Are BMW Catalytic Converters Easy to Steal

Are BMW Catalytic Converters Easy To Steal? (Here Are The Facts)

In almost all cases, catalytic converters are a requirement in every modern automobile vehicle.

Catalytic converters help turn harmful emissions from internal combustion, such as carbon monoxide, into less harmful substances, including carbon dioxide and water vapor.

So, in short, their role is to minimize the negative impact of fuel-powered vehicles on our environment.

Unfortunately, catalytic converters have become a common target for thieves in recent years. The reason behind this is that catalytic converters contain valuable metals that can be sold for high prices.

Some cars have catalytic converters that are much easier to steal. But, how can you know which ones are these? For example, are BMW catalytic converters easy to steal?

Are BMW Catalytic Converters Easy To Steal?

Luckily for all BMW car owners, BMW catalytic converters are harder to steal than most other car brands. That’s because catalytic converters in BMW cars are hidden out of sight for thieves and much harder to remove.

With that said, BMW catalytic converters are still being stolen quite frequently. But it takes much more effort, so they’re not a major target for thieves.

So, if you own a BMW car, you don’t have to be too concerned about having your catalytic converter stolen.

How easy it is to steal a BMW catalytic converter?

BMW 325i

Compared to other car models, BMW catalytic converters are harder to steal. This is because catalytic converters in BMW cars are hidden, located up against the engine, which makes accessing them much more difficult.

Still, BMW catalytic converter theft does happen, even though it’s rare. As a result, experts recommend parking your car facing a wall.

That way, the catalytic converter is much harder for thieves to access, making theft even more difficult.

Another way to prevent catalytic converter theft is to park your car away from public access, such as in a private garage or close to your home where you can keep an eye on it.

How can you know if you had your BMW catalytic converter stolen?

BMW car

Unless you inspect the car carefully, along with all its parts, it can be hard to figure out whether you had your catalytic converter stolen just by looking at the vehicle.

But there are some tell-tale signs when driving that can help you determine whether the catalytic converter is missing.

Firstly, the car will run much louder than normal, especially when you start it and accelerate. This is because a catalytic converter normally keeps the car running smoothly, preventing any unnecessarily loud noises during driving.

BMW  hybrid car

Without the presence of a catalytic converter, your car will also produce more exhaust fumes than usual. The exhaust fumes will also smell much worse than normal.

A catalytic converter turns toxic substances produced during internal combustion into less toxic ones. So, without a catalytic converter, the fumes will be noticeably different.

In addition, a catalytic converter contributes to exhaust regulation. This means that it keeps the acceleration even and regular, significantly when speeding up and changing gears.

So, you will notice a huge difference in how well your car accelerates if the catalytic converter has been stolen.

Where is the catalytic converter on a BMW?

new system with catalytic converter

Usually, the catalytic converter is located on the underside of the vehicle. It’s part of the exhaust system, right between the engine and the muffler.

In most BMW cars, that’s exactly where the catalytic converter is found.

But, unlike in most other vehicles, the catalytic converter in a BMW car is hidden, making it much harder to spot unless the car is jacked up.

In fact, some people can confuse a BMW catalytic converter with a resonator since they look very similar from the outside and to the untrained eye.

All of this makes BMW catalytic converters harder to steal than those from most other car brands.

Do all BMW models have catalytic converters?

Black BMW M6

All fuel-powered cars have a catalytic converter. It helps turn harmful substances created during internal combustion into less harmful ones, such as carbon dioxide and water vapor, among others.

As a result, it’s often required by law for all fuel-powered cars to be equipped with catalytic converters these days.

So, this means that all fuel-powered BMW models have catalytic converters. Having said that, BMW also produces all-electric vehicles, which are powered by a battery.

These cars don’t have catalytic converters since they don’t produce any toxic substances while driving as there’s no internal combustion happening. 

So, if you have an all-electric BMW car, you don’t have to worry about having your catalytic converter stolen since there isn’t one present.

Unlike all-electric vehicles, though, BMW hybrid models do have catalytic converters. This is because they are powered by both an electric battery and fuel, so internal combustion still occurs, even if not all the time.

In fact, hybrid vehicles are the primary target for catalytic converter thieves since the parts can be sold for incredibly high prices.

So, if you’re driving a BMW hybrid vehicle, it’s important to take preventative measures to lower your risk of catalytic convert theft.

Are some BMW vehicles more likely to have a catalytic converter stolen?

BMW  hybrid car

In all BMW vehicles, the catalytic converter is quite hidden. But some types of cars are more likely to have their catalytic converters stolen.

For example, pick-up trucks, SUVs, and hybrids are the most common targets. The first two have their catalytic converters located in a much more accessible place, so they’re more likely to be stolen.

Hybrids, on the other hand, have catalytic converters that can be sold for much higher prices due to the parts they contain.

So, if you have any of these BMW models, you should be particularly careful.


Even though catalytic converters are a common target for thieves, this type of internal filter is hidden in BMW cars, making it much harder to steal.

Because of that, BMW catalytic converters are rarely stolen, as compared to other cars.

That said, theft can still happen, so it’s important to take preventative measures. For example, be sure to park your car facing a wall to make accessing the catalytic converter even more difficult.

That way, you can reduce your risk of catalytic converter theft as much as possible.

Sources: BMW, Undergraduate Research Symposium, and Bureau of Automotive Repair

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