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Catalytic Converter Theft and The Vehicles That Are Targeted Most Often

Ever wonder if your vehicle is among those targeted by catalytic converter thieves? Turns out, some models are a bigger target than others---but possibly not for the reason(s) you think. Here’s a useful listing of which makes and models are targeted with one reveal uncovered that affects the odds of whether you will become a victim.



In previous articles we have kept readers and viewers up to date on the problems associated with catalytic converter theft that includes not just how to protect yourself, but also some of the unusual ways thieves are committing the crime, and occasions when the catalytic converter thief is not someone you would normally expect.

The fact of catalytic converter theft is that this is not a problem that is going to easily go away.

Limited natural resources for the key components of a catalytic converter that include the precious metals platinum, palladium, and rhodium will continue to drive up their value on the black market and thereby further encourage rising theft.

The latest numbers show that as of March 2022 platinum is valued at $1,128 per ounce, palladium at $2,938 per ounce, and rhodium is valued at $20,000 per ounce; and, with the result that recyclers will pay $50 to $250 per catalytic converter which makes theft very attractive to the criminal element. Replacing a stolen catalytic converter can run anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 or more depending on the vehicle model (in general, replacement on Hybrid vehicles is the most costly).

In fact, according to a report by National Insurance Crime Bureau (NCIB), “…the increase in catalytic converter thefts has been dramatic. In 2018, there were 1,298 catalytic converter thefts for which a claim was filed. In 2019, it was 3,389 thefts with a claim. In 2020, catalytic converter theft claims jumped massively to 14,433, a 325% increase in a single year. Though not a reporting of all catalytic converter thefts, it did provide a look at the trends of catalytic converter thefts.”

What Are the Odds Yours Will Be Stolen?

While it’s a no-brainer that we can expect the most popular models of cars and trucks to be prime targets for catalytic converter theft. According to a recent CarFax post, nationwide, 10 popular targets are:

1. 1985-2021 Ford F-Series pickup trucks (F-150, F-250, etc.)
2. 1989-2020 Honda Accord
3. 2007-17 Jeep Patriot
4. 1990-2022 Ford Econoline vans
5. 1999-2021 Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks
6. 2005-21 Chevrolet Equinox
7. 1997-2020 Honda CR-V
8. 1987-2019 Toyota Camry
9. 2011-17 Chrysler 200
10. 2001-21 Toyota Prius

However, it turns out that your odds of theft are also dependent upon where you live. Just like the old adage that the three most important things of real estate are location, location, and location, the same is true with which vehicles are targeted more often than others.

That was the primary message behind the CarFax post alerting readers to the fact that it’s not just what you drive, but where you are driving it that can affect the chances of your catalytic converter being stolen.

By looking at service reports for catalytic converter replacements from more than 60,000 service shops nationwide ranging from 2019 to March of 2022, CarFax analysts were able to compile lists that compasses the order of theft popularity for vehicles within the West, South, Northeast and Midwest regions.


CarFax ranked vehicles by model within each region as follows:

Top Cars Targeted in the West

Rather than being at the bottom of list nationwide, Prius has the dubious honor of making it to the top of the list in California:

1. 2001-21 Toyota Prius
2. 1985-2021 Ford F-Series
3. 1989-2020 Honda Accord
4. 1990-2022 Ford Econoline
5. 1999-2021 Chevrolet Silverado
6. 2007-20 Subaru Outback
7. 2007-17 Jeep Patriot
8. 2003-11 Honda Element
9. 1998-2020 Subaru Forester
10. 1995-2021 Toyota Tacoma

Top Cars Targeted in the Northeast

In the Northeast, Subarus make an appearance in the listing analysis:

1. 1985-2021 Ford F-Series
2. 1987-2019 Toyota Camry
3. 1989-2020 Honda Accord
4. 2007-17 Jeep Patriot
5. 1997-2020 Honda CR-V
6. 1998-2020 Subaru Forester
7. 2007-20 Subaru Outback
8. 1990-2022 Ford Econoline
9. 1999-2021 Chevrolet Silverado
10. 1993-2020 Nissan Altima

Top Cars Targeted in the South

In the South, sedan catalytic converter theft appears more often there than what if does overall according to what the nationwide numbers show:

1. 1985-2021 Ford F-Series
2. 1989-2020 Honda Accord
3. 2007-17 Jeep Patriot
4. 1999-2021 Chevrolet Silverado
5. 1990-2022 Ford Econoline
6. 2007-21 Jeep Compass
7. 1993-2020 Nissan Altima
8. 2008-14 Dodge Avenger
9. 2011-17 Chrysler 200
10. 2011-19 Chevrolet Cruze

Top Cars Targeted in the Midwest

And as can be expected, the Midwest is a combo of the surrounding regions:

1. 1985-2021 Ford F-Series
2. 2007-17 Jeep Patriot
3. 2011-17 Chrysler 200
4. 2005-21 Chevrolet Equinox
5. 2008-14 Dodge Avenger
6. 1990-2022 Ford Econoline
7. 1997-2020 Honda CR-V
8. 1999-2021 Chevrolet Silverado
9. 1987-2019 Toyota Camry
10. 1989-2020 Honda Accord

And finally…

For more information and details about the CarFax post, be sure to check it out on their site as well as some tips on what you can do to lessen the odds that your catalytic converter will be stolen.

COMING UP NEXT: Should You Buy a 2022 Toyota Tundra? Here’s a 2nd Opinion on This Hot Topic

Timothy Boyer is a Torque News automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites for daily new and used vehicle news.

Image Source: Pixabay