How to prevent catalytic converter theft

Common ways to deter catalytic converter theft include: installing a catalytic converter theft protection device, painting your catalytic converter, parking your car to block access to the part, setting your car's alarm to react to vibration, and engraving your catalytic converter with your car's VIN or other identifier. If you want coverage in case your catalytic converter is stolen, consider adding comprehensive to your policy.

3 min to read

What's the cheapest way to prevent catalytic converter theft?

The cheapest way to prevent catalytic converter theft might be to spray paint your converter with brightly colored car paint that's resistant to high temperatures. Bright paint can help disguise the part and its connections, and it may deter potential thieves by making them think you have other deterrents in place.

A brightly painted catalytic converter may also alert scrap metal buyers or the authorities to a potentially stolen part, leading them to look for a serial number, VIN, or other identifier that can be traced back to you.

What are the best methods of catalytic converter theft protection?

For the best chance of preventing catalytic converter theft, use as many of these methods as possible:

  • Park strategically

    If you can, park in a secure garage with the exhaust pipe side of your car close to a wall. That makes it harder for a thief to reach the catalytic converter. If you have multiple vehicles, park the ones with lower ground clearance outside of the vehicles with higher ground clearance (like SUVs).

  • Paint your converter

    Use bright, high-heat car spray paint to deter someone from stealing your catalytic converter and alert resellers or authorities to a potentially stolen part.

  • Add your VIN or a label system

    Have your converter engraved with your car's VIN so it's easier to trace if it gets stolen and sold. If the converter is also brightly painted, the paint can prompt authorities to look for an engraved VIN or other identifier that leads them back to you.

    You can also purchase a catalytic converter label system to place on the part. These labels typically display a website that authorities or resellers can visit to find a stolen part's registered owner.

  • Set your alarm

    If you have a car alarm, set it to react to vibration. Catalytic converters are typically stolen using a saw, which may set off your alarm.

  • Add a shield or lock

    Some cars can be fitted with metal panels that act as a shield between the catalytic converter and the road, making it much harder to access. There are also catalytic converter locks that make it much harder or even impossible for someone to steal the part. You may need a mechanic to install these devices properly.

  • Weld your converter in place

    Bolted-in catalytic converters can be easier to steal than welded-in ones, so see if a mechanic can weld yours in place. Some catalytic converters are already welded on, depending on the automaker.

What should I do if my catalytic converter is stolen?

If your catalytic converter is stolen (your car will be louder and emit a foul smell), report the theft to authorities, tow your car to a mechanic, and, if you have comprehensive auto insurance, file a claim with your insurer. Catalytic converter theft is typically covered, as long as you added optional comprehensive coverage to your policy.

How to file a catalytic converter theft claim with Progressive


Log into your policy online and easily submit a claim.

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Speak with a claims specialist who can help guide you through the process.

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