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Ford F-Series pickup trucks top catalytic converter theft list

Mandated for all U.S. cars and trucks in 1975, catalytic converters convert harmful pollutants into less harmful emissions before they’ve left the exhaust system. Platinum, palladium, rhodium or gold are used as the catalyst.

Thieves can sell catalytic converters to metal recyclers for $20-$200. The recyclers extract the metal and resell it for thousands of dollars per ounce.

The Ford F-Series of pickup truck has a dubious honor. Its catalytic converters are the most stolen of any vehicle.
The Ford F-Series of pickup trucks has a dubious honor. Its catalytic converters are the most stolen of any vehicle.

Palladium sold for about $500 an ounce in 2016. It’s currently more than $2,300 per ounce. Rhodium sold for $640 an ounce in 2017. It’s currently priced at about $17,000 per ounce.

As a result, catalytic converter theft is rampant, with pickup trucks, sport utility vehicles and sedans all vulnerable. Catalytic converters are easy to dismantle, as simple as removing screws or brackets.

Several companies now offer various locks to prevent theft but their use isn’t yet prominent.

The catalytic converters on Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks are stolen often.
The catalytic converters on Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks are stolen often.

According to a report by the National Insurance Crime Bureau, more than 14,000 catalytic converters haven stolen off vehicles this year. It represents a 977 percent increase from 2018.

CARMAX, which calculates individual catalytic converter thefts by vehicle, recently released an updated tally.

Pickup trucks are the most likely targets.

Here’s a list of the top-10 vehicle converter thefts nationwide:

1985-2021 Ford F-Series pickup trucks (F-150, F-250, etc.)
1989-2020 Honda Accord
2007-2017 Jeep Patriot
1990-2022 Ford Econoline vans
1999-2021 Chevrolet Silverado pickup trucks
2005-2021 Chevrolet Equinox
1997-2020 Honda CR-V
1987-2019 Toyota Camry
2011-2017 Chrysler 200
2001-2021 Toyota Prius

James Raia, a syndicated columnist in Sacramento, California, publishes a free weekly automotive podcast and electronic newsletter. Sign-ups are available on his website, www.theweeklydriver.com. He can be reached via email: james@jamesraia.com.

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LionRampant
1 month ago

No need to mess with screws or bolts, most, if not all, of the converter thefts around here involve using a reciprocating saw. A couple of zaps with it and the thief is gone in just a few minutes.

Bill Braniff
1 month ago

I purchased a used car for my daughter in a private sale. The owners father was a service manager for a Ford dealership. I drive a 2016 F250 6.7 diesel. He told me the converter for my truck would cost me over $5,000-.00 if it were stolen! That is plain rediculous. See ms the government or the manufacturers should be able to make a much cheaper version to protect vehicle owners from the many unscrupulous person wandering around at night?

Tommy Molnar
1 month ago

So why haven’t car and truck mfg’s come up with a way to make these thefts a lot harder? I’ve seen several ads for anti-theft gizmos to thwart grabbers from taking your converter but none that look foolproof.

Paul
1 month ago

Probably has something to do with the size of the converter and the availability of the vehicle. Lots of Ford trucks and vans out there.

Warren G
1 month ago
Reply to  Paul

And likely the ground clearance is helpful.

Donald N Wright
1 month ago

Maybe I could buy a used (stolen) converter from a wrecking yard before it is dismantled.

MevetS
1 month ago

Wonder if that has anything to do with being the #1 selling truck ?

HappyCamper7424
28 days ago
Reply to  MevetS

Bingo!

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