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Prius owners walking out to find their cars without catalytic converters

WFXT report police are getting reports of Prius catalytic-converter thefts - three this week just in Jamaica Plain, where people in the Jamaica Plain Facebook group say it's an issue mainly for owners of pre-2010 Gen 2 Prii.


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When the price of metal goes up the thieves target high end cars and copper thieves usually target the MBTA's storage yards. Junk yards are paying good prices for metal scraps right now.

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Catalytic converters are stolen for the platinum inside them. I don't know why Priuses are being targeted; either they have more platinum in them, or the converters are easier to remove than other cars.

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I think they're being resold, I read they target prius because the hybrids run cleaner thus less wear/build up on the converters.

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Do they tend to have more platinum left because they burn less gas, so it degrades slower?

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I'm not a chemist, but I don't think the platinum catalyst gets used up. This site says a number of things can cause a converter to fail:

What Causes a Catalytic Converter to Fail?

It is important to note that, in many cases, a catalytic converter does not fail on its own. There are several factors that can cause it to malfunction. Here are some of the most common:
Incorrect air/fuel mixture

When the engine’s air/fuel mixture is thrown off, the converter may begin to overheat, come apart and eventually become restricted.

Pieces of the damaged converter may clog other exhaust components as well.
Contamination from fluids

Fluids, such as engine oil and coolant, that enter the exhaust stream can contaminate the catalytic converter.
car mechanic fixing a lifted car looking at catalytic converterIgnoring engine-related problems or skipping routine service can cause problems that contribute to catalytic converter failure.
Engine misfire

An engine misfire can create extreme temperatures inside the catalytic converter, causing the device to melt.
Engine overdue for service

Ignoring engine-related problems or skipping routine service can cause the problems outlined above, all of which can contribute to catalytic converter failure.
Impact damage

Impact from driving over debris on the road can crush the converter, damaging it internally. Damage to the structure of the catalytic converter can also be caused by rust and corrosion.
Excessive idle time

In extreme cases where the vehicle idles nearly all of the time, the catalytic converter may run hotter than usual, eventually leading to its early demise.

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Not to own a Prius!

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They're the usual target of thieves, but for the wheels.

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A friend once had the radiator stolen from his old jalopy Honda Civic. :-(

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If this was a fully electric car you wouldn't have to worry about having your catalytic converter stolen because they don't have one of those. Get rid of gasoline entirely and there's no pollutants that need to have their decay catalyzed.

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I'm in an Element owners FB group and they're losing their catalytic converters at an alarming rate. I figure it'll happen to me soon, too. A few in the group managed to make some sort of metal contraption around it that can prevent theft.

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This sucks, my 07 Prius' catalytic converter wore out last year and cost nearly $3,000 to replace. If the new one ever gets stolen I'll likely just have to junk the whole car, which is unfortunate because it's otherwise running fine at nearly 250K miles.

Prius cat-converter theft has long been a big problem out in California, I guess with the pandemic people's economic situations are getting dire enough to drive them to this sort of desperation.

I guess I'll have to back in to my driveway from now on

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who knew.

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