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Toyota Prius Catalytic Converter Theft Soars As Palladium Becomes $2000 An Ounce

I have written several articles on catalytic converter theft, and I have a feeling this one will not be my last. Here is what you need to know about the palladium price increase and how it will affect your Toyota Prius.

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If I have said it once, I am sure I have said it a hundred times. Your Toyota Prius catalytic converter is worth a hefty chunk of money. The worst part is when it gets stolen, and you get left with a steep repair bill.

Here is what thieves are looking for in your Prius and how you can also prevent theft from happening.

What Is A Catalytic Converter?
A catalytic converter is a device used on modern cars to help reduce the noxious fumes that come out of the tailpipe. It also helps keep the air cleaner around us as well.

Toyota Prius catalytic converter

Every modern car we have on the road today has at least one, if not more, of these air quality, enhancing devices. They are necessary for any gasoline consuming vehicle, even cleaner-burning cars like the Toyota Prius.

What Does Palladium Have To Do With A Catalytic Converter?
Since the catalytic converter makes up several precious metals, palladium happens to be one of them. Without these metals inside the converter, the required reactions would not occur to change the harmful exhaust gasses. Without palladium, we could not turn carbon dioxide into water vapor. Pretty remarkable if you ask me.

We need palladium because, in our vast world of transportation, we rely on having clean air to breathe.

Why Do Thieves Want My Toyota Prius Catalytic Converter?
Palladium is quickly becoming the top precious metal for several reasons. The prime reason being that supply is not keeping up with demand. Meaning that everything made with palladium is going to go up in price, and probably in a very drastic way.

Cat security™ installed on customer Toyota Prius

Palladium is in all sorts of things other than just catalytic converters. It is in dentistry, jewelry, and our current favorite, electronics. With the demand going up for this particular precious metal, supply is not keeping up. Hence the spike in price. With the need going up, this means components such as catalytic converters can also be cashed in for top dollar these days. Translate that into Toyota Prius that has a very high concentration of palladium in their catalytic converters, and you have a recipe for theft since a Prius converter can easily fetch a prime $850 or more.

The people who are stealing these catalytic converters are not stupid; they know how to be in and out within 3 minutes or less. You could walk into a friend's house and come back a few minutes later and wholly blindsided with a repair cost of your Prius from $2,500 to $5,000.

How Do I Prevent This From Happening?
There are several ways you can keep your Toyota Prius safe from these cat burglars. First, park in a lighted area as much as possible and somewhere that has any theft deterrent like cameras. Second, if you can, park inside a garage where potential thieves cannot even see the Prius. Out of sight means out of mind.

cat security protective shield

If those two options are not available for you, and you fear for the life of your Prius, here is a fantastic third option that will keep you safe and secure. It is called Cat Security™. This shield came about out of necessity to deal with this problem correctly. Developed by a muffler shop in California, the very affordable shield makes stealing your catalytic converter nearly impossible without some serious time.

2010-2015 Toyota Prius Cat Security™ protective shield

Because the cat burglars want to be in and out quickly to avoid getting caught, the shield provides a deterrent as nothing else can. It fits perfectly in place right under the catalytic converter on Toyota Prius generation two and three. The shield also allows smog technicians to do their work too. The cutouts in both styles of guards are strategically placed to allow this to happen. Remember, the shield was designed in California, where emissions laws are ruthless.

I am not one to worry about getting my catalytic converter stolen but, I know the rate is going to increase once more thieves find out about palladium. It is only a matter of time before you become a victim and have to shell out thousands of dollars as well.

Take the better road and protect yourself with my tips or, better yet, get an inexpensive (comparatively speaking) Cat Security™ protective shield on your Toyota Prius Today. If you live in California, several primary Toyota dealers offer same day installation. San Fransisco Toyota has them in stock at all times. You can even visit the inventors' website by clicking this link here.

Feel free to reach out to me with any questions you have regarding your Toyota Prus and the catalytic converter that is on it. Thank you for reading. See you in my next story, Lexus CT200h Is The Ultimate Luxury Version Of The Toyota Prius, Change My Mind

Watch the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Plug-in Hybrid Prime video presentation and click to subscribe to Torque News Youtube channel for daily automotive news analysis.

Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter is also an Instructor of Automotive Technology at Columbia Basin College. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting

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Matt (not verified)    December 19, 2019 - 3:58PM

Catalytic converters do not make water caper from
Carbon dioxide. Or is that a special Prius feature? That would actually reduce global warming !!!

Catalytic converts take carbon monoxide and Unburned hydrocarbons to make co2 and water vapor.

Anonymous (not verified)    December 21, 2019 - 1:02PM

In reply to by Peter Neilson

Would you please correct the article? I couldn't help intuitively noticing the error but seeing that I know very little about cats I still went to check wikipedia etc
If cats could turn carbon dioxide into water it would be a godsend.
Of course carbon dioxide is preferable to CO in terms of natural recycling, but as things are it takes millions of years to do so and it's being pumped into the atmosphere far faster than anything else in earth. I wish there was a catalytic converter for that!

Wilheim Zorg (not verified)    May 1, 2020 - 7:17PM

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

CO is a horrible toxin that kills, CO2 is not just prefereable to it, not even close. CO2 in an inert gas, that has gotten a lot of unnecessary defamation due to global warming. CO, and aerosols and O3 ozone are way more damaging in the atmosphere. A sign of proper combustion is high CO2 this is what you want.

Rick (not verified)    October 23, 2020 - 5:12PM

In reply to by Matt (not verified)

No, water vapor and CO2 is a bi product of perfect combustion and both are greehouse gasses. Dont be alarmed, plant life thrives on this and will absorb more CO2, isnt mother nature great.

Bill Salopek (not verified)    December 19, 2019 - 8:31PM

So does this mean if my 2010 Prius with 225k miles and a blown head gasket is worth next to nothing, that I should take out its catalytic converter and sell it?

Jeff Bach (not verified)    March 11, 2021 - 4:18PM

In reply to by Bill Salopek (not verified)

The Gen 3 converters are not the ones the thieves are after....those cars use an EGR system to reduce Nox emissions hence the blown head gaskets The EGR coolers tend to carbon up and send most of the recirculated exhaust into the front cylinder making it burn cooler than the adjacent cylinder

Bill (not verified)    December 20, 2019 - 10:06AM

I’d be a little worried about heat build-up with the theft shield in place. It looks like there are some cooling slots in the theft shield, but catalytic converters get very hot while operating so I wonder if the vent holes really allow sufficient air flow. It would be smart to talk to Toyota about warranty impact before installing the theft shield if one’s Prius is still under warranty.

CO2 is not converted to H20 by the the catalytic converter, that would require a nuclear reaction.

Ray (not verified)    December 20, 2019 - 11:35AM

Thanks Peter. If all those are true, but why just Prius? Isn't it supposed to be applicable to all internal combustion engine (ICE) based vehicle, which happens to be the majority of the vehicles on the road and in the parking lot?

Demetrius (not verified)    December 21, 2019 - 11:51AM

"Without palladium, we could not turn carbon dioxide into water vapor. Pretty remarkable if you ask me."

Facepalm emoji.
It is remarkable how dumb is this statement is.

You cannot convert carbon dioxide to water even with palladium, you need nuclear reactor for that.

Author's science teachers probably rolling in their graves, because they would have heart attack after reading that.

Mark (not verified)    January 4, 2020 - 1:38AM

One less reason to own that gay car, besides the horrible environmental destruction that the battery’s manufacture has wrought.

star woodward (not verified)    January 14, 2020 - 6:44PM

Hello, are ALL models of Prius vulnerable? A mechanic told me my 2013 was “safe”.
Thanks for the article.

Hybridfanjoe (not verified)    May 3, 2020 - 2:00AM

Hey Peter, I read an article you wrote October 25, 2019 about how to save your Prius from a PO420 Trouble Code. You mentioned how the oil consumption of the 2nd Gen issue will cause a lot of catalytic converters to clog. Will this be an issue if i install this device and then have my catalytic converter fail? i have a 2008 with 120k miles on my original catalytic converter. i'm worried my catalytic converter could fail any moment. when do most people change out their catalytic converters on this car? how often does it fail? what happens if i have to change out my catalytic converter? can i reinstall the shield if i have to take it off? I'm worried if i get this installed and my converter fails will this be an issue? do you have a way to take it on and off?

Kimberly (not verified)    October 23, 2020 - 2:42PM

Hi Peter,

Recently, someone almost stole the catalytic converter of my Prius. I had to go to the automotive shop to get a replacement since there were two cuts on my original cat and fortunately, they weren’t able to remove it.

The replacement cost me around 2k and I told the folks at the shop that I would like to keep the original. I would like to sell it. Do you have any recommendations of where I can go to sell it?

Cecille (not verified)    November 22, 2020 - 1:51AM

It’s too late our catalyctic converter 2008 Prius got stolen n I don’t know if I shuld tepair it to a cost of buying a new Honda Used car
I’m going to miss my Prius
Please advice what to do
Is it true that to replace is around $1800 n together with repair will reach to $4000
Shuld I just buy another used car since my Prius is already 12 years old n im facing for more expensive maintenance
Please advice m

Jane Eldridge (not verified)    February 3, 2021 - 2:31PM

My insurance guy told me that toyota is still making new cars and no cover theft protection provided. Is this true. ? If so, no way I would buy another Prius because if this is true, Toyota clearly doesn't care about protecting their employees

Nancy D (not verified)    March 18, 2021 - 9:50PM

I had one installed on my Prius, i was very happy until my Catalytic Converter Overheated and melted my floor pan area in the center of of the car, above the converter.

Avantika Tamrakar (not verified)    August 4, 2021 - 7:28PM

My Catalytic converter got stolen from my Prius 2014, and the theif also damaged the O2 sensor. The Toyota service center told me they have 2 months backorder. I don't know how to fix a new one. Please help