for catalytic converter theft, you must have comprehensive coverage. Otherwise, you’ll be on the hook for the full replacement costs, which can be pricey (especially if you’ve got a new or hybrid Sorento).

What to do if your Kia Sorento’s catalytic converter is stolen

It may initially be shocking to find that your catalytic converter has been stolen, but don’t panic. Contact the authorities immediately, so they can try to catch the person who took it and recover the cat. The police might be able to get security footage if your car was under video surveillance.
After you file your police report, contact your insurance company. Give them the details of the theft along with the police report number. Your insurance provider will talk you through the process of filing a claim if you’ve got comprehensive insurance. Even if you have to pay a deductible, you’ll save money since the replacement will cost a few thousand dollars.
Next, schedule repairs with a mechanic. If you’ve got comprehensive coverage, the insurance company will pay for the replacement, but if you don’t, you’ll be responsible for the full cost of the catalytic converter. You might be able to save a little if your mechanic can find aftermarket parts.
MORE: How to choose the right comprehensive insurance deductible

Can you drive a Kia Sorento without a catalytic converter?

Unfortunately, if your catalytic converter is stolen, it’s not a good idea to keep driving your Sorento. It will still operate, but you’ll notice more road noise and rougher acceleration. Plus, you’ll emit more harmful gases into the environment unnecessarily. 
Without a catalytic converter, your Kia Sorento probably won’t pass emissions testing, and if your state requires it, you won’t be able to keep your car registration. The best thing you can do is drive to your mechanic and get a replacement catalytic converter installed as soon as possible.
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