A catalytic converter is a valuable and integral part of your vehicle’s emissions control system that converts smog-causing pollutants into less harmful compounds to help keep our air clean. But thieves find catalytic converters valuable for an entirely different reason.
Why do thieves target catalytic converters? Because of the valuable precious metals they contain: platinum, palladium, rhodium, and more. And despite converters not being the most accessible car part, many converters can be removed in one to two minutes using basic tools, making them a tempting target.
To turn the tide of catalytic converter theft and help prevent high replacement costs for consumers, many local law enforcement agencies have partnered with auto repair shops to implement Etch and Catch programs. Participating repair shops will etch identifying information, such as the vehicle identification number (VIN), onto the catalytic converter—a mark that acts as a deterrent to would-be thieves applied at no cost to the consumer. Proper etching should not affect the integrity of the catalytic converter and helps to identify the vehicle owner if the converter is stolen.
Contact your local law enforcement agency for information on upcoming Etch and Catch events and a list of partnering auto repair shops. To learn more about how you can protect your vehicle’s catalytic converter and check an auto repair shop license, visit the Bureau of Automotive Repair website at www.bar.ca.gov. You can also verify a license at https://search.dca.ca.gov.