Mechanic Talking(l+r), Catalytic converter(C)


‘Prius and Tundras are on thieves’ radars’: Mechanic shows the real reason thieves steal catalytic converters—and what you can do to protect your car

‘These people will literally climb underneath your car…’


Heather Stewart


In a viral TikTok video, a car mechanic (@alexthecardoctor) shared why people steal catalytic converters, and how to keep thieves from taking it.

The converters make a vehicle’s pollutants less harmful to the environment. This car part is located near the engine on the underbelly of a car.

“Catalytic converters are precious metals,” the mechanic says. 

According to the National Automobile Dealers Association, catalytic converter thefts increased by almost 900% between 2019 and 2023. Although over the last few years, they have been on the decline.

On the black market, people sell these converters for up to $350. 

In the car doctor’s TikTok, he holds shiny metal fragments.

The part is made up of platinum, palladium, and rhodium.

“They were stealing the rhodium,” one commenter speculated. 

According to Strategic Metals Invest, rhodium is worth about $165 per gram.

“This is the stuff they want,” he says. “These people will literally climb underneath your car, cut your exhaust off, sometimes in broad daylight, for that stuff.” 

How can I protect my car from catalytic converter theft?

In the TikTok, the mechanic also mentions one way to possibly ward off thieves: catalytic converter cages.

According to the San Francisco Deputy Sheriff’s Association, the cages are effective and worth the investment. 

California had the most catalytic converter thefts in 2023—followed by Texas and New York—according to AIS insurance.

In the comments of the mechanic’s TikTok, viewers gave different suggestions to keep people from stealing catalytic converters.

“A customer put razor wires on theirs,” one viewer commented. “It’s overkill, but it works.”

“I’ve seen people use barbed wire for cages,” another wrote. 

Others shared their experiences as victims of this type of theft. 

“Someone tried stealing mine,” a commenter said. “I caught ‘em, but they messed everything up so now I had to cut everything off and put a muffler on with no welds.” 

A muffler lessens the amount of noise that a vehicle emits.

“Prius and tundras are on thieves radars,” another viewer wrote. 


This is Why Theives Steal Catalytic Converters

♬ original sound – Alex The Car Doctor

According to 2022 data from CarFax, Toyota Priuses are the fourth most targeted cars for catalytic converter theft. The other most target vehicles are Ford F-150s, Ford Explorers, Honda Accords and Honda CR-Vs, respectively. However, Toyota Tundras are not on the top 10 list.

The mechanic (@alexthecardoctor) did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot’s request for comment.

The Daily Dot