If someone had asked me what was so valuable about a Toyota Prius, I sure would not have answered catalytic converter. I would have thought more along the lines of the $1500 to $3000 hybrid battery.
However, thieves have found that catalytic converters on Toyota Prius are easy money. If you have been a victim of this crime, here is what you can do to prevent it from happening again.
What Is A Catalytic Converter
A catalytic converter is a device that takes harmful exhaust gasses and passes them through precious metals. This process cleans up the exhaust and allows us to have cleaner air. They are critical, especially for the Prius, which is a low emission vehicle.
The unit on Prius, comprising of 2 converters, can weigh in at a hefty $1500 or more depending on where you live. In California, due to CARB regulations (California Air Resources Board), you have one option only. The dealer. Other states, such as Florida and New York, have similar laws.
According to Cap City Muffler in Sacramento, California "The dealerships' list price on this converter is $2148, and by the time you replace the hardware that needs to be installed, the front gasket, the 02 sensors, and labor of the installation, you are at roughly $2500.00."
-Cap City Muffler, Owners
Aftermarket catalytic converters are typically less densely packed. While they carry the same precious metals in them, there can be varying amounts of these metals, which can be the deciding factor in how much the converters cost. There are some cheaper options out there but are typically not recommended as they do not last like the OEM converters.
Why Do Thieves Want Them
Thieves want these converters and especially the OEM ones. There are higher levels of these precious metals in them, which, when they get scrapped, can give the thief anywhere from $375 to $850 or more per converter. The precious metals, platinum, palladium, and rhodium. These metals can be made into jewelry and be protective coatings also.
These metals are the reason that thieves want them, and they want the OEM ones. OEM converters are more substantial and carry more dense levels of the metals. Toyota Prius has tightly packed catalytic converters because it is trying to achieve very low tailpipe emissions. So it makes sense for thieves to target the Prius. The converters on them will bring the highest scrap value.
If a pair of "cat thieves" can snag a few of these every day, that can add up to thousands a week. The business can be quite lucrative. Your Toyota Prius is worth more than you think.
What Can Be Done To Protect My Prius
It can take thieves less than three minutes to steal one of these high-cost converters. That is not very long, and most of the thieves make a clean getaway. This puts Prius owners in serious jeopardy.
There used to be no real way to keep thieves from stealing these until now. Enter Cat Security™, a robust aluminum plate that, once installed, provides a strong barrier against catalytic converter theft. Developed by two muffler shop partners in Sacramento, California, this team aims to stop a robbery and provide its customers with peace of mind.
The product is more than just an anti-theft plate, though, it has some other benefits. It is straightforward to install, requiring no welding. It uses the factory studs and comfortably aligns with your Prius undercarriage. Special fasteners also help as a theft deterrent, keeping unwanted hands out of your car. The shield also may help with the aerodynamics of your Prius, as well. The guard could translate into increased fuel economy, though there is no data to support this currently.
Getting A Cat Security Plate For Your Prius
Cap City Muffler in Sacramento California would be happy to install one of these on your Toyota Prius for around $225. The shield is a whole lot cheaper than replacing a $2500 catalytic converter.
If you want one but do not live in the area, no worries, they are available for sale here on Cap Cities website. Not sure how to install it? No problem, take it with you to your next oil change or service appointment and have it installed.
I am thrilled that Cap City has taken a stand against converter theft. This device will help improve the security of your Toyota Prius and hopefully increase your MPG.
By Peter Neilson Nov 17 2019 - 8:51pm
Catalytic converter theft is a real issue. Cap City Muffler in Sacramento, California, has devised a device that keeps these thieves at bay. The best part? There will be a solution for the 2010-2015 Prius as well. Here are your options for keeping your Toyota Prius converter safe and secure.
Not sure what a catalytic converter is or why thieves want them? Check out my other article here that explains all of those questions you have.
Cap City Muffler, The Who Behind The What
Cap City Muffler only uses CARB approved OEM certified catalytic converters. The owner has been in business for over 20 years now. They also specialize in catalytic converters as well.
Cap City known for its high-performance exhaust systems that have earned them a name that people can trust. Keeping their prices low by doing larger volumes allows Cap City to give the most affordable and best product to its consumers.
Initially, they had planned to use converters to keep business steady during downtime in the economy. Though things changed once they saw the need to help keep people safe from thieves who wanted these precious converters. This “help” mentality is where the owner had a brilliant idea for the Cat Shield.
What Is A Cat Shield?
A Cat Shield is, only that, A protector. It is for the underside of your Toyota Prius that protects the catalytic converter from thieves.
This idea came to the owner as he had replaced multiple Toyota Prius catalytic converters. The customers were coming in after having the “cats” stolen and were forced, due to CARB regulations to buy an OEM catalytic converter.
The cost that these people had to shell out was enormous. A 2004- 2009 Toyota Prius or 2nd generation typically costs around $2500 once purchased and installed. If you own a 3rd generation, hold on to your shorts. A replacement OEM converter for a 2010 to 2015 Toyota Prius comes in at a hefty $5,000. Ouch. Now imagine if you had to pay for that not once, but twice.
This string of thefts cost one 2nd gen Prius owner $5,000 after having her catalytic converters stolen twice. She was forced to rent a unit where she could lock up her Prius, just because of some thieves who wanted to make a quick buck. Ridiculous.
Insurance companies should give discounts to Prius owners that install these also. It would keep the vehicle safer and potentially increase the value of the car.
Where Can I Get One Of These Fancy Shields
Currently, Cap City is in just a handful of Toyota dealers in the California Sacramento area. As the word spreads, though, dealers would be foolish not to carry these. The shields are also sold in-house at the shop right there in Sacramento. Do a quick Google search, and you will be able to find them easily. It is important
They also sell them online from their website and will do onsite installs. Cap city is expanding and gaining traction in Toyota dealers as the demand for catalytic convertor protection increases.
It is important to note that Cap City is taking preorders for Gen 3 Prius and is going to be using some of the profits from the sales of Gen 2 and 3 to do development. Prius C and V shields are on the mind of the owner, but not available at this time.
The 2004-2009 Toyota Prius Cat Shield
Here is a picture of the 2nd generation cat shield. The cost is about $225, and installation costs may vary depending on who is installing it for you.
The 2010-2015 Toyota Prius Cat Shield
This new addition to the Cat Shield family is pretty recent. Due to the high cost of replacement cat converter on the 3rd generation Toyota Prius, Cap City knew they had to stay ahead of thieves.
Cap City offers any Toyota dealer that would like to do business an opportunity to help customers. Cap City currently has two Toyota Dealerships and five other shops that carry Cat Shield. They are looking for more distributors to help distribute. If you are interested, send them a message here on their website.
Thank you for reading. I hope you have had a great weekend. More importantly, I hope that your Prius has been safe. Be sure to check out my other story, Corolla Hybrid May End Prius Production.
Also Watch New tech means more MPG from your Toyota Prius and Click to Subscribe to Torque News Youtube Channel for Daily Toyota Prius and Automotive News.
Peter Neilson is an automotive consultant specializing in electric cars and hybrid battery technologies. He holds a Bachelor of Science in Automotive Service Technology from Weber State University. Peter is also an Instructor of Automotive Technology at Columbia Basin College. Peter can be reached on Linkedin and you can tweet him at The_hybrid_guy on Twitter. Find his page on Facebook at Certified Auto Consulting