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I-Team Investigation: Testing device designed to protect catalytic converters from theft

Testing new device designed to protect catalytic converter
Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 6:44 PM EDT
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(WFSB) - Day after day, we report on how catalytic converters are stolen from the undercarriages of cars.

If it gets stolen, it could cost hundreds, if not thousands to replace.

If you knew there was a way to do something about it, would you?

The I-Team is looking at a device that was invented to prevent these thefts from happening.

“I think about it every day,” said Dave Sullivan of Rocky Hill.

With catalytic converter thefts rampant, people are understandably scared.

“They did it. In and out, under 90 seconds,” Sullivan said.

Ryan McCarthy hears these things all the time.

The Groton Tire and Auto Manager said getting a used car is sometimes cheaper than replacing a converter.

“With a big truck like that, the two catalytic converters it’s got on, you’re probably looking at $3,000-$4,00 if you go OEM,” said McCarthy.

In previous reports on catalytic converter thefts, popular YouTuber, Eric the Car Guy told Channel 3 about the Cat Clamp.

The device basically puts a cage around your catalytic converter.

The I-Team picked one up at a local auto parts store for our Ford F-150 for $200.

We had the mechanics at Groton Tire install it and show you how it could thwart thieves.

The cat clamp provides owners with cable, special bolts and the clamp.

Mechanic Bob Rodriguez explained how it works.

“The cables go through. There’s one on the other side of the catalytic converter. The bracket’s here, the cable goes through the hole, go around the crossmembers and the frame, and it gives them a lot more to get through before you get to the actual catalytic converter,” said Rodriguez.

The clamp goes on, the special bolt locks it, then in goes the cable.

“Two brackets, one on either end, there’s the catalytic converter. We shoe stringed the cable back and forth through both brackets, lock them in and hopefully that’ll slow them down,” Rodriguez said.

The installation took less than an hour, but we still had questions.

Will this hinder mechanics if other work needs to be done?

“It shouldn’t be. We keep it pretty tight to the exhaust, pretty out of the way,” McCarthy said.

Will this actually stop a determined thief?

McCarthy said no.

“They can cut it before or after so they can still get to it pretty easily. With a pick-up truck, it’s hard to deter because everything is so large underneath it. It’s hard 100% to guarantee it, but it’ll definitely slow them down,” he said.

“Is this a good investment?” the I-Team asked.

“I would say yeah, absolutely, especially if you don’t have insurance. If it happens to you, it’s going to be a costly expense,” said Rodriguez.

“If you live in an area where you see a lot of catalytic converters getting stolen, it’ll at least make people think twice about taking it from your car,” McCarthy said.

The experts say for $200, the Cat Clamp is a good investment in the sense that while it won’t prevent a theft, it’ll be an extra hurdle, which will likely cause them to move on.

If you’re handy you can install one yourself.

The pros at Groton Tire will charge about an hour’s worth of labor.

While thieves won’t know you took this extra step until they’re already under the car, the company also gives you a sticker to warn them.