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Protect yourself against CAT theft

Published: 24/03/12

We’ve already reported the on-going trend for metal theft and relating to this is the problem of Catalytic Converter (CAT) theft.

Catalytic converters reduce pollution-causing emissions as part of the exhaust system. The precious (and valuable) metals that they contain, such as platinum, palladium or rhodium act as catalysts; when hot exhaust enters the converter, a chemical reaction occurs that renders toxic gases, such as carbon monoxide and hydrocarbons, into less harmful emissions.

If your driver gets into the van or truck and instead of the familiar hum of the engine they hear a gravelly roar – then you pretty much know that the CAT has gone. Thieves simply cut the converter from the exhaust pipe of a parked vehicle and sell them on to scrap metal dealers. Vans or trucks are particularly at risk because they typically have a larger ground clearance and make access that bit easier.

You potentially then have the problem of not being able to drive the vehicle – so the cost of a tow, plus the down time whist it’s being fixed and the cost of the new converter. If the thief damages the vehicle's wiring or fuel line in the process, the vehicle could be left in a dangerous state and cost far more to repair.

Reduce the risk

To reduce the risk of this theft:

  • Garage your vehicle whenever possible
  • Park in well-lit busy areas
  • Look out for people working under cars/vans
  • If the vehicle is high risk consider marking the metal shell of the converter with a unique mark, so that if it is removed by thieves it will be easier to trace back to your vehicle.


Marking system

Retainagroup offer a kit consisting of a virtually indestructible sticker, metal marking fluid and a window sticker (to warn thieves that the catalytic converter carries an identification mark). It costs £11.87 including VAT and postage.

Each mark contains a seven digit code and a 24 hour telephone number for the International Security Register which stores the code against vehicle details.
This catalyst marking kit can be ordered from www.TheISR.org or by phoning 01233 333000.

The ISR is owned and run by Retainagroup; a long established British company that has been manufacturing security marking kits for over 30 years.

Once marked, the CAT number is added to their huge database; this can then be accessed by the police if they recover the marked piece. Any individual found in possession of a marked CAT that is reported stolen and recovered will be under arrest.



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