California’s New Legislation to Prevent Catalytic Converter Theft: What You Need to Know   

Governor Gavin Newsom just signed a new piece of legislation to help prevent catalytic converter theft in California. This is intended to help deter criminals, as catalytic converter theft has been rising sharply in recent years. Why? Catalytic converters contain numerous rare earth metals, such as platinum, palladium, or rhodium, and thieves can sell them for a high price.

Priced by the ounce, platinum went from an average of about $530 per ounce in 2001 to about $1,100 in 2021. Likewise, palladium went from an average price of $600 per ounce in 2001 to a high of nearly $2,400 in 2021.

Rhodium jumped to an average of about $18,000 in 2021, with a high that year of nearly $26,000. By contrast, gold went from about $300 per ounce in 2001 to roughly $1,800 in 2021, a sixfold increase.

Thieves looking for some easy money will be happy to spend the two minutes it takes to cut off your converter and sell it to unscrupulous junk yards.

So, what does this new legislation entail? And more importantly, what can you do to protect your catalytic converter from thieves? Keep reading for all the details.

Converter Legislation Isn’t an Anti-Theft Device

The first thing to know about the new legislation is that it will now “require recyclers to keep specific records on the parts they buy and sell and require used catalytic converters to be sold only by authorized parties,” as reported by the League of California Cities. This will be a valuable resource for law enforcement, as they will now have more details at their disposal to assist in lowering the number of thefts and selling transactions committed.

The legislation also requires scrap yards and salvage yards to verify the ownership of any catalytic converters they purchase. This will make it more difficult for thieves to sell stolen catalytic converters on the black market, hopefully keeping thefts down. This is great news to car owners who have to shell out $1,000 – $3,000 per new converter if stolen.

You can also do a few things to protect your catalytic converter from thieves.

1. Park in a Well-Lit Area

One is to park in a well-lit and visible area whenever possible. Thieves are less likely to target a car that is in plain sight.

2. Install a Catalytic Converter Anti-Theft Device

It would help if you also considered installing a security device on your catalytic converter.

There are a variety of these devices available, and they can be an effective deterrent against theft. For example, devices like the CatClamp and Converter Protective Shield are effective.

3. Make it distinctive

In addition, insurance companies like Allstate say that adding bright paint can create a visible barrier to alert thieves to move on.

This paint also signals law enforcement and recyclers to look deeper for serial numbers or identification marks. By clearly marking your catalytic converter, you will deter theft from happening in the first place.

4. Know when your car is being tampered with

While thieves do remove catalytic converters anywhere the vehicle is parked, in a high traffic area it is also common for them to move your vehicle to a different, quieter location. This also makes it easier to strip your vehicle of even more parts. Installing a GPS car location device that allows you to set a boundary or movement alert that notifies you when your vehicle has left a designated area can help protect you from this theft strategy and ensure you always know where your vehicle is located.

Catalytic converter theft is a severe problem, but as more states adopt similar laws and take some simple precautions, we can help make our areas safer.

Protect Your Car with Elo GPS

It’s always possible thieves will take more than your converter. They’ll just take your whole car. Beyond just locating your vehicle and setting boundary and movement alerts, Elo GPS’ Nationwide 24/7 Vehicle Recovery Hotline helps you recover your car faster.

The Elo GPS average recovery time is under four hours. Our dedicated team of trained recovery specialists enables you to navigate the reporting and recovery process. Helping you get your car back as quickly as possible before it is damaged or stripped for parts.

Connect with our team to find a dealership near you to learn more about car theft prevention and recovery with Elo GPS.