(WYTV) — It takes only minutes for a thief to slip beneath your car and saw off your catalytic converter.
If someone slid under the Honda and sawed off the device, your comprehensive insurance coverage should take care of it.
The National Insurance Crime Bureau says these thefts have increased tenfold in the last three years. More than 14,000 disappeared from beneath cars and trucks last year.
The catalytic converter takes your car’s exhaust gases and turns them into harmless gasses. But to do this it needs some expensive metals, including platinum, rhodium and palladium.
The price of rhodium today is around $28,000 an ounce, and the pandemic cut into production of these metals overseas.
The average thief couldn’t extract the rhodium from a converter, but a dishonest junkyard comfortable with the black market will pay $700 for a converter.
The Toyota Prius is the most targeted car for catalytic converter theft — their models contain large amounts of those valuable metals.
Trucks and SUVs are also common targets because they are raised off the ground, making it easy to get to the converter and saw it away.
For a few hundred dollars, you can buy a special cage a mechanic will install around your converter, making it impossible to reach. Or, a couple of reinforced iron bars or rebar welded around the converter could keep it tight.
Republican State Representative Bob Young from District 36 in Summit County introduced House Bill 408 last week. The bill would ban the sale of catalytic converters without proof of ownership.