How to Prevent Toyota C-HR Catalytic Converter Theft

Wondering if your Toyota C-HR is a target for catalytic converter theft? Let’s look at what you need to know about C-HR cat theft and what you can do to prevent it.
Written by Jennifer Justice
Reviewed by Claire Beaney
While the Toyota C-HR is not a prime target for catalytic converter thieves, you still want to be cautious since this type of theft is becoming a serious problem. You can protect your SUV by taking precautions, such as being careful where you park, having your catalytic converter etched with your VIN to match your vehicle, or using options like an anti-theft plate.
If you’ve seen the latest news story on catalytic converter theft, know someone it happened to, or were a victim of this type of robbery yourself, you probably want to learn more. While we can’t stand guard over your SUV, we can give you some helpful how-tos on preventing theft in the first place, what you can do if your catalytic converter is taken—and talk about how
car insurance
can help you with your catalytic converter!
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Is it easy to steal the catalytic converter from a Toyota C-HR? 

Not as easy as other models, thanks to the C-HR’s lower ground clearance and the fact that it’s not on the “most wanted” list, but that doesn’t mean you have zero worries. You have one catalytic converter between the engine manifold and the muffler, so it’s about halfway under your vehicle.
SUVs like the
Honda CR-V
, the
Jeep Patriot
, and
Toyota Sequoia
are popular targets because the higher ground clearance makes it easier to get under them. However, thieves can jack up your car if they really want to get to the converter and use a saw to hack the pipes apart. Just because you have less than 8 inches of clearance doesn’t make it impossible. 

Top Toyota C-HR years that catalytic converter thieves target

Since the C-HR is a newer model and has only been around since 2016, any C-HR is a potential target for catalytic converter theft.
If you have a C-HR hybrid model, you’re much more likely to be a target. This is because hybrid models use more of the precious metals that thieves want in the first place, so hybrids are at the top of the list for thefts. This is why the Toyota Prius is #1 for catalytic converter thefts.

Why are Toyota C-HR catalytic converters stolen?

Okay, so what’s the big deal about something that looks like a muffler and is part of the exhaust system? It’s not what it does but what it’s made out of that makes a catalytic converter worth stealing.
Catalytic converters help cut harmful emissions from your exhaust system by using a honeycomb-like filter made of precious metals like platinum, palladium, and rhodium. Since those materials are worth a lot of money and hard to trace to a source, your catalytic converter is a nice option for thieves.
If you’re curious, the December 2022 price of the metals in your C-HR’s catalytic converter is as follows:
  • Platinum: $1,005 per ounce 
  • Palladium: $1,740 per ounce 
  • Rhodium: $12,400 per ounce
Even though there’s only the tiniest amount of the materials in your catalytic converter, the easy access to most catalytic converters makes them a tempting choice for thieves. Since catalytic converters are on the outside of a vehicle, a thief can either roll under a vehicle if it’s tall, like a truck, or use a jack to quickly lift the car up, roll under there, hack off the converter, and take off.
MORE: What Does a Catalytic Converter Do in a Car?

Toyota catalytic converter replacement cost

Beyond the freakout you’ll probably have when you realize you’ve been robbed, the theft will also cost you a lot of money. It can take between $2,000 and $2,200 to replace your Toyota C-HR catalytic converter – the part alone is about
$1,255 if you get it directly from Toyota
. Of course, it will be hard to find an aftermarket option just because of the nature of the part, and it’s a case of having to replace the part regardless of cost.

How to prevent catalytic converter theft from a Toyota C-HR

Other than sleeping in your car year-round, you can take steps to protect your vehicle from thieves. Let’s look at some options.

Park in a secure area

If you’re lucky enough to have a garage, definitely park there. Other options include a well-lit area or motion sensor lights for your driveway. If you can put video surveillance on your C-HR, it’s a great idea. 
You want to make it harder for the thief to sneak under your SUV without being spotted, and the better light will make it easier to get a good recording of the area. 

Buy a catalytic converter shield

You have anti-theft options, like a catalytic converter anti-theft shield, which is one of the most common choices. The shield is usually an aluminum plate or something similar that covers the catalytic converter.
Your local mechanic might be able to help you out, or you can try the
Cat Shield™ from MILLERCAT
or
Cat Security™
. Places like Amazon also sell some options – just check that it will fit your C-HR before you buy something.
Since these shields are meant to be easy to install, you might decide to tackle it as a DIY project and install one of the devices yourself. Check to see what tools you’ll need before you buy an anti-theft shield. If you install a shield, you might get a discount on your insurance, so check with your agent!

Put your VIN on the catalytic converter

Another option is to etch or tag your catalytic converter with your C-HR’s specific VIN to make it much harder to sell, plus it can help the police identify the thief if something happens.
You might be able to find a catalytic converter etching event near you since the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) offers them, or you can check with a local muffler shop about getting your catalytic converter marked.

Invest in comprehensive insurance

While getting insurance won’t keep a thief away, it does protect your pocketbook if something happens. Having
comprehensive insurance
means you get help paying for the replacement cost if your catalytic converter gets stolen. Comprehensive insurance pays for damage not caused by an accident, so things like storm damage or theft are covered.

What to do if your Toyota C-HR’s catalytic converter is stolen

But what if the worst happens, then what? First, contact the authorities if your C-HR’s catalytic converter
gets stolen
. The police might be able to get security footage depending on the location, and if you have your own surveillance system, you’ll want to check that as well.
Regardless of whether they catch the thief, you need to file a police report before you contact your insurance company, which you should do next. If you have that comprehensive coverage,
you can file a claim
and get help with replacement costs. Since you could be spending thousands of dollars, it’s worth checking with your insurance agent.
You’ll work with your insurance to get repairs scheduled and the bills covered if you have comprehensive coverage. You’ll probably have a deductible to cover before insurance picks up the rest of the tab, but it will still be cheaper than paying entirely out of pocket.
Of course, if you don’t get comprehensive coverage, you will have to pay for the whole thing. Check with your local mechanic about possible costs and whether they can use an aftermarket option, which could save you some money.

Can you drive a Toyota C-HR without a catalytic converter?

Let’s say the worst happens—and let’s face it, that really sucks—can you even use your C-HR before you get a replacement? Yes, for a little bit, but it’s not a long-term deal, and it won’t be pleasant either.
You’ll have problems with a lot of noise,
smoke
, and awful acceleration, and your vehicle might overheat—plus you’ll be dumping harmful chemicals into the air! You also won’t be passing emissions testing, so if you need to pass emissions for where you live, you must get your catalytic converter replaced before then. 
So, yes, it’s a temp way to deal with an awful problem, but you don’t want to go very long without getting your catalytic converter replaced. It’s bad for both you and anything that needs to breathe.
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