Subaru Crosstrek Catalytic Converter Location

The Subaru Crosstrek’s catalytic converter is located underneath the vehicle, which leaves it exposed to theft.
Written by Drew Waterstreet
Reviewed by Julian de Sevilla
Subaru Crosstrek
’s catalytic converter is located underneath the vehicle, between the engine and muffler as part of the exhaust system.
Unfortunately, this exhaust design leaves your catalytic converter exposed to thieves looking to make a quick buck. Ever wondered why they want it in the first place? Let’s explore that question and much more.
We’ll cover everything you need to know about where the catalytic converter is located on your Subaru Crosstrek, the measures you can take to protect it, and what to do if it does get stolen.

Where is the catalytic converter on a Subaru Crosstrek?

Take a look underneath your Subaru Crosstrek. You’ll notice a cylindrical-shaped component along the exhaust system between the engine and the muffler — that’s your catalytic converter (CAT). Pretty easy to find, right? Well, that’s not necessarily a good thing. 
The exposed design of Crosstrek’s catalytic converter makes the vehicle a target for thieves, who can cut the component out in less than two minutes with the right tools. 

What are the benefits of a catalytic converter on a Subaru Crosstrek?

According to the owner's manual,
“The catalytic converter is installed in the exhaust system. It serves as a catalyst to reduce HC, CO, and NOx in exhaust gases, thus providing cleaner exhaust.”
When the exhaust gas enters the catalytic converter, it is exposed to a mixture of platinum, palladium, and rhodium, which are precious metals that coat the CAT. This interaction causes changes to the gas’ chemical compositions, effectively making them less hazardous. The catalytic converter then passes the less-harmful exhaust gas off to the muffler to release it into the air.
Why do thieves want your catalytic converter? Platinum, palladium, and rhodium are all trading at historically high prices. So, they sell the catalytic converter to scrap metal dealers for an easy payday. The actual thieves will only come away with a couple of hundred bucks, but the scrap metal dealers can recycle the catalytic converters for serious cash. Here’s a look at the going rates for these metals as of December 2022:
  • Rhodium: $13,300 per ounce (0.035 – 0.071 ounces in a CAT)
  • Palladium: $1,900 per ounce (0.071 – 0.247 ounces in a CAT)
  • Platinum: $1,020 per ounce (0.106 – 0.247 ounces in a CAT)
It’s also worth mentioning that the Subaru Crosstrek Hybrid will be an even bigger target, considering their catalytic converters have larger amounts of these precious metals to help them meet the stricter emission standards for hybrid vehicles.
When you look at the big picture, catalytic converters feel like a big step forward for the environment but an equal step backward for humanity.
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How to protect the catalytic converter on your Subaru Crosstrek

Many automakers have redesigned their cars to have the catalytic converter inside the engine bay, making it almost impossible for criminals to access. However, Subaru hasn’t deployed this innovation yet for the Crosstrek, so you’ll have to take matters into your own hands to protect your catalytic converter. Here are some tips:
  • Install an anti-theft device. Aftermarket products like the
    and the
    add a solid layer of defense to your catalytic converter. These devices are so good that criminals usually just move to the next car if they see them—sorry, neighbor!
  • Park your Crosstrek in a garage or a well-lit area. With so many cars to choose from, thieves are less likely to target vehicles in areas where they might get caught.
  • Put your VIN number on the catalytic converter. While this isn’t foolproof, a VIN number can make it more challenging for the perpetrator to sell the stolen catalytic converter to an aftermarket auto parts dealer or scrap metal recycling center.
  • Add
    comprehensive coverage
    to your insurance policy. Comprehensive coverage accounts for theft if all your preventative measures fail. Without it, you won’t be able to file a claim for the steep cost of a catalytic converter replacement. 

What to do if your catalytic converter is stolen

There are few things more frustrating than having your catalytic converter stolen. It’s random and can happen to anyone. So take a deep breath and follow these steps to address the unfortunate situation.
  • Document the theft by taking pictures of where the component should be and the associated damages to your exhaust system
  • File a police report with local law enforcement
  • Submit an insurance claim if you have comprehensive insurance 
  • Consider installing an aftermarket catalytic converter to lower costs and reduce the odds of future thefts

When to replace the catalytic converter on a Subaru Crosstrek

Many factors can influence service life, but your catalytic converter will generally last about 10 years or 100,000 miles. However, wherever you’re at on that timeline, here are some initial warning signs that your CAT could be going bad:
These symptoms can be diagnosed by using an onboard diagnostics (OBD) scanner to check for any faults in the exhaust system — your local auto parts store will usually let you borrow theirs for a quick scan. Or, you can bring your Crosstrek to your trusted Subaru mechanic to identify the source of these signals.
If the solution to the identified problem requires a total replacement of the catalytic converter, expect to pay around $2,000. But this figure can vary significantly based on the model year of your Subaru Crosstrek, labor costs in your local area, and other factors.
But before you fork over the money to the mechanic, make sure to check if you have a valid 3-year/36,000-mile emissions warranty. This would account for any failure of the catalytic converter outside of normal wear and tear.

How to replace a catalytic converter

If thieves can rip your catalytic converter off in only a couple of minutes, it should be pretty easy to replace, right? Wrong.
Catalytic converters are intertwined into your exhaust system and either bolted or welded in place. Thieves simply cut them out, since they don’t care about the rest of the car. But it’s a much more intricate process to replace properly, requiring an assortment of tools like pipe expanders, gasket cleaners, and more.
If you do try to tackle this on your own, start by identifying the part number for your model and try to find an OEM-grade replacement. Aftermarket catalytic converters can be more effective at deterring thieves but make sure not to skimp on quality, this component is an essential contributor to keeping our air clean!
Then, once you’ve gathered your materials and equipment, we advise heading to YouTube and searching for a step-by-step guide to catalytic converter replacement for your specific Subaru Crosstrek model.
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