Gephardt reveals top ten vehicles hit by catalytic converter thieves in Utah

Apr 11, 2023, 10:31 PM | Updated: 10:46 pm

“You can’t see under there,” Karrie Smith told KSL back in October. She had no idea thieves had hit her Toyota until she tried to start it the next morning. “It’s so loud, it’s so loud,” she said of the incredibly loud noises her car was making without the catalytic converter.

Hers was one of the 153,000 catalytic converters stolen in the U.S. last year, according to a new report by Carfax that it shared with the KSL Investigators.

“We definitely have seen that thieves are very brazen,” said Patrick Olsen, an executive editor at Carfax.

Olsen says the crime is under-reported because numbers are largely based on insurance claims. Numbers from the National Insurance Crime Bureau showed roughly 42,000 catalytic converters were stolen last year. Many victims do not file claims because they are not carrying full coverage on older cars.

“Owners of cars who have only liability insurance very often, this kind of theft isn’t covered,” Olsen said. Instead, Carfax looked at millions of service records.

“We also considered catalytic converters that might have been replaced because they were too old or had been recalled. When you toss those out and you’re left with 150,000. That is a ton of theft.”

The deep dive has also allowed Carfax to share with us the most targeted cars in Utah. The Toyota Camry takes the third spot, while the Honda Accord is second, and the Ford F-series of pickup trucks tops the list.

“That’s easy to slide under, they get it, and they go,” Olsen explained.

The Toyota Prius ranked seventh among Utah’s most targeted cars. Hybrids like the Prius typically use more precious metals in their catalytic converters, making them especially lucrative for thieves.

To be clear, no car is safe from catalytic converter thieves. They even took a bite out of the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile when it was in Vegas for the Super Bowl.

There are ways you can deter thieves.

“Park in a well-lit area, park in a place where there’s a lot of people around,” Olsen said.

When we tested three anti-theft products – a $30 motion sensor alarm, a $130 strap that attaches to the catalytic converter and exhaust, and a $210 stainless steel cable that cages it to your car’s frame – we found any of the three would be better than nothing.

Catalytic Converter Theft: 10 Most Targeted Vehicles in Utah (Source: Carfax)

  1. Ford F-Series Truck
  2. Honda Accord
  3. Toyota Camry
  4. Ford Econoline
  5. Chevrolet Silverado
  6. Chevrolet Equinox
  7. Toyota Prius
  8. Chevrolet Cruze
  9. Subaru Outback
  10. Ford Explorer

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Gephardt reveals top ten vehicles hit by catalytic converter thieves in Utah