What is a catalytic converter and why are they all over the news? I am guessing that there is one on a car, but are they on all cars? What's the big deal? Why are people trying to steal them?

Is there any way that you can protect your car? Or are you just going to be out of luck if someone steals your catalytic converter?

So, what is a catalytic converter? Does everyone have one?

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
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According to one of the popular car sites, a catalytic converter is 'an emissions control device.' It is a device on your car that helps to reduce the pollutants and toxins that are coming out of your gasoline powered car when you are driving it. Does everyone have one? Yes, apparently, they became required on cars since the 1970's, so if you have a gas-powered car, you have one. 

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Why do people want to steal them off your car?

Advance Auto Parts
Advance Auto Parts
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The reason that the thieves are so hot to get the one off your car, and allegedly they can be taken off your car in minutes) is because of the metals that are inside the converter. These metals can be sold for scrap, getting the thief a few bucks in their pocket for little time and effort. In fact, the odds are pretty high that the catalytic converter taken off your car won't remain intact for long. It will very quickly be recycled for its parts, and a thief could get a few bucks for it.

What happens if you try to drive your car in New York without a catalytic converter?

Depending on the cop who pulls you over, because of the loud noise you will be making, you can get a citation for driving without the cat and potentially a noise violation. The fines? While they can vary, they are allegedly in the $1000 range.

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