There has been a rash of thefts of automotive catalytic converters. These converters are central to a car’s ability to regulate emissions to State standards.
This is of particular interest in California, home to some of the most rigid restrictions on the planet.
Thieves will target makes and models with particularly easy to reach converters, slide under the vehicle, and with a “saws-all” make the cuts needed to remove the converter. Leaving the car in a barely drivable condition with a ruined exhaust and emissions system. This all takes about 30 seconds for the accomplished vandal/thief. What is the stolen converter worth? Maybe between $50 and $250.
What it will cost you is between $1000 and $4000 to resurrect your car. Your choices in California are even more restrictive because you must install a “California Compliant Converter”.
This offense to you and your beloved vehicle is a comprehensive loss and will be repaired using after-market or non-OEM (original equipment manufacturer) parts. This class of parts are built to OEM specifications, and often are as good or better than OEM. However, if you are a stickler for keeping your vehicle purely original, or if the original design is superior to aftermarket, then you can purchase a VEHICLE MANUFACTURER REPLACEMENT PARTS (OEM) COVERAGE – COMPREHENSIVE endorsement. There is also one for COLLISION, should you want only OEM fenders to replace the ones you bend.
This coverage is not excessively expensive and may well be worth the comfort it gives you. Its available on newer cars, less than ten years old.
Which vehicles are targeted? Vehicles that sit high off the ground like full sized Pickups and SUV’s. Especially vulnerable are Toyota’s Tacoma and Tundra. Toyota Priuses are favorites of thieves as are Honda CR-Vs and Nissan Frontiers.
As with most risk, prevention is the preferred way to deal with the threat. If you can, park your Prius inside. If you cannot, park your CR-V, Pickup, SUV or other criminal favorite in a well-lit place. Maybe even invest in a wireless surveillance camera or a theft-deterrent system.
If you drive one of these targeted vehicles, then consider this added coverage to protect your vehicle’s value and your peace of mind.