Catalytic converters (commonly known as ‘cats’) are part of a modern car’s exhaust system.
A catalytic converter is an exhaust emission control system which reduces exhaust gases and pollutants from an internal combustion engine into less-harmful substances (by catalysing a redox reaction) before releasing them into the atmosphere.
In recent years, catalytic converter theft has risen dramatically.
Catalytic converters have a honeycomb-like interior — coated with precious metals like palladium, rhodium and platinum. When precious metal prices go up the demand for parts that contain them goes up too, and the risk of theft of catalytic converters increases. Older hybrids are targeted as they contain more of the precious metal than newer models.
The theft of catalytic converters can take a matter of minutes in broad daylight or at night. As catalytic converters are part of the exhaust system, they are left exposed beneath most cars. Thieves simply cut the catalytic converter from the exhaust pipe of a parked car using high-powered tools and sell them on. Most catalytic converters are unmarked, which means they cannot be easily traced to an individual vehicle.
Hybrid cars, vans and SUV’s are particularly at risk, as the ride height makes access to the exhaust system beneath them easier.
Cars that are most often targeted are hybrid vehicles, as these vehicles have two power sources, so their catalytic converter are not used as frequently. Therefor the metals are less likely to corrode, which preserves the expensive metals inside making them more attractive to thieves.
When the catalytic converter has been removed, your vehicle will make a loud roaring sound that will get louder as you push the gas pedal.
If you see someone acting suspiciously under a vehicle, report it to the Gardai. Obtain as much information as possible, including any vehicle registrations.