All About Oklahoma’s Catalytic Converter Laws

All cars 1975 or newer must have a catalytic converter in Oklahoma—and driving without one is illegal, even if yours was stolen.
Written by Kathryn Mae Kurlychek
Reviewed by Melanie Reiff
Driving without a catalytic converter is illegal in
Oklahoma
. While catalytic converter theft is on the rise, there are steps you can take to protect yours. 
You may have heard of Oklahoma’s recent bill to help manage
catalytic converter theft
across the state. But just what is a catalytic converter, and what do you need to know about yours?
Here with all the answers on Oklahoma’s catalytic converter laws in
Jerry
, your personalized
car insurance
broker for life and the only
super app
for car owners. Ready to know more? Read on for an overview of the laws, regulations, and tips for keeping your catalytic converter safe.
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Do I need a catalytic converter in Oklahoma?

Yes. Oklahoma law requires a catalytic converter (or “cat-con”) in your car—in fact, driving without one is illegal.  
In order to pass emissions testing, your catalytic converter must also be accompanied by a proof of ownership card and meet the following standards:
  • It must be present and in working condition
  • It must be properly connected 
  • It must not be missing any parts or disconnected in any manner
You’ll also want to hold onto the sales receipt and any proof of repairs in case you need to present them at the time of inspection.
In addition to Oklahoma’s state regulations, there are guidelines concerning the replacement of new catalytic converters at the federal level, including: 
  • It must be installed in the same location as the original converter
  • It must be the same type as the original converter
  • It must be the correct model for your vehicle
  • It must be correctly installed
Failing to meet these requirements in your state could result in unwanted penalties. 

Penalties for driving without a catalytic converter

So, what exactly are the consequences of driving without a catalytic converter? Given that doing so in the Sooner State is illegal, you could face fines up to $2,500 if you’re caught on the road without one. 
You also won't be able to pass emissions testing when it comes time for your car's inspection, which could result in additional fines. 
Keep in mind that driving without your cat-con is still illegal even if it was stolen from you. Your car will still run normally without one—so to make sure you’re not caught high and dry, check out these tips below on keeping your catalytic converter safe. 

Why are catalytic converters being stolen?

In May of 2022, Oklahoma state lawmakers
passed a bill
making catalytic converter theft a felony charge, in response to rising crime rates across the state. So how did this become such a problem?
Platinum, rhodium, and palladium are the primary metals in catalytic converters. These metals make the oxidation process of carbon monoxide possible and help convert toxic gasses into less harmful byproducts. 
They’re also worth a lot of money—and they can sell for up to $1,500 or more with the right buyer. And because catalytic converters are easy to access under your vehicle, they’re also easy to steal. 

How to keep your catalytic converter safe

Now that you’re familiar with Oklahoma’s catalytic converter laws, here’s what you can do to keep your cat-con safe from theft: 
  • Purchase an anti-theft device. There are tons of anti-theft devices on the market—from simple straps to metal cages—to fit a range of budgets and safety needs. Whether you buy a cheap lock or splurge on an alarm, protecting your catalytic converter can save you from having to front thousands should it get stolen.
  • Pick your parking carefully. Parking on a well-lit, highly trafficked street can help naturally deter thefts from targeting your car’s cat-con. 
  • Etch your license plate or VIN into your catalytic converter. Engraving these key identification codes into your cat-con will make it harder to resell on a black market, as the system will be traceable. If a would-be thief sees your numbers engraved on the converter, they’ll leave it alone. 
MORE: How to pass emissions testing

Is catalytic converter theft covered by insurance?

The good news is, if you have
comprehensive coverage
on your vehicle, you are protected from theft and vandalism, so you’re covered if your catalytic converter is stolen! You may be stuck paying $2,000 out-of-pocket without comprehensive coverage if you find yours missing. 
If you’re looking to upgrade your policy and save money in the process, we’ve got even more good news to share:
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FAQs

Yes. In Oklahoma (as in most states), you’re legally required to have a catalytic converter—and driving without one is a criminal offense. If you’re caught without a catalytic converter—even if yours was stolen—you can be fined up to $2,500.
Yes. Catalytic converter theft is a rising problem across the country, as these parts contain valuable metals resellable for hundreds (or even thousands) of dollars. In Oklahoma, it’s a felony offense to steal a catalytic converter.
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