"It's an epidemic," Joe's Expert Auto owner Joe Betancourt told Fox Business' Grady Trimble this week. "We will finish fixing three vehicles, and five will show up. It's just scary right now."
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, more than 52,000 catalytic converters were stolen in 2021, soaring 1,215 percent from 2019. The catalytic converter's primary function is to convert environmentally harmful gasses from the engine to less harmful gasses.
Lower-emission cars like the Subaru Forester are primarily targeted due to higher concentrations of valuable metals inside the vehicle's converter. Rhodium is one of three precious metals in the catalytic converter, and "it's almost at $14,000 an ounce," Betancourt said. "There is usually anywhere from 3 to 7 grams' load in these vehicles, so do the math." Thieves can make $1,470 to $3,430 per converter, which is easy money since removing only takes minutes.
If your Forester's catalytic converter is stolen, it will cost you time and money. The NICB says, "Removing a catalytic converter takes only minutes using some basic, readily available battery-operated tools from a local hardware store. For the vehicle owner, it's costly due to the loss of work, finding and paying for alternate transportation, and then paying anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 to get your car fixed."
What can Forester owners do?
The Chicago Police Department reportedly proposed car owners paint their catalytic converters a bright color to more easily identify and retrieve the stolen part.
Fox News reported that Betancourt is a "big advocate" of installing catalytic converter shields that use safety screws to slow down crooks' theft time. "It mainly slows them down," the auto expert pointed out. "They've got three minutes to do a car; they don't want to spend 15 to 20 minutes."
The NICB recommends if your Subaru Forester must be parked outside, consider installing motion sensor security lights. "While lights may not provide complete security, they may make some thieves think twice and opt to leave the area and your car untouched. Whether in the garage or the driveway, set the alarm on your vehicle if equipped."
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Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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