Will your car work if the catalytic converter is stolen

Will.an audi a4 b7 pass emissions without a catalytic converter

Yes, it is still legal to drive with no catalytic converter present; however, Buckeye Complete Auto Care strongly discourages it.

Once a catalytic converter is missing, your exhaust manifold may push more exhaust into the outside air, increasing the risk of you inhaling toxic fumes while driving and becoming sick or worse. Here are a few indicators that your exhaust system no longer contains one:

Why are catalytic converters stolen?


Your vehicle’s catalytic converter is an integral component, designed to reduce emissions-related pollution and toxic gasses produced by its emissions system.

To accomplish this process, the catalytic converter uses precious metals such as platinum, rhodium, and palladium – although unfortunately, some individuals have taken to stealing catalytic converters from cars in order to sell these metals as scrap.

what happens to your car if the catalytic converter is stolen

Although catalytic converter theft has been on the rise for some time, recent increases may be the result of economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic outbreak.

Also, due to reduced pedestrian foot traffic during this time frame, thieves may feel more secure about taking such risks; all it takes is minutes for someone to rip out your catalytic converter and leave you with thousands in damage costs.

Read Also Would a plugged catalytic converter make the car louder

which cars are most likely to have catalytic converters stolen

Catalytic converter theft has become a worldwide epidemic, and no particular car type is exempt. Certain vehicles are targeted more often due to materials used in their converters or their height off the ground allowing easier access.

Law enforcement and insurance reports reveal that catalytic converter thieves tend to target vehicles like the Toyota Prius, Honda Element, Toyota Tacoma, Ford F-250/350s, and Chevrolet Express as being more vulnerable. Any car with a catalytic converter could become vulnerable.

Thieves can sell stolen converters to scrap yards at up to $700 each – leaving Prius owners with bills up to $2,000.

Protecting your vehicle requires taking measures, such as parking it in a secure area and installing a catalytic converter theft prevention device.

why do people steal catalytic converters?

People steal catalytic converters because they contain precious metals such as platinum, palladium, and rhodium that can fetch a high price on the black market.

Thieves can quickly unbolt them from cars using simple tools before selling their stolen parts to scrap dealers or recycling centers for sale at a profit.

Recent years have witnessed an upswing in demand for precious metals as emissions regulations increase the demand for catalytic converters in new vehicles and the electronics industry demand rises.

Furthermore, due to this demand spike, their value has skyrocketed as demand surged from other sectors such as aerospace engineering.

Unfortunately, catalytic converter theft has become an increasing problem and thieves frequently target cars parked in public areas or residential neighborhoods to make quick work of taking the part without detection.

Many car owners have taken measures such as installing anti-theft devices such as protective shields or alarms in order to deter thieves from stealing their catalytic converters.

Also, Read Would bad catalytic converter cause misfire

What Happens When You Drive Without A Catalytic Converter?

Customers looking for ways to recover stolen catalytic converters often ask themselves, “Can I drive without my catalytic converter?”

Yes and no. While technically a car could operate without a catalytic converter, long-term sustainability would likely prove challenging. Here are some challenges associated with driving without one:

Loud Vehicle Noises and Missing Catalytic Converter

A stolen catalytic converter will leave a trail of loud vehicle noises behind when driving without it, such as when starting up or giving your vehicle gas. Without your converter in place, driving without it may sound like your engine is roaring – particularly when beginning or giving more gas than normal.

Rough Driving and Acceleration

Without its exhaust being properly managed, your car’s drivetrain will become less smooth. Your engine typically pushes exhaust through a catalytic converter; without this component in place, engine emissions may push forcefully out through its tailpipe, leading to uneven acceleration that’s both uncomfortable and abrupt.

Are Your Annual Vehicle Inspection Failure

Without your catalytic converter, your NC safety and emissions inspections will fail simultaneously. While failing the latter may seem obvious, an absence of catalytic converter may make your safety inspection impossible to pass as well.

Your annual safety inspection includes an exhaust system check to detect removed and altered components such as your catalytic converter, as well as your muffler, exhaust pipe, PCP valve, EGR valve, among others.

Therefore, renewing your vehicle registration without a catalytic converter is no longer possible. For more information regarding exhaust system checks during an annual safety inspection please see our list of what should be inspected here.

Harmful Car Emissions

Your catalytic converter is named as such because of its function: to convert toxic byproducts such as hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides into less harmful ones – like water vapor and carbon dioxide. Without it, your vehicle would no longer filter and reduce emissions like hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxides and carbon monoxide that have an impactful environmental footprint – not to mention air quality issues in your garage when parking! These harmful pollutants could even make their way inside.

Would a chevy 350 run bad without a catalytic converter

What To Do When Your Catalytic Converter Is Stolen

Contact the Authorities

If your catalytic converter goes missing, it is imperative that you notify authorities immediately. They can investigate local security cameras to see if anyone is caught stealing it, while providing police reports may help to cover your insurance policies as a part of this step.

Contact Your Insurance Company

Depending on the coverage provided to you by your car insurance, catalytic converter replacement could be covered under its policy. Contacting your agent could help identify available options and whether or not coverage exists for replacement costs.

Visit a Mechanic

At this point, bring your vehicle to a mechanic for service. An expert can discuss repair options with you and help prevent you from driving without your catalytic converter.

How can I protect my car from catalytic converter theft?

Insurance companies, mechanics, and police departments have recommended various anti-theft measures designed to deter would-be thieves. “This approach takes an integrative approach,” explained Glawe.

When your vehicle isn’t being used, it’s best to keep it away from public view. If possible, park it in a garage; for those without one, aim for well-lit areas where security cameras could be installed or somewhere that allows for video monitoring.

How can you tell when your catalytic converter has been stolen? @UrbanAutomotiveOakville Video Answer


In conclusion, if your car’s catalytic converter is stolen, it may still function, but there are some potential consequences. Without a catalytic converter, your car may produce higher emissions, fail an emissions test, and have reduced fuel efficiency. Additionally, driving without a catalytic converter may be illegal in your area and could result in fines. Therefore, it’s important to get your catalytic converter replaced as soon as possible if it’s been stolen.

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