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The most valuable part of your car right now... is actually on the outside

Posted at 3:53 PM, May 11, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 11:28:15-04

BRAZOS VALLEY, TX — A national issue of auto theft is urging legislators in the lone star state to increase requirements on resellers of a certain car part.

A catalytic converter is a car part that’s a hefty cost to fix. The Brazos Valley, now one of many locations to witness a rise in people stealing them.

The National Insurance Crime Bureau is trying to bring awareness to this issue by urging legislators in Texas to support House Bill 4110.

A local mechanic shop is all too familiar with this problem.

“The ones that are getting stolen the most are the ones that have two converters,” said Johnny Uresti, service manager at Pete's Auto Care Center.

This house bill will increase regulation of recycling metals and criminal penalties.

Depending on the vehicle, this can vary, but a victim of this theft looks at a pretty large bill to replace the part.

“The Dodge I just replaced, typically, that’s like about a $5,000 dollar repair including the price in labor, but it can range. The part itself can be in the 5–8-hundred-dollar range or over 2,000 thousand dollars for just the part,” added Uresti. ”What people are doing is their using Sawzall's or some type of cutting tool to just cut them off the vehicle,”

According to the NICB, some insurers may not cover this damage because it was not caused by an accident and advise those impacted to contact your insurance company for options available to your case.

The metals used to make a catalytic converter have recently risen in value.

”The reason they keep going up in prices is because the price in metals are going up a lot and they're made out of platinum, I think rhodium, and palladium inside and that’s what makes them so valuable,” said Uresti.

The NICB says since Dec 2020, Palladium costs a little over two thousand per ounce

Platinum can go for close to one thousand dollars per ounce

And rhodium is the greatest in value at 14,500 per ounce.

Local law enforcement officials say the increase in crime occurred at around this time.

”It was something that was kind of unrecognized here, locally, we had sporadic incidents and reports of it being done but in 2021 and maybe the end of 2020, we did see more of an increase in it happening,” said Kole Taylor, the City of Bryan Police Department PIO.

There are things you can do to prevent yourself or those around you from becoming a victim.

“Like most thefts, it’s by it’s by opportunity so if you’re parking somewhere where there’s not a lot of lighting or it’s exposed and someone can quickly get in your vehicle underneath your vehicle and get out, that’s going to be a factor,” added Uresti.

Bryan PD also recommends, if you can, invest in a car alarm. And if you happen to see suspicious activity surrounding vehicles in your neighborhood don’t hesitate to call it in.

According to Bryan PD in recent months there have not been as many cases reported as earlier this year and they hope to continue seeing this downward trend.