As a small business owner, with just a few company vehicles, you need to do everything possible to keep them on the road for as long as possible. Vehicles represent a major expense for a small company. That’s why you need to be aware of the problem of catalytic converter theft.
What Is It?
Many owners will first need to ask what a catalytic converter is. They are a legally necessary part of your car that reduces emissions that can harm the environment.
Thieves love them because they are made with precious metals, including platinum, palladium, or rhodium. It is a simple matter for them to steal the converter from your vehicle and sell it to recyclers at scrap yards.
The recyclers are able to extract the precious metals and resell them for up to $6,000 an ounce. When metal prices rise, the number of catalytic converter thefts goes up dramatically.
Thieves make about $20 to $200 for each unit, which can add up. For you to replace it, it costs upwards of $1,000.
How They Are Stolen
If the converter has been taken, you will realize it as soon as you start the vehicle, when you hear a loud roar. You can drive the car, but it operates badly and needs to be repaired right away.
According to Edmunds.com, it only takes two minutes for a skilled thief to take one off your company car or truck. He simply uses a wrench or reciprocating saw. Sliding under the vehicle, he just needs to take off the bolts and he’s done. Converters are stolen off cars in home driveways, at malls, on the street and in parking garages.
If you have vehicles that sit high off the ground, like a truck or SUV, you are at greater risk because it is so easy for the thief to get under the carriage and unbolt the converter.
How to Avoid Theft
There are several ways you can protect yourself. First off, don’t leave your vehicle unattended in public places for long periods. Park in well lighted locations. Choose parking lots with an attendant on duty.
Look into buying a cage that is installed around the converter to make it next-to-impossible to steal. A mechanic or a do-it-yourself with the right tools can put it on.
And always keep your company protected from theft with adequate commercial auto theft insurance, just in case.