Gone in 90 Seconds, Sold For $300: Michigan Thieves Cashing In
It does sound like a cheesy sales pitch...but: Would you be willing to spend 50 bucks to save yourself up to $3,000 and the hassle of finding a ride everywhere for a few weeks? While the chances of needing it are less than 1% in Michigan, instances of this type of theft rose 58% in 2022, a decline from 2021's whopping 442.5% year-to-year growth from 2020.
Michigan Needs to Guard Against Catalytic Converter Theft
Your car's catalytic converter may not look like much, but a lot is happening there. MySynchrony.com explains just what it is that it's doing:
Essentially, a catalytic converter filters out harmful byproducts in the exhaust gases and burns them up. And while the main function of a catalytic converter is to reduce harmful emissions, it also improves your car’s efficiency.
So a catalytic convertor has an essential job, but why are they worth so much? There isn't a demand for that specific second-hand part. It's what's inside that makes them worth as much as $300 on the street and even more to the person they are selling it to. These thieves have become so well-versed at sawing them off, they can be under your car and out with your part in less than 90 seconds.
Thinking about driving without one? Unfortunately, that would cost you too. Fuel economy, emissions, and a ticket, since driving without one on your vehicle in Michigan is illegal.
Catalytic converters are filled with rare and precious metals, like platinum, palladium, and rhodium. These non-impressive-looking items are then eventually sold off to refineries that can extract the metal.
The Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services recommends taking the following steps to safeguard your vehicle:
- Install a catalytic converter anti-theft device. These are available from various manufacturers and can provide a level of security from theft.
- Park vehicles in a garage if possible.
- If vehicles must be parked in a driveway, consider installing motion sensor security lights. While lights may not provide complete security, it may make some thieves think twice, making them leave the area and your vehicle untouched.
- Call local law enforcement and your insurer should you become the victim of a catalytic converter theft.
If you take these steps, maybe spend a few extra bucks, and you could save yourself the headache and $3,000 it will take to replace your catalytic converter.