What Honda Owners Need To Know About Catalytic Converter Theft

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The Honda Accord is the second-most targeted model in the United States for catalytic converter theft—and other models, like the Honda CR-V and Honda Element, aren’t far behind.
With tons of hybrid models, high-riding pickups, and easy-to-target SUVs, Honda vehicles are increasingly popular with
catalytic converter thieves
. If you own a Honda, it’s important to understand why your vehicle could be a target and how to protect it with anti-theft devices and the right
car insurance

Why are Honda catalytic converters being stolen?

According to data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), catalytic converter theft is on the rise nationally in recent years. But Honda vehicles are becoming especially popular targets. Why?
  • Hybrid models: Honda’s all about reliability and efficiency, and they’ve added hybrid powertrains to many of their most popular models. Hybrid catalytic converters have a higher concentration of the precious metals that make them so valuable on the black market. 
  • High ground clearance: It’s easier to cut out the catalytic converter on a big pickup or SUV that you can crawl under. If your Honda has decent ground clearance, it’s also a decent target for catalytic converter theft. 
  • Popularity: With over 95,000 models sold in the US each year, Hondas are everywhere—and so are the thieves who target them. 
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What is a catalytic converter?

And why is it so attractive to thieves?
Your Honda’s catalytic converter is an emissions device that converts harmful pollutants in your exhaust fumes into safer gases. To do that, it passes the exhaust through a fine honeycomb coated with rare metals like palladium, platinum, and rhodium. The price of all these metals has skyrocketed in the last year, which means that stolen catalytic converters have an extremely high resale value—up to $2,000 per part!
The other reason thieves steal catalytic converters is because, well, it’s easy! Because catalytic converters are usually located underneath the car, it’s pretty easy to cut them out of the exhaust system and skedaddle before anyone notices.
If you suddenly hear a lot of exhaust noise from your Honda, it could be your muffler failing—or it could be that someone boosted your catalytic converter while you were in the supermarket.

The Honda models most targeted by catalytic converter thieves

Thieves can take the catalytic converter from just about any Honda, but a few models are more targeted than others. According to a study by CARFAX, the following models are the most common targets for catalytic converter theft:
  • 1989 – 2020 Honda Accord
  • 1997 – 2020 Honda CR-V
  • 2003 – 2011 Honda Element
The Civic might be Honda’s best-selling sedan, but the Accord’s larger engine and more valuable catalytic converter make it the #1 Honda model for catalytic converter theft. In fact, it beats out even the
Toyota Prius
and Toyota Camry for catalytic converter theft.

Honda catalytic converter replacement costs

If you’re unlucky enough to have your catalytic converter stolen, you’ll need to replace it. Here’s the average replacement cost for every popular Honda model: 
Average cost to replace catalytic converter
$2,320 – $2,479
$2,529 – $2,554
$2,097 – $2,379
$2,760 – $2,774
$1,493 – $1,525
$1,737 – $1,768
$2,076 – $2,106
$2,096 – $2,137
$1,878 – $1,989
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Buying an aftermarket replacement instead of an OEM part and bringing your Honda to a trusted repair shop could help lower your costs, but there’s no way around it: replacing a stolen catalytic converter is always expensive. 

How to protect your Honda catalytic converter from theft

Smart theft prevention techniques can help you avoid paying the high price for catalytic converter theft. Here’s what car owners need to know about how to prevent catalytic converter theft for a Honda:
  • Park in a secure or well-lit area. Catalytic converter thieves take advantage of dark parking garages and lonely lots to get under your Honda and cut out the cat.
    A locked garage
    is the best defense against theft, but floodlights and lots of foot traffic are also good deterrents if you need to leave your Honda in a parking lot. 
  • Invest in a shield, lock, or cage.
    Anti-theft devices
    like cat shields and locks make it harder for thieves to access your catalytic converter. You can find affordable options for DIY installation on Amazon, or bring a custom shield to a muffler shop for professional installation. 
  • Etch your VIN on the cat. Reputable scrap yards won’t buy a catalytic converter tagged with a VIN, so if your would-be thief sees the number etched on your cat, they’ll likely move on to the next car. 
  • Break out the spray paint. Spray-painting the catalytic converter with high-heat paint isn’t just a warning signal to thieves: it also helps law enforcement to track the stolen part. 
  • Buy a camera or security system. While something as simple as a motion-activated light can help deter thieves, a camera system could help you recover a stolen catalytic converter. 
  • Purchase comprehensive car insurance. No, having full coverage won’t prevent catalytic converter theft, but you’ll be able to file a claim with your insurance company to help cover replacement costs (minus any deductibles). 

What to do if you see someone stealing a Honda catalytic converter

If you see somebody trying to steal a Honda catalytic converter, contact the authorities immediately. Whether it’s your own vehicle or another driver’s, a police report can raise the chances of recovering the part. It’s also helpful for comprehensive insurance claims.
MORE: How to file an insurance claim with no police report
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The average cost of a Honda catalytic converter replacement is about $2,000 to $2,500.
It depends on what coverage you have. Only comprehensive car insurance will cover catalytic converter theft. It’s not required by law in any state, so check your policy to make sure that you’ve got enough comprehensive coverage to deal with the risk of theft.
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