What is a Catalytic Converter and Why are they Being Stolen?

What is a Catalytic Converter?

  • A catalytic converter is an emissions control device that is a part of the exhaust system on vehicles powered by an internal combustion engine. Catalytic converters reduce toxic pollutants by chemically converting carbon monoxide, unburned hydrocarbons, and oxides of nitrogen into harmless compounds.

Why are Catalytic Converters being stolen?

  • Catalytic converters are targeted for theft because of the precious metals they contain, such as platinum, palladium, and/or rhodium which can yield fast cash to a thief. Because the value of precious metals increasing, the theft of catalytic converters has skyrocketed in many Colorado communities.
  • Although the theft of a catalytic converter may be lucrative to thieves, vehicle owners can experience up to and in excess of $2,000 in replacement costs.
  • One of the factors complicating this crime is most catalytic converters are not marked or identified. This creates difficulties for law enforcement in identifying these componets as stolen.

How Can I Protect Against Loss of My Catalytic Converter?

  1. Reduce opportunity for total car theft and component theft by locking your car and taking your keys. Every time. If your vehicle is stolen, it may be recovered but your catalytic converter could be removed in the meantime.
  2. When not in use, park your car in a secure area, such as a residential garage or secure lot.
  3. If you can not park your car in a garage, secure your vehicle. Lock your car. Take your keys.  Remove or hide valuables from the vehicle to not add “incentive” to the burglary, component theft, or total vehicle theft.
  4. Contact your insurance company representative to see if your policy covers catalytic converter theft, and if not, what options you may have to add this coverage.
  5. Contact CATPA for a free CATETch label and additional information  regarding other steps you may be able to take to help secure your vehicle and your vehicle’s catalytic converter. Please send an email to cdps_catpa@state.co.us for further information.
  6. Additional information regarding Catalytic Converter label pick up and installation events can be found on our Events page

Remember, Auto Theft is a Traffic Safety concern and Auto Theft endangers Public Safety. Help us make Colorado safer for us all, Lock Your Car and Take your Keys. Everytime.

Photo of a catalytic converter with hardening device

Visit our events tab to view opportunities for the pick up or installation of CatETCH labels.  

Automotive Repair Shops Across Colorado that are installing CatETCH catalytic converter theft prevention labels are included below: