Can you drive a car without a catalytic converter?

I parked my car in a parking garage at an airport for a few days while I was on vacation. When I got back, I realized my catalytic converter had been stolen. Can I still drive my car without the catalytic converter, or will it damage my engine?

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Answer provided by
Megan Lebron
Answered on Apr 28, 2022
There’s almost nothing more frustrating than leaving your car (especially in a place that should be pretty safe) and coming back just to realize something’s been stolen. If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that you can drive your car without the catalytic converter—but it’s not a long-term solution.
Without the catalytic converter, your car’s engine will run noticeably rougher (and louder), and it will also release harmful emissions without the converter to filter them. Your vehicle might even fail an annual inspection if you live in a state that requires certain emissions standards, so it’s best to get your catalytic converter replaced as soon as possible.
If your catalytic converter was stolen, here are the steps you need to follow to get it replaced at the least possible cost to you:
  • Call the authorities. Law enforcement can check the nearby security systems to see who might have tampered with your car, and most insurance agencies require a police report when you file a claim.
  • Contact your insurance agency to report the theft and file a claim.
  • Take your car to a mechanic to discuss repair options.
If you have comprehensive coverage for your vehicle, it should cover the cost to replace your converter. But if your insurance is a little lackluster, let Jerry help you find a better policy and save you money at the same time.
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