I’m going to tell you what no one wants to hear about protecting your catalytic converter from theft.
Where you park your car won’t make a difference.
Where you live doesn’t matter.
Depending on your car alarm to stop catalytic converter theft? It won’t
Drive an old beater you think no one wants? The thieves don’t care.
Even if your car isn’t on the “most stolen catalytic converter” list, it can happen to you.
But what’s the best form of catalytic converter protection? Well, it depends.
Much like the rest of life, catalytic converter thieves come in all levels of skill and preparation.
If you add the right opportunity, there’s not much you can do to protect your car’s catalytic converter from being stolen.
But there are three main strategies to significantly reduce your risk.
Strategy 1: Park in a safe, well lit place with lots of traffic
This is a good idea in general. Not only to protect your catalytic converter, but to stop other crimes of opportunity.
However, thieves are getting more bold. With the right combination of thief and vehicle, a catalytic converter can be stolen in less than a minute. And it seems that bystanders either don’t notice whats happening or won’t get involved. We’ve all seen the videos.
However, I’d bet most thieves would rather work in the dark and away from a high-risk situation.
So yes, go for the safe, well lit area over the dark quiet alley.
If you park your car in your driveway, install some motion sensor lights (they’re cheap nowadays) and a car alarm with a tilt-sensor and vibration detection.
This stuff is much cheaper than than the cost of a catalytic converter.
Unfortunately, a camera won’t do much for stopping theft, but it may help the police after the fact. At the very least you’ll have a video to put on YouTube of someone stealing your catalytic converter.
The best bet: if you have a garage, clean out all of that old sports equipment and park your car in there instead!
Strategy 2: Install a catalytic converter anti theft device
Thanks (or no thanks) to the increase in catalytic converter thefts there are several different devices on the market that can add a layer of physical protection to your catalytic converter.
If your car is parked in a crowded place, most thieves won’t run the risk of spending the extra time to defeat one of these devices and move on to an easier target. Depending on what vehicle you drive, you may have some choices.
The Cat Clamp is a unique device that uses a combination of clamps and cables to create a type of catalytic converter cage.
This cage acts like lock around your catalytic converter, providing a substantial visual deterrent and physically making it very difficult for the casual thief to steal your cat converter.
I installed one on my old Honda after i replaced my stolen cat converter, and I sleep much better at night. You can read my catclamp review here
The CatClamp is a universal fit, and people have been able to use them on anything from Honda Civics, Toyota Tacomas, Ford Excursions and fleet vehicles like Ford F150s and Chevy Express vans.
The downside it that installation can be difficult and some people complain of rattling after installation.
Miller CatShield or CCM Cat Security Catalytic Converter Shield
If you drive one of the high target vehicles like the Toyota Prius or Honda Element, you can buy one of several catalytic converter shields to protect that Toyota Prius catalytic converter.
A cat shield is a plate of metal that attaches to the bottom of your car and guards your catalytic converter. It’s a little like a skid plate you’d find on an off-road truck.
The two big players in this market are Miller Cat Shield and CCM Cat Security. Both are easily available- You can buy the Miller Cat Shield directly from the manufacturer, and the CCM CatSecurity on Amazon. There are a few subtle differences, but they’re pretty similar in design.
I like the Miller Shield a little better because of the fastening system AND they make a Stainless Steel version. Stainless is just a little more expensive, but has a higher cut resistance than aluminum models.
Both companies focus mostly on making Toyota Prius catalytic converter shields and Honda Element catalytic converter shields.
This device is a little different than the others. The Cat Strap is the least expensive of the bunch, It’s basically a series of cables in a sleeve that you glue onto your catalytic converter and exhaust pipe. Like the CatClamp above, the cables make cutting off your catalytic converter more difficult.
The downside it doesn’t look like a substantial physical deterrent like the other options, besides a sticker they provide for a thief maybe read in the dark once he/she is under your car.
You can also pair this with the CatEye Electronic Alarm. The Cateye is a motion sensor alarm just for your catalytic Converter.
The Catlock is another clamp and cable device catalytic converter lock, although not as substantial as the CatClamp. They were available on Amazon, but it seems that they’re not available there anymore. I can’t find the Cat Lock for sale any place else.
DIY Catalytic Converter Lock
It seems that there are some resourceful people out there coming up with their own DIY solutions. Most of them involve rebar in one way or another.
Some weld a piece or two lengthwise (like the Catstrap above) to provide more cut resistance. Others go all out and make their own rebar catalytic converter cages.
If you’re handy with those kinds of things, go for it.
Strategy 3: Get Rid of your Catalytic Converter
The only real way to prevent your catalytic converter from getting stolen is not to have one! That means buying an electric car. Seriously though, If you’re not ready for an electric car- try the two things above to keep your catalytic converter where it belongs.