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Why is Catalytic Converter Theft So Common?

Catalytic converter theft is ballooning, with insurance companies like State Farm reporting a more than 200% increase in claims. (If you need help catching up to speed on this issue, you can also read our guide here on everything you need to know about catalytic converter theft.) So why is catalytic converter theft so common? The local mechanics at Chapel Hill Tire are here with insight. 

1) War in Ukraine

While devastating in so many different ways across the globe, it is worth noting here that the war in Ukraine is also contributing to the rise in catalytic converter theft. Catalytic converters contain precious metals like platinum. According to WorldAtlas, Russia is the second-highest platinum source in the world. Sanctions, war efforts, and other natural market effects from the war have been disrupting the availability of this metal. As such, they have become more valuable—providing additional incentives for theft. 

2) Higher Crime in the Summer Months

It has long been reported by the US Department of Justice that theft rises during the summer months. While the Bureau of Justice Statistics does not provide reasoning, this rise in crime could relate to several factors:

  • Increased Opportunity: People are more active during the summer, providing extra opportunities for crime. For example, what happens when you leave your car behind as you head out on vacation? It could be an easier target for catalytic converter theft. Additionally, the seasonality of some school and work schedules may lead to more free time during the summer months. 
  • Higher Payouts: Markets tend to raise prices during warmer months as people are more active and product demand increases. As mentioned above, higher prices mean more incentive to steal.

3) Car Market Bubble

Supply chain disruptions continue to cause a shortage in the new car market. This has raised the value of used cars. With this, it is natural that the car service industry has also started to inflate. As consumers fix up older cars to wait out the market bubble or make the most of their higher value, car part demand is rising. One common source of trouble for used cars is catalytic converters.

Catalytic converters can fail naturally over time. However, catalytic converter theft is a rampant issue—creating a vicious cycle for drivers:

  • Catalytic converters are stolen.
  • More cars need catalytic converters to replace their stolen ones. 
  • The demand shifts, so the price of catalytic converters rises.
  • As the price rises, theft is further motivated. 

4) Economic Hardships

Financial and economic stress could be contributing to increased catalytic converter theft. Not only does it raise the payouts and incentives for stolen metals, but it can also increase the number of people desperate for income. As such, more individuals may turn to theft. 

5) Increase in Eco-Friendly Vehicles

The automotive industry is in a race toward environmental protection. One way these companies lower emissions is with larger catalytic converters and more precious metals. Naturally, this also raises the payout of catalytic converter theft and further motivates this crime. 

Catalytic Converter Replacement and Protection Near Me

Thankfully for drivers, catalytic converter theft is often covered by insurance. Simply bring your vehicle to the local mechanics at Chapel Hill Tire for a catalytic converter replacement. We can also prevent catalytic converter theft by installing a Cat Security protective device. 

You can access these mechanic services at any of our 9 Triangle-area locations within Raleigh, Apex, Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and Durham. We invite you to make your appointment here online, browse our deals, or give us a call to get started today! 

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