The Automobile Club of Southern California, the Glendale Police Department and local AAA Approved Auto Repair shops are joining forces on Wednesday, Dec. 8 to combat theft of vehicle catalytic converters by etching the license number on the converters during a multi-location etching event.
Catalytic converter etching consists of etching the vehicle’s license plate number onto the exposed converters located in the exhaust system under the vehicle. The process takes about 15 minutes per vehicle which is raised on a lift for safe access.
Glendale residents can make reservations through Eventbrite.com and can choose one of the following AAA Approved Auto Repair shops:
A-Certified Auto, 6545 San Fernando Road, Glendale
Advanced Auto Repair, 900 S. Central Ave., Glendale
Campbell’s Automotive Repair Service, 3840 Foothill Blvd., Glendale
RPM Automotive Repair, 130 N. Verdugo Rd, Glendale.
“Converter etching makes it easier to prosecute thieves who may steal the converters because tracing the recovered converter back to a vehicle owner increases the odds that the thief can be successfully prosecuted,” said the Glendale PD sergeant Aaron Ziegler. “Seeing that the converter is etched may also dissuade the thief from even taking the converter in the first place.”
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau's Operations, Intelligence and Analytics study of reported thefts, nationally there were 108 catalytic converter thefts per month on average in 2018, 282 average monthly thefts in 2019, and 1,203 average thefts per month in 2020.
“At the Auto Club’s insurance group, theft claims for this car part rose by 116% from 2019 to 2020, and again by 98% from 2020 to 2021,” said Auto Club Glendale branch manager Andrew Ibrahim. “So, we are excited to work with the Glendale PD and local AAA Approved Auto Repair program to help car owners defend against these thefts.”
Converters can cost up to $3,000 to replace depending on the vehicle, and most insurance companies cover the replacement cost, if a car owner has the optional comprehensive coverage which covers damage to a vehicle not caused by a crash.
A catalytic converter is connected to the exhaust system and looks like a smaller muffler. It converts the environmentally hazardous exhaust gasses create by engine combustion into less harmful gasses. Necessary in the process are precious metals including platinum, palladium, or rhodium. In recent years, the prices of these precious metals have increased significantly. Currently, rhodium is valued at about $14,500 per ounce, palladium at $2,100 per ounce, and platinum at about $1,000 per ounce. Typically, recyclers will pay $50 to $250 per catalytic converter.
Additional tips to avoid converter theft:
- Install a catalytic converter anti-theft device. These are available from various manufacturers and can provide a level of security from theft.
- Park personal vehicles in a garage, if not possible. If vehicles are to be parked in a driveway, think about installing motion sensor security lights. Lights that illuminate when someone approaches may make some thieves think twice about working in the light, making them leave the area and your vehicle untouched.
- If your converter is stolen, call local law enforcement and your insurance company.