Do Thieves Steal Diesel Catalytic Converters

Do Thieves Steal Diesel Catalytic Converters? Here’s What You Need to Know

Have you ever wondered if thieves steal diesel catalytic converters? I have, and I did some research to find out. It turns out that while diesel converters are less likely to be targeted than gasoline converters, they are not immune to theft.

According to Mechanic Base, diesel converters are not usually constructed with the same precious metals as gasoline converters, which are the primary target of thieves.

However, some diesel converters do contain small amounts of these metals, and they can still be sold for scrap.

Additionally, thieves may steal diesel converters simply because they are easier to access than gasoline converters on some vehicles.

While diesel catalytic converter theft may not be as common as gasoline converter theft, it is still a concern for diesel vehicle owners.

In this article, we will explore the reasons behind catalytic converter theft, how to protect your vehicle, and which diesel vehicles are most and least likely to be targeted.

Do Thieves Steal Diesel Catalytic Converters?

Diesel fuel cap

After conducting some research, I found that diesel catalytic converters are indeed stolen by thieves.

Diesel catalytic converters are often integrated with the Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF), and there is anecdotal evidence that these are being stolen for their scrap value too.

Thieves have been stealing catalytic converters from cars, trucks, and buses at an alarming rate. Although diesel catalytic converters contain fewer precious metals than their petrol counterparts, they still contain valuable metals such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium, making them a target for thieves.

Moreover, diesel catalytic converters are easier to steal than petrol catalytic converters because they are often located closer to the ground, making them more accessible.

Thieves can easily slide under the vehicle and remove the converter with a portable saw or other tools. In conclusion, diesel catalytic converters are not immune to theft, and vehicle owners should take measures to protect their vehicles from theft.

Installing an anti-theft device, parking in a secure location, and engraving the vehicle’s registration number on the converter are some of the steps that can be taken to deter thieves.

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Are Diesel Catalytic Converters Worth More Than Gasoline Ones?

Ranger with jeep in field

As I was researching for this article, I came across a few sources that suggest that diesel catalytic converters are not as valuable as those found in gasoline engines.

According to Mechanic Base, diesel converters or particle filters are not normally constructed with rhodium, palladium, or platinum, which are the precious metals that make catalytic converters valuable.

Gas and diesel engines use different types of catalytic converters due to the differences in how they operate.

Gasoline engines produce more harmful emissions, which require more precious metals in the catalytic converter to transform them into less toxic gases.

Diesel fuel is cleaner than gasoline, which means that diesel engines produce fewer harmful emissions. Therefore, diesel catalytic converters do not require as many precious metals as gasoline ones.

However, this does not mean that diesel catalytic converters are worthless. Thieves can still make money from stealing them, but they are not worth as much as gasoline catalytic converters.

According to Carfax, thieves can make anywhere from $25 to $300 for a standard catalytic converter, while ones from hybrid vehicles can sell for up to $1,400.

Diesel catalytic converters are not as valuable as those found in gasoline engines, but they still contain precious metals that can be sold for scrap.

In conclusion, while diesel catalytic converters may not be worth as much as gasoline ones, they are still targets for thieves.

It is important to take steps to protect your vehicle from theft, such as parking in well-lit areas and installing an alarm system.

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What is a Diesel Catalytic Converter?

Bad Catalytic Converter

As I am writing this article about diesel catalytic converters, I should first explain what a diesel catalytic converter is.

A diesel catalytic converter is a device that is designed to reduce the harmful emissions that are produced by diesel engines.

It is a part of the exhaust system and is responsible for converting the toxic gases produced by the engine into less harmful gases.

How Does It Work?

The diesel catalytic converter works by using a chemical reaction to convert the harmful gases that are produced by the engine into less harmful gases.

The converter is made up of several different components, including a catalyst, a substrate, and a housing.

The catalyst is typically made up of precious metals like platinum, palladium, and rhodium. These metals are responsible for the chemical reaction that occurs inside the converter.

The substrate is a material that is designed to hold the catalyst in place, and the housing is the outer shell of the converter that protects the catalyst and substrate from damage.

When the exhaust gases from the engine pass through the converter, they come into contact with the catalyst.

The catalyst causes a chemical reaction that converts the harmful gases into less harmful gases like nitrogen, oxygen, and water vapor. These gases are then expelled from the exhaust system and into the environment.

Overall, the diesel catalytic converter is an essential component of the exhaust system in diesel engines.

It is responsible for reducing the harmful emissions that are produced by the engine and helps to protect the environment from pollution.

Why Are Diesel Catalytic Converters Stolen?

Thief stealing

The Value of Precious Metals

I have found that thieves steal diesel catalytic converters for the same reason they steal gasoline catalytic converters: the precious metals inside.

Diesel catalytic converters contain platinum, palladium, and rhodium, which are valuable metals that can be sold for a high price.

According to CARFAX, platinum was recently trading at $970 per ounce, palladium was at about $1,330 an ounce, and rhodium was at about $28,500 an ounce.

Thieves can make a big payday by melting down the precious metals found in the anti-pollution devices.

It is important to note that the value of precious metals fluctuates over time, so the price of diesel catalytic converters may vary depending on the current market conditions.

Examples of Diesel Catalytic Converter Thefts

I have come across several news articles reporting diesel catalytic converter thefts. For instance, Fox News reported that thieves stole catalytic converters from several ambulances in Oregon, causing the emergency vehicles to be out of service for several days.

The thefts were estimated to cost the ambulance company thousands of dollars in repairs. In another instance, KXAN News reported that thieves targeted several businesses in Austin, Texas, stealing catalytic converters from their diesel trucks.

The thefts were estimated to cost the businesses tens of thousands of dollars in repairs and lost revenue. These examples show that diesel catalytic converter thefts can have serious consequences for businesses and individuals.

It is important to take measures to protect your vehicle from theft, such as parking it in a secure location or installing a catalytic converter theft prevention device.

How Do Thieves Steal Diesel Catalytic Converters?

Car thief


When it comes to stealing diesel catalytic converters, thieves typically use a variety of tools to get the job done.

One common tool is a reciprocating saw, which can easily cut through the metal housing of the converter.

Another tool that is often used is a cordless angle grinder, which can be used to cut through the pipes that connect the converter to the engine.


In addition to using tools, thieves also employ a number of techniques to make their thefts more successful. For example, they may work in pairs, with one person acting as a lookout while the other cut the converter off the vehicle.

They may also target vehicles that are parked in secluded areas or that are unlikely to be disturbed for an extended period of time.

Once the converter has been removed, the thieves will typically sell it to a scrapyard or metal recycling center, where they can get a significant amount of money for the precious metals inside.

It’s worth noting that diesel catalytic converter theft is not as common as thefts of converters from gasoline-powered vehicles. However, it is still a problem that can result in costly repairs and downtime for vehicle owners.

How to Protect Your Diesel Catalytic Converter from Theft?

Security camera in front of house

Security Measures

As a diesel vehicle owner, I know how important it is to protect my vehicle’s catalytic converter from theft. Here are some security measures I have found effective:

1. Park in a Safe Location

I always park my vehicle in a well-lit and secure location. Thieves are less likely to target a vehicle parked in a location where they can be easily seen.

2. Install Security Cameras

Installing security cameras around the parking area can deter thieves and help identify them if they do attempt to steal the catalytic converter.

3. Use Catalytic Converter Locks

Catalytic converter locks are an effective way to prevent theft. These locks wrap around the catalytic converter and are secured with a padlock, making it difficult for thieves to remove the converter.

4. Etch Your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on the Catalytic Converter

Etching your VIN number on the catalytic converter can make it less attractive to thieves. They won’t be able to sell the converter to scrap metal dealers because it can be traced back to your vehicle.

5. Consider Aftermarket Security Devices

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Use code FWISE to get 5% off

Aftermarket security devices, such as alarms and motion sensors, can alert you and others when a theft is in progress.

These devices can also scare off thieves and prevent them from stealing your catalytic converter. In conclusion, protecting your diesel catalytic converter from theft is essential. By following these security measures, you can reduce the risk of theft and keep your vehicle running smoothly.

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