2008_toyota_prius_converter_theft
Peter Neilson's picture

Toyota's "Solution" To Catalytic Converter Theft Will Not Stop Theft

Want to know how effective Toyota's answer to catalytic converter theft is? I will explain it to you and why it will not work.
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Catalytic converter theft is more than out of control. If you think COVID-19 has been bad, catalytic converter theft is ruining the lives of good people too.

Converter theft has gotten so bad now that Toyota has decided to do something about it. Their solution, however, is not as great as they think. Here is what they are going to do and why it will not stop theft from happening.

The "Toyota Way": Not Effective In This Scenario
Catalytic converter theft has made massive headlines, with the Toyota Prius being a primary target. The densely packed converters loaded with the precious metal Rhodium are worth loads of money in scrap.

2008_toyota_prius_catalytic_converter

What is worse, the replacement costs are even more, and they are still getting stolen at an alarming rate. So, what can you do to keep thieves at bay?

One company called Cap City Muffler came out with a product that covers the converter protecting it from thieves. The deterrent significantly increased the time required to remove a catalytic converter making it less desirable.

So far, the chatter on places such as PriusChat or some of the more popular Facebook groups people have liked the product.

But this is an aftermarket solution to a problem that starts with the manufacturer. Now Toyota has responded with a resolution of their own, etching the converter with the VIN.

The logic behind this is sound, I will give them that, but it will not deter thieves. VIN etching makes the converter traceable, so it can be returned if it is stolen and recovered.

That is all fine and good if there were not organized crime rings running these operations. When these converters get stolen, they usually end up going to places that cut out the material from within the steel shell.

The places that take them in are paid by the people stealing them, and it becomes a vicious cycle. VIN etching is a worthless attempt at trying to do something good for people. I am sorry, but Toyota could do A LOT better.

Conclusion
If Toyota wanted to do something that makes an actual difference, they should look at the Cat Security™ product line.

The solution does not hinder anything about the factory specs of the car, and it does a great job at deterring thieves.

If you are a Prius owner or a vehicle owner that is nervous about your catalytic converter getting stolen, I will encourage you to forget VIN etching. Criminals do not care about fluorescent paint, VIN etching, or anything like that.
They get paid to steal converters and scrap them.

I hope that no one gets their converter stolen and has to deal with the headache that comes from it. Thank you all for reading, and I look forward to seeing you in the following article.

Take a look at why EV cars are not going to completely take over regular cars just yet.

Check out this wild new battery tech that Tesla has and why it will forever change the auto industry.

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 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. Read more of Peter's stories at Toyota news coverage on Torque News. Search Toyota Prius Torque News for more in depth Prius coverage from our reporters.


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Comments

I have been a victim of a stolen CAT (2008 Prius). I purchased and had professionally installed a CAT Security Product for the 2008 Prius and for my 2021 Prius. My local auto repair shop installed them for $85 per vehicle. So far, the CAT and the anti- theft device are intact and I am sleeping much better at night
How about an engine that does not require a catalytic converter? CVmotiontech.com
Mine was stolen at night while 2006 Prius was in the driveway. I had comprehensive insurance and paid out of pocket only $100. However, the inconvenience of no car was far worse. My insurance covered only 30 days of a rental car (which have been in a shortage for some time.) And it took 2 months to get a new cat shipped in, due to high demand. It's about an hour's-ish labor and a $3,000 bill, but 2 months with no car is the real hassle. I am getting a Cat Shield after looking at many options, and now have cameras.
Ours was stolen too so we put the guard over the cat conv. but it makes a lot more noise in the cabin as it basically reflects the noise back up. Easy solution is to ban recycling them removing the demand or require wire transfers to bank accounts for payments leaving a paper trail.
My city's crime prevention officer says the same. It's not like Operation Identification, where engraving made things toxic to fences. What he said was that within days the catalytic converters are beyond recovery in places that don't care where they came from. He didn't quite say painting and etching were useless but said they were way less important than parking in a garage. So we have riveted shields now.
I got my catalytic converter stolen just last week (2010 Prius). It was right before I was planning to sell the car so I just had to end up selling it for way less than originally planned unfortunately. It’s a real problem especially in California. CAT security seems like the most viable option to prevent theft.