How to Prevent Mini Countryman Catalytic Converter Theft

The good news for Mini Cooper Countryman owners? The catalytic converter in this model is difficult to steal. Let’s take a look at why.
Written by Meaghan Branham
Reviewed by Amy Bobinger
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It should come as a relief to hear that, compared to some makes and models, it’s a bit easier to prevent catalytic converter theft in the Mini Cooper Countryman. Still, there are a few steps you can take to lower your risk even further. 
Catalytic converter theft has seen a major rise in the past couple of years, especially among trucks and SUVs like the Mini Cooper Countryman. Luckily the placement of the Countryman’s catalytic converter makes it more difficult to steal, but owners are still taking all the precautions they can to avoid an expensive replacement. 
Let’s take a look at how high the risk is of catalytic converter theft with the Countryman, what you can do to lower it even further, and what type of
car insurance
will pay for your
car repair
if you are the victim of theft. 
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Is it easy to steal the catalytic converter from a Mini Cooper Countryman? 

Good news: Compared to other SUVs commonly targeted, it’s relatively difficult to steal a catalytic converter from a Mini Cooper Countryman. In these models, the converter is located on the engine, towards the back. It isn’t accessible from underneath the vehicle—which is what most thieves look for when looking for cars to target. 
In order to get to it, you would need to reach behind the engine. That means you would need to go under the hood, plus remove the intake pipe and the windshield wipers. Anyone looking for a catalytic converter to steal is far more likely to look for a model with one located under the car, so that all they have to do is slide underneath and cut the part out. 

What SUVs do catalytic converter thieves target

SUVs are commonly targeted in general because their high ground clearance offers easier access to the catalytic converter. However, there are some that are at a higher risk than others. 
The
Honda CR-V
and the
Chevrolet Equinox
, for instance, both rank in the list of cars most commonly targeted by catalytic converter thieves. Drivers of these SUVs should take extra precautions to protect themselves when possible. 

Why are Mini Cooper Countryman catalytic converters stolen?

If someone does manage to get to your Mini Cooper Countryman’s catalytic converter—an exhausting feat—what would they be getting, exactly? The same thing that is so sought after in every catalytic converter: the precious metals that help it do its job. 
Let us explain: Catalytic converters are a vital part of every car’s exhaust system. Their job is to filter harmful emissions out of the exhaust by passing them through a mesh honeycomb structure located inside the part. This structure is made up of a mix of precious metals, like rhodium, platinum, and palladium. These metals serve as a catalyst for the reaction that converts the emissions—but they also make this part extremely valuable.
Here’s a quick look at what each of these metals were worth, per ounce, as of March 2022: 
  • Platinum: $1,128 
  • Palladium: $2,938 
  • Rhodium: $20,000 
There isn’t a full ounce of any of these metals in your catalytic converter, but it is enough to inspire some people to try their luck reselling them on the black market. It becomes an even more enticing thought to thieves when you consider how easy it can be to get their hands on one: with enough ground clearance under the car and a reciprocating saw, all they have to do is slide under and cut the part out. 

Mini Cooper Countryman catalytic converter replacement cost

The cost to replace your catalytic converter will depend on the make and model of your car. For a Mini Cooper Countryman, the cost is typically between $2,073 and $2,182. A large portion of this cost is due to the expense of the part itself. You’ll also have to include the cost of labor, as replacing this part can be complex and time consuming. 

How to prevent catalytic converter theft from a Mini Countryman

Even though your Mini Cooper Countryman isn’t at a very high risk of catalytic converter theft, there are still some steps you can take to lower it even further.

Park in a secure area

The more visibility an area has, the less likely it is that anyone will think they can steal your catalytic converter unnoticed. When parking in public, look for well-lit lots and garages. If you park at home, consider adding motion sensor lights to your driveway. 
If you can’t find great lighting, try to choose spots in crowded and busy areas. And of course, garages with security or security cameras are a plus. 
MORE: How to find a parking spot in a city

Buy an anti-theft device

While you’re likely not to need this precaution if your catalytic converter can only be accessed by popping the hood—as is the case with the Mini Cooper Countryman—an anti-theft device is a good investment if you have any other cars that have their cats located on their underside. 
There are a few popular anti-theft devices available for drivers these days. An anti-theft shield is a sheet of metal designed to fit over the catalytic converter. This creates a much larger barrier to cut through, which can dissuade thieves. 
There is also the
Catstrap™
, a steel cable complete with a set of wire ropes that go around the part. These ropes make it difficult for the teeth of a reciprocating saw to get a grip on the Catstrap™.  
The
CatClamp®
is another effective device designed to protect catalytic converters. It looks much like a cage made of wire ropes, which form a barrier around the cat that’s very difficult to cut through.  
Devices like these are relatively affordable additions for your car, and they can offer a peace of mind that is more than worth it. Another perk? These might even make you eligible for a discount on your comprehensive car insurance when it comes time to renew your policy. 

Put your VIN on the catalytic converter

A catalytic converter that is painted or etched with your vehicle’s VIN is much more difficult to resell on the black market, and much easier to trace. 
To have this done, either visit your local muffler shop or take your car to one of The National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB)’s regular catalytic converter etching events. 
MORE: How to check car recalls by VIN number

Invest in comprehensive insurance

This precaution won’t necessarily lower your risk of being targeted for catalytic converter theft, but it may make all the difference in the event that yours is stolen. 
Comprehensive insurance is the only type of coverage that can offer help for catalytic converter theft: if it happens to you and you have this coverage, you can file a claim to cover the cost of the replacement.

What to do if your Mini Cooper Countrymans catalytic converter is stolen

If your Mini Cooper Countryman is suddenly missing its catalytic converter, don’t panic. First, contact the police. They’ll file a report, and they may even be able to catch whoever took it with the help of security footage and witness statements. 
Then, contact your insurance company. If you have comprehensive insurance, you can file a claim with your provider to cover the cost of the replacement catalytic converter. You will likely have to pay a deductible, but the cost won’t be nearly as steep as that of a full replacement out-of-pocket. 
The last step is to take your Countryman into your mechanic to have your new catalytic converter replaced. If you do have to pay for the part and process yourself, make sure to use aftermarket parts to help reduce the cost. 

Can you drive a Mini Cooper Countryman without a catalytic converter?

Technically, yes, you can drive your Mini Cooper Countryman without your catalytic converter. But, really, you shouldn’t.
Driving without your cat can lead to excess noise, engine trouble, and even engine damage in the long term. Plus, you’ll be emitting some seriously harmful gasses everytime you hit the road, which takes its toll on the planet.
To keep your car safe and your conscience cleared, it’s really best to get yours replaced as soon as possible.  
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