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Stolen catalytic convertor
Old 08-01-2020, 01:02 PM   #1
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Stolen catalytic convertor

Last night our Daughter's house-mate had the catalytic convertor stolen from her car. DD sent me a couple of photos and it looks like they cleanly cut it off, so the muffler and other parts of the exhaust system are intact.

Cars are not my strong suit so I'm hoping for some good advice.

The car is a 2008 Toyota Prius. It's in generally good condition and she isn't in a position to buy a new car.

I see "universal fit" convertors in the price range of $100 to $150, or an OEM in the $400 to $500 range, plus labor of course. Any reason to spend the money on the OEM part?

Would a chain like Midas or Meineke be the best place to go, or an independant garage or independant exhaust specialist?

She is looking into an insurance claim, but if the repair isn't much more than the deductible that doesn't seem prudent unless the claim wouldn't affect her insurance cost going forward.

Thanks for any help!

Brian
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Old 08-01-2020, 01:08 PM   #2
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Looks like about $250 at Rock Auto. LINK
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Old 08-01-2020, 01:37 PM   #3
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She is looking into an insurance claim, but if the repair isn't much more than the deductible that doesn't seem prudent unless the claim wouldn't affect her insurance cost going forward.
Comprehensive claims usually don't have the same impact on insurance rates as collisions.

Issue with the inexpensive solution is that the flanges from the front and rear were also damaged by the converter being cut off. An independent shop may be willing to weld in sections to replace the damaged pipes.

Insurance is likely to replace more of the system.
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Old 08-01-2020, 01:39 PM   #4
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It seems to be the latest thing. In my area they caught 3 guys with a jack and battery powered cutoff saw
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Old 08-01-2020, 02:12 PM   #5
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It seems to be the latest thing. In my area they caught 3 guys with a jack and battery powered cutoff saw
Yeah, it's a thing. Happened to my sister's car in the Bay Area while it was parked in her driveway overnight, and then shortly afterward I saw this news from Sacramento. https://www.thedrive.com/news/35058/...ia-garage-bust These guys were caught with 2000 catalytic converters and $300K in cash! That's a pretty big operation.

My sister's car is a 2007 Prius and the insurance company is paying for the repair and some kind of cage thing (she wasn't entirely clear when describing it) that will supposedly prevent future thefts. There was a question about whether they'd just total the car though since the battery is near the end-of-life, but apparently it's in good enough condition that they decided to go ahead and fix it. That would be something to ask about if you do file a claim on a 2008 Prius.
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Old 08-01-2020, 02:31 PM   #6
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This happens to Honda's and Prius(PL).

I bet they will be back soon to hit the same car again. That's how it is in LA.
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Old 08-01-2020, 02:43 PM   #7
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This happens to Honda's and Prius(PL).

I bet they will be back soon to hit the same car again. That's how it is in LA.
Is there a reason they target those cars? I would think the big engines would have big catalytic converters, and would be worth more on the scrap market.

I had the pipe to the catalytic converter rust out right at the converter, and had to be replaced. My DD was borrowing my car at the time and was away at college, and I walked her through dealing with the repair guy. She said he seemed surprised that I wanted the old converter.

I finally got around to taking it to the scrap dealer, didn't get much for it, $20 maybe (from a 2L engine)? But I was kinda wondering if they were going to be suspicious, I did bring the repair receipt with me, but it was ~ 3 years old by then. Nah, he said if I was coming in every week with 2 or 3 of them, that's be different. Hah, I'm sure these guys can find enough people to do 1 at a time w/o looking suspicious.

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Old 08-01-2020, 02:50 PM   #8
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The cheaper aftermarket converter is fine for the old car. The aftermarket is cheaper because it has less of the catalyst material inside. Any exhaust shop can do the job, and it will likely need some extra work since the pipe was cut off and the stock flanges are now gone. It does not need to be a dealer install or OEM converter. Sure the cheaper aftermarket may not last as long, but the car is also on the down side of its lifetime.


Sucks that the thieves cause so much more in repair than the value for the scrap converter value.
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Old 08-01-2020, 02:52 PM   #9
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Is there a reason they target those cars? I would think the big engines would have big catalytic converters, and would be worth more on the scrap market.

I had the pipe to the catalytic converter rust out right at the converter, and had to be replaced. My DD was borrowing my car at the time and was away at college, and I walked her through dealing with the repair guy. She said he seemed surprised that I wanted the old converter.

I finally got around to taking it to the scrap dealer, didn't get much for it, $20 maybe (from a 2L engine)? But I was kinda wondering if they were going to be suspicious, I did bring the repair receipt with me, but it was ~ 3 years old by then. Nah, he said if I was coming in every week with 2 or 3 of them, that's be different. Hah, I'm sure these guys can find enough people to do 1 at a time w/o looking suspicious.

-ERD50
The catalytic converters from hybrids are used less than those on an ICE so are in much better condition

https://www.whatcar.com/advice/ownin...-common/n20384

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Hybrid cars, such as the Prius, are targeted by thieves because they have two power sources – an electric motor and a petrol or diesel engine – so their catalytic converters are used less frequently to process pollutants. This means the metals inside them are less likely to corrode, so they're more valuable and therefore more desirable to thieves.
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Old 08-01-2020, 03:45 PM   #10
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Thanks to all for your comments. I checked with a Midas shop in their neighborhood and they said they see this often. Estimated cost for a generic converter installed is about $800, or with an OEM converter about $1500. There is a fair amount of labor involved as the flanges have to be welded on, and possibly a short section of pipe depending on how much was cut out.

She is checking with her insurance to confirm the deductible on her Comprehensive insurance, and may file a claim if it won't cause her rates to increase too much.
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Old 08-01-2020, 04:16 PM   #11
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I had to come back with one more comment. DD's rented house is in a residential area of south Minneapolis, mostly surrounded by families and young couples. They have only lived there for one month.

As DD returned after some errands, she saw their neighbor at their door talking with her house-mate. The neighbor had a very sweet card, and they had everyone in the neighborhood sign it, and it included nearly $300 that many of them contributed!

South Minneapolis has gotten a lot of bad press because of the protests a few weeks ago, but there are many wonderful people there!
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Old 08-01-2020, 05:08 PM   #12
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Thanks to all for your comments. I checked with a Midas shop in their neighborhood and they said they see this often. Estimated cost for a generic converter installed is about $800, or with an OEM converter about $1500. There is a fair amount of labor involved as the flanges have to be welded on, and possibly a short section of pipe depending on how much was cut out.

She is checking with her insurance to confirm the deductible on her Comprehensive insurance, and may file a claim if it won't cause her rates to increase too much.

$800-$1500 seems very, very high. Get a quote from an independent shop.
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Old 08-01-2020, 07:29 PM   #13
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The catalytic converters from hybrids are used less than those on an ICE so are in much better condition

https://www.whatcar.com/advice/ownin...-common/n20384
Thanks. I didn't realize the scrap value was based on the condition of the metals being "worn out" with use. They didn't ask me the mileage on that converter I turned in, and a thief wouldn't know or be able to prove it. And, I would think those cat converters in a hybrid would have less metal to begin with if they are used less, but maybe a certain amount is needed to get the process going?

Regardless, it stinks that thieves would do this to any car.

-ERD50
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Old 08-01-2020, 09:41 PM   #14
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.......... There is a fair amount of labor involved as the flanges have to be welded on, and possibly a short section of pipe depending on how much was cut out..............
I don't know the details of your particular case, but in the linked Rock Auto illustrations it appeared to be everything included, flange to flange.
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Old 08-01-2020, 10:47 PM   #15
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$800-$1500 seems very, very high. Get a quote from an independent shop.
agreed. The CC on a business use 2007 Prius conked out at around 200k miles. Small guy mechanic did it for about $4-500

Good thing because the rest of the Prius conked out not much later
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Old 08-01-2020, 11:04 PM   #16
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Stealing of a cat converter seems to me to be exactly what comprehensive insurance is for , and the deductible is usually low since it's so cheap.
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Old 08-02-2020, 04:18 AM   #17
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Thanks. I didn't realize the scrap value was based on the condition of the metals being "worn out" with use. They didn't ask me the mileage on that converter I turned in, and a thief wouldn't know or be able to prove it. And, I would think those cat converters in a hybrid would have less metal to begin with if they are used less, but maybe a certain amount is needed to get the process going?

Regardless, it stinks that thieves would do this to any car.

-ERD50
Our Prius has a 2 litre engine alongside the electric motor and still has to pass the emissions test which is done without the electric motor running, so I would think the same amount of platinum is needed in the converter as with a 2 litre engine in a car that is not also a hybrid. While running on the highway the engine is in use a lot less on a hybrid. If a hybrid's odometer shows 10,000 miles I wonder how many of those miles is with the ICE running?

I was talking with a local bobby last year and he pointed to the Prius on our driveway and said that there had been an upsurge in cat converters stolen from hybrids parked outside the house or on driveways and asked if I normally kept it in the garage. I told him that I did during the winter but in the summer months we had so much gardening stuff in use that I didn't bother putting the car away. I told him we had a doorbell camera so at least we would have a record of any theft happening. He was intrigued about the doorbell so I brought out my iPad to give him a demo of the video history it keeps.
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Old 08-02-2020, 04:53 AM   #18
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I was talking with a local bobby last year and he pointed to the Prius on our driveway and said that there had been an upsurge in cat converters stolen from hybrids parked outside the house or on driveways and asked if I normally kept it in the garage.
Alan and all. If you didn't see the video reference in "thedrive.com" article, it is worth a quick look. It is on twitter. In less than a minute, thieves steal converter from a Prius in broad daylight with people watching. It is somewhere in London, Chichester Rd.

This is crazy!

https://twitter.com/KeithPrinceAM/st...92565138001920
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Old 08-02-2020, 05:12 AM   #19
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Do not install an OEM cat, the thief's will return to steal it again. Install an aftermarket cat for California emissions they are better at passing the emission requirements if you have those in your are. Do get a Denso or NTK sensors for the car.



I have gone through this twice w/ my son's CRV and is not fun at all.
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Old 08-02-2020, 05:13 AM   #20
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Alan and all. If you didn't see the video reference in "thedrive.com" article, it is worth a quick look. It is on twitter. In less than a minute, thieves steal converter from a Prius in broad daylight with people watching. It is somewhere in London, Chichester Rd.

This is crazy!

https://twitter.com/KeithPrinceAM/st...92565138001920
I didn't doubt the stories of how fast it happens, and that footage is amazing. That video on Twitter showed a good visual of the thieves faces plus the registration number on the getaway car so I hope they were caught.
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