3 Signs of Stolen Catalytic Converter You Shouldn’t Ignore!

Owning a car is almost a necessity in today’s age. With the commute, most people have to deal with to get to work and the overall utility of having our vehicle, we are strongly incentivized to buy one. However, owning a car means having to deal with eventual issues that come with it, be they malfunctions or theft. Today, we will be elaborating on signs of stolen catalytic converter.

What is a catalytic converter?


There are plentiful parts to make a note of in a car. While a regular gearhead may be adequately acquainted with these components, an ordinary person isn’t. The catalytic converter is a decently important part of your exhaust system that deserves a bit more coverage. [1]

The composition of the catalytic converter

A catalytic converter is composed of multiple parts, as expected. The converter itself is found in the middle of the object. It uses catalyst substrate catalytic active material to do the actual conversions.

Catalytic converter has two pipes leading out of it. One takes in the engine’s raw emissions and transforms them into the standard expelling of gas we see from our exhaust pipes.

There’s a shell to the converter, which is made out of stainless steel. This shell is referred to as housing and contains a thermal shield as well as insulation which aids the catalytic converter in fulfilling its job.

There are additional supports and affixing mechanisms to further manage it, from which the two most important parts are inlet and outlet flanges.

What does a catalytic converter do?


catalytic_converter_renault.jpegThe catalytic converter utilizes a chamber to convert harmful compounds from the engine into safe gasses. This component has a chamber called a catalyst to achieve the conversion. Within this chamber, molecules of incoming gasses are split and turned into simpler ones. After that, the simplified gasses are expunged. [2]

The catalytic converter allows us to release less harmful gasses into the environment. The extra splitting of atoms into safer gasses is the best way to avoid bad exhaust smell or even additional issues within our car.

The problems could easily occur due to the impurities carried by them throughout the car.

When our car’s catalytic converter has been removed, we’ll feel a ton of side effects from the car. We should be able to discern whether the catalytic converter has been stolen with ease by looking out for the following symptoms.

Signs of stolen catalytic converter

audi_exhaust_system.jpegAfter a theft of any part of our car, it’s understandable to be very shaken. However, just identifying that it’s missing is also important. There are multiple ways in which you can discern that. Let’s see some telltale signs of our catalytic converter being stolen.

1) The car is very loud

With the removal of a catalytic converter, you’ll note that the vehicle becomes very loud. The noise will be more than noticeable, being impossible to ignore.

It’s best to listen to the engine and see if everything is in order. Even if your catalytic converter isn’t removed, this could be a very important warning of something going wrong.

2) Toxic gasses entering the car, health problems

An incredibly dangerous symptom of your catalytic converter missing is the toxic gasses not being filtered and escaping into the rest of the car. The spread of these gasses affects the inside of the car too.

So if you feel nauseous or your head hurts while driving the vehicle, make sure to park it at a safe place and check the state of the catalytic converter.

Because the catalytic converter filtrates 95% of the carbon monoxide, its removal allows this dangerous gas to escape. Carbon monoxide can cause a slew of health problems and even result in death if fumes are inhaled for too long.

This symptom is why other warning signs of a missing catalytic converter should be taken seriously. Being aware of them can make a difference between life and death. [3]

3) Low torque

Removing the catalytic converter will also affect our car’s performance. With the way vehicles are designed, especially in the past decade, removing the catalytic converter may result in a noticeable reduction in low-end torque. Low-end torque is the torque available at lower RPM, which is most frequently used in everyday drives. [4]

Can you drive car if catalytic converter is stolen?


It is possible to drive your car without a catalytic converter. The vehicle will run worse, but it will still function. However, you shouldn’t drive a vehicle missing this component.

Doing so is dangerous and can result in car accidents. The potential carbon monoxide poisoning is not something to risk, so it’s better not to drive the car when missing a catalytic converter.

How do you know if the catalytic converter is stolen?

There is a multitude of warning signs the car will give out. All of these are associated with the function of the vehicle itself. Although a loud engine is a guaranteed sign of it, let’s review a few other symptoms that’ll be apparent if we turn on our car while the catalytic converter is missing.

  • Rough sounds and loud roar when starting or accelerating

As you would assume, compromising our exhaust system doesn’t do our engine any favors. The least you can expect is some rather clunky sounds from the car whenever you attempt to drive it.

  • A lot more exhaust fumes and different smell

Without the ability to filter and convert the gasses from the engine properly, the exhaust will release more fumes. These fumes are darker and will be far more harmful to the environment. The smell of the fumes will change as well, which is something that should be obvious to spot.

  • Issues with acceleration

The engine won’t just sound different but will run differently as well. The acceleration of the car is the first to suffer. The car won’t be able to accelerate or switch gears as smoothly as it usually does.

  • Engine lights will turn on

The catalytic converter is tied to the check engine lights. The light will be turned on when something goes wrong with the converter. [5]

Does insurance cover catalytic converter theft?


Getting car insurance is something we get in order to secure our car’s longevity. The problems and dangers the car can experience on a daily basis are plentiful. Ranging from minor hiccups to catastrophic problems. But does it include theft? Let’s take a look at the facts and answer this question.

Types of car insurance

There are a lot of types of car insurance. Third-party liability, collision insurance, personal accident coverage, and many other options exist. However, they don’t necessarily cover theft. In fact, they don’t cover it at all.

The type of insurance covering theft will usually be tied to property insurance rather than car insurance. However, there is still one type of car insurance which will cover theft, comprehensive car insurance.

Comprehensive car insurance

Purchasing comprehensive car insurance is the only way to cover all the worrying factors we may experience with our car. The comprehensive car insurance will cover anything from third-party liability to damage from natural disasters.

Comprehensive car insurance will cover theft as well. The compensation will happen even if your entire vehicle is stolen or destroyed in an accident. It is the most demanding one too, so consider that when checking out comprehensive car insurance.

Varying prices

Remember that not every type of car insurance costs the same, nor does every insurance company have the same cost. When picking insurance, this should be kept in mind. We often end up with much better deals by looking through our options.

The insurance will usually be paid monthly, so making sure the policy is as affordable as possible means cutting down the costs exponentially the longer the insurance policy is active. You should also take action once the catalytic converter is stolen, regardless of your insurance policy.

What to do if catalytic converter is stolen?


As soon as you discern a theft has happened, it’s time to take action. By not doing so, it’s possible to miss out on compensation or get into problems in some cases. So let’s check what you should do after a catalytic converter theft.

  1. Notify the authorities

The first step you should take is to tell the authorities of the crime. This way, you are increasing the chances of retrieving the catalytic converter.

Additionally, if any upcoming inspection is nearby, you will have a justified reason for lacking an important part of the vehicle. This may save you from fines that such situations may produce.

    1. Don’t drive the car

If possible, avoid driving the car. Instead, tow it to the nearest mechanic, get it inspected on the spot, or park inside of a mechanic’s shop if you are already on the road when this problem is discovered.

Driving without a catalytic converter can be dangerous to anybody on the road. Especially if the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning occurs.

      1. Report theft to your insurance

Make sure to get in contact with insurance after a theft. Again, the details and timing are important for both discerning the compensation amount as well as starting the process of getting it. Usually, it’s best to do this as soon as you’ve towed the car and reported the theft to the authorities.

Read Next: Catalytic Converter Scrap Price


In the end, the theft of a catalytic converter will end up being quite an apparent situation. The car will inform you by performing poorly or signifying the missing part with the engine light. Any visit to the mechanic will yield a direct diagnosis which can then be used to handle the issue. You could consider some cheaper repair alternatives too.

We should report the theft and make sure to tow the car away. Driving the car while it’s in such a state can be dangerous not only for the engine but ourselves too. Get in touch with the insurance as well if the policy covers theft to get compensation for the task.

While not all of the issues that stem from theft can be mitigated, such as the cost of replacing the part, at least we’ll cut them down considerably.

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