Usually located on the underside of a car, catalytic converters are used to convert harmful emissions from the engine into less harmful gases. These devices help reduce the amount of harmful pollutants in the exhaust of gasoline-powered vehicles.
Catalytic converters come in various types. The three-way catalytic converter, which has been in vehicles since 1981, is a mixture of reduction and oxidation catalysts. Its purpose is to reduce the pollution caused by nitrogen oxides.
Catalytic converters are made of precious metals, which make them a target for theft. Most thieves prefer vehicles that are raised to make it easier to hide.
A catalytic converter can be stolen in less than a minute. They are easily removed with a battery-powered saw. They do not have unique serial numbers, so it is difficult to track them down. Many thieves illegally transport their stolen units abroad. They can sell them at scrap yards for $700 each.
Catalytic converters are expensive parts of a car. It can cost as much as $2,000 for a Prius owner to replace his unit. However, the cost can skyrocket when you factor in the damage that thieves do to your car when removing the unit.
Catalytic converters are made up of precious metals, including platinum and rhodium. They are expensive because of their limited supply and high demand. They are becoming a target for theft because of their price. They are traded on the black market for more than $1,000, depending on the vehicle.