Unforseen extra costs for having catalytic converter stolen

Discussion in 'Gen 2 Prius Main Forum' started by JC91006, Jan 28, 2020.

  1. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    I just wanted to share with everyone that having your car's catalytic converter stolen can be really expensive. Especially when the thief damages other parts of your car.

    My friend recently had their catalytic converter stolen in CA. This state will make you get an OEM part from the dealer as they won't allow the use of 49 state legal catalytic converters. But in this example, my friend is not just out the catalytic converter but also an expensive ABS actuator repair bill.

    As the thief cuts your catalytic converter with a Long Sawzall blade, they pay no attention to the part that sits above the catalytic converter. This part happens to be the very expensive $2000 ABS actuator. When they cut, the long blade can reach the ABS actuator and put a hole in it. I didn't think this was possible until I saw his car with the "nick" on the bottom of the actuator. This replacement of the catalytic converter and ABS actuator will cost more than the car is worth.

    Since these catalytic converters fetch a good amount of money now, Prius owners best to protect yourself with full coverage insurance, some device to prevent thieves from cutting the catalytic converter out, or replacing your OEM catalytic converter with a cheaper aftermarket part.

    The Prius has become a financial liability when thieves can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage in 2 minutes time.
     
    m.wynn, Raytheeagle, SFO and 3 others like this.
  2. jzchen

    jzchen Senior Member

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    Woah! Nearby us?

    I'd like to remove ours then, and just put it back on long trips or smog time.

    Think you could come up with a quick disconnect? Just like removing a bike seat or front wheel, quickly remove it once cooled down, and bring it with you. Put it back when ready to go....

    moto g(7) power ?
     
  3. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    The problem has long since been solved by comprehensive insurance policies.

    Yes, it costs extra and feels strange paying that on an old car, but it works.
     
  4. ChapmanF

    ChapmanF Senior Member

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    Comp still doesn't solve the problem of "that's more than we think your car is worth, so here's a check you can use to disrupt your next few weeks looking for new transportation."
     
  5. oldtechaa

    oldtechaa Active Member

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    Please don't disconnect your cat. They make a real difference to people's health and that of the environment. Removing a cat can put you at higher risk of CO poisoning, contribute to acid rain and smog, and cause asthma attacks.
     
  6. jerrymildred

    jerrymildred Senior Member

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    Yeah, and the insurance just spreads the pain even if they do pay for it. The problem is the unreasonable law that created the high demand and prices for the cats. Change the law to match the rest of the country and the scumbags will look for something else to steal.
     
  7. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    There is plenty of industrial demand for palladium and platinum apart from cat converter manufacturing. People would still steal cats from 2G Priuseses because they're easy to find and have a better yield per attack than most cars.

    It is difficult and expensive to enforce quality standards on a part like that. Simply banning the aftermarket altogether is cheaper, easier, and properly supports the original goal of reduced emissions.

    It's unfortunate that this event is often the trigger that prices people out of their personal transportation, but let's face it: the cost of private car ownership has been going up rapidly and will continue to escalate as historical "externalities" are properly priced in.
     
  8. JC91006

    JC91006 Senior Member

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    For now I think the 3rd gen Prius is not highly targeted like the 1st and 2nd generation Prius. Those catalytic converters are worth a lot more on the black market.

    I think the economy is still going good right now so it probably won't affect 3rd gen owners yet. When the economy turns bad, that's when you have to worry. People get desperate and the lower valued Catalytic Converters will also become targets.
     
    jzchen likes this.
  9. jzchen

    jzchen Senior Member

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    I reread my post, and because I was sort of in a hurry when I posted, my wording wasn't exactly up to par.

    Two options I thought of were:

    1. Remove it and put it back when smog check time comes, or on long trips if I quote myself.

    2. Quick disconnect to remove it when you leave the car and put it back before you drive.

    Thank you for the details about the consequences of driving without one. Maybe only the 2nd option should be considered...

    My cousin is a retired child psychiatrist, and he noted he would always have at least $20 in his wallet, lest someone robs him. He said if you carried nothing the thief out of anger might hurt you anyways. I had come up with the empty wallet idea.

    So, with option chosen I'd put some kind of label/warning that the cat was put away for safe keeping, lest they lift yours up, find it missing, and cut up your car anyways out of frustration.

    Posted via the PriusChat mobile app.
     
  10. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    Not practical. It's going to need a good 20-30 minutes to cool down to safe handling temps at the end of the trip. That's a pretty inconvenient amount of time to sit there waiting to take your car apart for the night.

    Back in Soviet times, car owners in Moscow would remove their windshield wiper blades and 12v batteries to keep them from being stolen. They all hated having to do this, but at least neither of those parts need a cool-down after driving.

    It also means you'll need a proper jack and stands on board, so you can lift the car to crawl under there to disconnect/reconnect. Remember: when the thieves do it, they aren't exactly using the safest of equipment or procedures. You might also need to carry a change of clothes, depending on parking circumstances. And that's all more stuff that could be stolen for other reasons.

    Most people don't want to haul a 15lb dirty metal pipe around with them.

    Making it that easy for you to remove would also make it that much easier for somebody else to remove.
     
  11. jzchen

    jzchen Senior Member

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    I find this all very depressingly accurate. All except for the 20-30 minute waiting. It would probably take me a good portion of the cooling off period to prep and raise the car up, that and my intent to research industrial strength oven mitts or tong.

    An ugly sign warning the potential thief of the missing cat isn't quite appealing to me either....

    I'd probably still buy one if someone made it though. CARB law just says it has to be present and functioning right? Not that it has to be permanently fixed, ie. no quick disconnect?



    moto g(7) power ?
     
  12. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    Have you ever watched the TV show "Storm Chasers"? One of the cars had a hydraulic system that jammed 4 rods into the ground at about a 45 degree angle at each corner of the car. This would allow them to drive into a tornado area and anchor the car to the ground, preventing it from being lifted up. Let's see some Gen 2 Prii with that kind of system locking it down!! Or make it like a mole trap where the spikes shoot straight down when someone is detected under the car. Some real life "SAW" stuff going on....
     
  13. TMR-JWAP

    TMR-JWAP Senior Member

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    But realistically, what about using a heavy gauge expanded metal sheet, and bolt it to the bottom of the car to cover the cat area. It would definitely slow down that saw to a crawl. As soon as they jacked the car up and saw it, they'd probably just leave.
     
  14. Leadfoot J. McCoalroller

    Leadfoot J. McCoalroller Senior Member

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    I don't think CARB cares about that. On the other hand, exhaust shops sometimes care about liability from leaks, so you may not find a lot of support for this idea. They'll take the risks when they get to apply their skills to every installation.
     
  15. jzchen

    jzchen Senior Member

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    A cat lock. Yes, I see those around some on this forum. This may just be the answer. I'm really scared to come back here some day and see someone had one of these and still lost their cat.

    Leadfoot, thanks for the input. I have the chain type exhaust pipe cutters from when I replaced a muffler section once. The type you wrap around and they have wheel like cutters you rotate around the pipe until they cut through. They work pretty quick, at least when new. I could install it on my own...

    I just put an order through Amayama and probably should have looked at how much the cats run there. eBay, here I come to look for "catalytic converter quick disconnect". I'll report if I actually find something...

    moto g(7) power ?
     
  16. jzchen

    jzchen Senior Member

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    JC91006, I want to say good to see you around but not like this.

    If you see some funny Asian dude walking around with a giant cat necklace, come say "hi" to me. (Hey, people wear pecious metal jewelery)!

    We live in the same city but have yet to meet...

    moto g(7) power ?
     
  17. fuzzy1

    fuzzy1 Senior Member

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    Then sometimes they hurt or kill you anyway, even after you comply to their demands.
    I don't see any reason for a sign, they'll look anyway, knowing some people just put up signs without actually securing anything. And I don't remember seeing any cases of these cat thieves elsewhere further vandalizing cars due to cat locks or cheap undesirable cats or missing cats.
     
  18. Prius7Prime

    Prius7Prime Junior Member

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    My neighbor just got his Catalytic converter stolen off his Toyota Tacoma a week ago. They have the guys on camera so hopefully they get caught soon.
     
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