Opinion: Catalytic converter and DPF thefts is an ever-increasing problem

GW columnist, Aaron Phillips is seeing more vehicles in his workshop that have been targeted

Opinion: Catalytic converter and DPF thefts is an ever-increasing problem
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With catalytic converter and DPF thefts on the rise, we all need to be vigilant.

Aaron Phillips of Jackson & Phillips Automotive Services in Leighton Buzzard.

Several of our customers have been victims of this type of crime and it is becoming more and more common.

Thieves are getting more brazen about their approach, jacking up cars at the side of the road and even holding up traffic to get under and to steal CATs and DPFs.

In the past we have fitted CAT lock type devices in order to prevent or at least deter the thefts, however with the cost of this type of device on top of the replacement of the stolen and damaged parts mean the customer often decides to take the risk that it won’t happen again, especially as we have on one occasion fitted this type of device only for the customer to return a few weeks later with the same issue after the cables securing the unit to the van were cut and the DPF still removed.

Related: Garage owner takes to fitting catalytic converter ‘anti-theft’ cages

Recently we have had customers come in describing an exhaust noise or even a whistle, only for us to inform them that their exhaust or at least part of it has been stolen.

One van driver was quite shocked when he bought his Mercedes Sprinter to us with a whistling noise, after inspecting the vehicle, we called him to say his DPF had been stolen, after explaining what a DPF was and why it would have been stolen, the customer informed us that he had parked the van outside his house that night and when he went to use it the next day the only indication of a problem was the whistle.

The way that the exhaust had been removed was such that the open end of the pipe leading from the engine had been closed up so much that the exhaust gases could barely escape resulting in a whistle.

We suspected a pneumatic cutter was used, much like the ‘jaws of life’ that the fire brigade use to cut people out of cars involved in accidents, very organised as this type of tool was neither cheap nor readily available then.

Our most recent experience with this crime came when a customer with a Toyota hybrid parked in our local multi storey car park and went to do some shopping in the town centre, on returning to the car she noticed nothing out of place and drove away, as the car was running on battery power, part way through her journey the engine started and was very loud, on inspection we found that the CAT had been cut at one end and unbolted from the other with the sensor wires being cut meaning a very expensive repair bill.

This time the crime was committed in the middle of the day in a car park with CCTV so there must have been witnesses.

The trouble is would anyone question someone working on a car that may have just broken down?

Share your comments below.

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Home Page Forums Opinion: Catalytic converter and DPF thefts is an ever-increasing problem

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    Chris Morrison

    Definetly a crime escalating out of control. We see one of these incidents every few months. Can be very expensive if aftermarket cats, dpf’s and sensors are not avaible or not up to standard.
    And then not having an exchange unit often means surcharges aswell.
    I wish the government would build 7 new prisons as they did hospitals and take the freedom off these low lives stealing from hard working people.
    Will have to research a good cat/dpf lock manufacture as it’s no good bolting to stable door after the horse has bolted.

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