We hate to say it but catalytic converters are hot on the black market. This exhaust system part is made out of metals that are in demand. Those who drive heavy-duty trucks and Toyota Priuses are the most common victims of catalytic converter thefts. This being said, anyone can have their catalytic converter stolen from their automobile if the thief has time to quickly saw the part out.
A Loud and Roaring Engine
You will know that you have become a victim of catalytic converter theft the minute you start your SUV, car, or truck. The first thing that you are going to notice is that your engine is suddenly extremely loud. You will also hear roaring sounds coming from the engine, especially if you press down on the accelerator. This is an indication that the exhaust manifold is forcing the exhaust into the open air.
An Illuminated Check Engine Light
The next thing you’re going to notice is that your check engine light will remain on while the vehicle is running. This is because the sensors that are found in the exhaust system are reporting error codes to the engine control unit because the catalytic converter is missing. A key component of the exhaust system is no longer there. In addition, the exhaust is no longer being treated.
Acceleration That Hiccups
Your vehicle can be driven without the catalytic converter, but we strongly recommend against it. Part of the reason why is that you are going to have performance issues associated with the missing catalytic converter. For example, every time you press down on the accelerator, your automobile will lunge forward. The acceleration is hiccupping or jerking because of the force the exhaust manifold uses to push the exhaust into the converter. The converter isn’t there to absorb this force.
Sputtering at Slow Speeds
Another performance problem is sputtering at slow speeds. For some reason, the engine struggles to produce the torque it needs to run smoothly when you are driving slowly. The engine will be able to produce the torque it needs to drive fast. As such, the engine performance will smooth out as you pick up speed.
Noticeable Exhaust Smells
This being said, the primary reason why you should avoid driving your automobile if the catalytic converter is missing is that the exhaust will make its way into the passenger cabin. When this happens, you will be inhaling your vehicle’s exhaust while you are driving your automobile.
York Tire & Auto Service in Red Lion, PA, recommends that you call the authorities, your insurance company, and then us if someone has stolen the catalytic converter from underneath your automobile.