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How to Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft

Catalytic Converter Theft has been in the news recently, the market price of precious metals such as rhodium, platinum and palladium that are used in catalytic converters has risen sharply recently and looks set to continue. This has resulted in a 64% increase in the theft of catalytic converters during the pandemic.

Cars that are most often targeted are hybrid vehicles, as these vehicles have two power sources, so the catalytic converter is used less frequently. The metals are less likely to corrode meaning the converters are in a better condition, so they are worth more and therefore more attractive to thieves.

On diesel cars, the diesel oxidation catalyst is often integrated with the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF) and there is evidence that these are being stolen for their scrap value too.

Hybrid cars, vans and Sports Utility vehicles (‘SUV’s’) are particularly at risk, as the ride height makes access to the exhaust system beneath them easier. However, thieves can always jack up a car with a small trolley jack and quickly remove catalytic converters from any vehicle, even in the daytime.

The offenders also use high-vis clothing or disguise themselves as motor professionals during the daytime making it easier for catalytic converter theft.

Security Mark It - Catalytic converter theft prevention

Once an unmarked converter has been removed from a vehicle it is very difficult for police to match it back individual vehicle and crime, as there are not any distinguishing marks on catalytic converters. Thousands have been recovered by the police in operations around the country – having a distinguishing mark using an approved marking system could possibly lead to a conviction for this type of crime.

Security marking of catalytic converters with a unique code is possible but it needs to be done with an approved SBD product that is heat resistant as your exhaust is going to get very hot. The marking system is best applied by a garage when the vehicle is being serviced.

SBD Member companies that provide catalytic marking systems to help prevent catalytic converter theft can be found below;

Catalytic Converter Marking System

Anyone who has any information about catalytic converter thefts should contact your local police force. Always report the crime if you are a victim and remember if a crime is in progress dial 999

Parking at Home

When parking at home, consider using your garage rather than leaving it on the drive or in the street. For more advice about garage security click below.


Most modern vehicles which have a catalytic converter fitted also have a factory-fitted alarm system, which can detect and activate if a vehicle is lifted or tilted with a trolley jack. Make sure you have locked and set the alarm when leaving the vehicle. Commercial vans may not have an alarm fitted as standard, so speak to your dealership about the possibility of installing a Thatcham /SBD approved alarm system.


At the front of your property, install an LED security lighting operated by a daylight sensor. Secured by Design encourages, wherever possible, the use of the most environmentally friendly light sources. Try to position lighting so that it is not a nuisance to neighbours or a distraction to road users.


Technology which allows you to monitor your home and property has changed considerably in recent years. The Internet of Things [IOT] now includes Wi-Fi doorbells and camera systems. These can be linked to your phone and tablet to alert you to any activation and view your property in real time.

The installation of closed-circuit television (CCTV) which can be linked to your television or video to view your drive is an alternative. However, in monitoring your driveway, it is very important to remember that you must comply with the requirements of GDPR.

Click below to find out more:

Parking Away from Home

When away from home, consider using a Park Mark approved car park

There are 5,000+ ‘Park Mark’ car parks around the country. The Park Mark® Safer Parking Scheme is part of the Police Crime Prevention Initiatives (PCPI) portfolio and is aimed at reducing both crime and the fear of crime in parking facilities.

Accredited car parks can be found at train stations, hospitals, universities, town centres, shopping centres, leisure centres, airports, supermarkets, banks and office blocks

The smallest has 10 spaces, the largest has 13,000. You can find them in cities, towns, villages and tourist attractions.

As the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) Lead for Vehicle Crime we know Catalytic converter thefts are being committed by organised groups and I am ensuring that we across the UK are committed to tackling catalytic converter theft, and to disrupting the criminal gangs that are largely responsible for these offences.

Police forces/agencies across the country are involved in planning and undertaking intelligence-led operations, at both the regional and national level, to stop converters from being stolen, and to bring perpetrators to justice as we recognise the devastating impact these crimes can have upon the lives of victims

By working with manufacturers, and by sharing information about how criminals steal these converters, we can work with them to design vehicles which are more resistant to catalytic converter theft."

ACC Jenny Sims
National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC)