• Aug 2, 2008

There's a container of precious metals dangling from the bottom of your car: your catalytic converter. They contain platinum, and its rising cost has caused a recent spike in converter theft, especially in the U.K. Not only does a missing cat let more pollution into the air, it also disables operation of the car in some cases. In an effort to combat this growing problem, Ford has partnered with Retainagroup to place individual serial numbers on converters. These IDs are intended to give law enforcement the ability to track down and prove whether individual converters were stolen or not. Want one? Visit your local U.K. Ford dealer with £11.87 in hand and you're all set.

[Source: Automotive Business Review]


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  • 15 Comments
      • 6 Years Ago
      Good idea but i was thinking a physical way to prevent them being removed would be the real deterrent. Also, the price is weird, why not just make it £11.99
        • 6 Years Ago
        It's on ROLL BACK ;)





        wal-mart pricing.. sales are usually pennies
      • 6 Years Ago
      Ways to make it more theft-resistant:

      1. Use special security bolts & nuts
      2. Use thread-locker
      3. Reinforce exhaust tubing right around inlet/outlet
      4. Move it further up into the engine bay where possible
        • 6 Years Ago
        1. The ability of old fasteners to turn from a 6-sided head to a round one is secure enough.
        2. Rust = nature's threadlocker.
        3. Most are double-layered at the inlet/outlet already.
        4. Seeing how some new cars have the cat right off the exhaust manifold, this would be the most unfeasible, not to mention a drastic rise in underhood temperatures.

        Like car thefts, cat thefts target those which are easy. If your vehicle is low to the ground, they'll move onto an easier target. Trucks and SUVs the biggest targets ... plenty of clearance to get underneath with a portable sawzall and be out within a minute.

        Anyways, I don't see what would stop a thief from simply grinding off the sticker or any imprints in the casing. IMHO, this is simply just a way to make more money by selling a false sense of security.
        • 6 Years Ago
        Most of the ones stolen around here are with a sawzall. Nothing suggest is going to stop on of those and it's a pretty quick job.

        Someone even stole one from the police parking lot in the middle of the day.

      • 6 Years Ago
      What a great idea. Next, they can put ID numbers on cars and prevent auto theft.
      Oh, wait. They already did that and it didn't work.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Why not just pass laws that say a person recycling a cat needs to show ID and a have a reciept for a new cat that was installed on their vehicle. After all, removing a catalytic converter is illegal in the US. Make it harder for the criminals to profit off their stolen cats and they will have to look elsewhere for something to steal.
      • 6 Years Ago
      So how much platinum is actually in a converter? I have a Sawzall that has been collecting dust for too long.
      • 6 Years Ago
      What a money grab! Who is the real theif? A serial number should be standard on catalytic converters. If Ford pays about 3 cents for a tiny piece of sheetmetal with numbers punched in it, that a theif could easily chip off with a screw driver, but yet they charge over $20. How much money ends up in their wallet?
      • 6 Years Ago
      This has been a recent problem in my
      city, Charleston, SC. In the last 2 months
      2 area dealerships were each hit during
      the weekend time they were each closed.
      First one of the Nissan dealers had 25 thefts
      from new units on lot. Then 2-weeks later,
      one of the Kia dealers had 27 units ripped off.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Thanks for this useful post Autoblog, much appreciated, I hope the rollout is nationwide.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Well, the topic is wrong, this is not a way to prevent the theft, but to make it traceable after being stolen.
      • 6 Years Ago
      Aren't they just going to melt them to extract the precious metals anyway ? What is the Id going to do to help when it is in a 2000 degree oven?
      • 6 Years Ago
      What a great idea. Next, they can put ID numbers on cars and prevent auto theft.
      Oh, wait. They already did that and it didn't work.
      • 6 Years Ago
      There was a big (non pro) game at the Cowboys stadium....someone hit the parking lot during the game and got a few hundred converters. The used a plasma cutter to make it fast...too bad one of the vehicles didn't have a fuel leak and blow up on them.

      They mostly go for trucks & SUVs since they have bigger cats and are higher of the ground. My buddy owns a furniture store and his cat was stolen from his delivery truck. He "fixed" the problem by having a steel belly pan welded under the truck.
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