Catalytic converter theft

Catalytic converter theft: what you need to know

The theft of catalytic converters from cars isn’t a new crime, but it has increased significantly in 2019.

Police forces around the UK, including those in West Yorkshire, London and Nottinghamshire, are advising owners of any car fitted with a catalytic converter to take precautions.

Any car fitted with a catalytic converter within the exhaust system could be at risk. In the case of Lexus, we are aware that second-generation Lexus RX 400h models (2005-2008) have been a target for thieves.

Below we’ve gathered the best advice for Lexus owners who may be concerned.

What is a catalytic converter? 

The catalytic converter is part of the car’s emissions control system. It cleans up the exhaust gases before they are expelled from the car through the exhaust pipe. Its internal elements react with the gases, breaking them down into less harmful substances and water vapour. All cars sold in Europe since 1993 have had to be fitted with catalytic converter by law.

Why are they a target for thieves?

The police are best placed to offer advice on the motivation behind crimes. But we understand that the recycling value of catalytic converters is the primary attraction to thieves because it contains precious metals such as rhodium, platinum and palladium.

What is Lexus doing to stop its cars being targeted?

We’re doing all we can. We’ve shared police guidance with customers, and are seeking technical solutions, although for obvious reasons we would like to refrain from talking about specifics.

We are also working with the police, as well as talking to government about changes in the law around scrap metal sales that would make it harder for criminals to sell stolen catalysts for cash.

However, these are criminal operations and our scope is therefore limited. A number of police forces are taking action and some forces, such as Nottinghamshire, are also starting awareness campaigns. It is vitally important for anyone who is a victim of this crime to report it to their local police force as quickly as possible.

In the main it remains older cars that are targeted because advances in efficiency and technology mean the latest generations of Toyota catalytic converters contain vastly lower amounts of precious metals, whilst still doing their job just as well or even better; this means their value for recycling is very low and they are not attractive to thieves.

How much does it cost to replace a catalytic converter?

Our priority is to do all we can to support Lexus customers who have been the victims of catalytic converter theft.

We have reduced the prices of catalytic converters to a level where Lexus UK does not make any profit from their supply to.

Our reduced price for the installation of a new catalytic converter for the second-generation Lexus RX 400h is now £750 including VAT and fitting. Your nearest Lexus centre can advise on any additional repair costs after inspecting your vehicle.

How long will I have to wait for replacement parts?

The rapid rise in this crime is one we could not have envisaged set against many years of low incidence of thefts. It has impacted our ability to source a sufficient quantity of replacement parts, for which we sincerely apologise.

However, we are taking urgent action with our suppliers to secure increased supplies, which we hope will allow us to effectively tackle the supply issue and repair customers’ cars more quickly.

Who can I contact if I’m worried about my Lexus?

We recommend using our locator tool to find your nearest Lexus centre and contact them to discuss the next steps for your car.

This article was last updated on 2 December 2019, so some of the responses to reader comments below have been superseded by more recent information.

Comments (189)

  1. Hello
    My catalytic converter of RX400h was stolen a day ago. I didn’t know it until police informed me this morning!
    I read all the comments here and note it’s a significant issue for this type of models.

    Why didn’t Lexus warn owners of this specific model as they are at higher risk?(Acknowledge other models are also at risk).

    Please warn relevant owners asap to take practical precautions and to minimise the risk of it happening again!

    Thank you

    1. Hi there,

      Thanks for getting in touch. We are so sorry you have been impacted by this crime. We deeply appreciate your concerns over this type of theft and would like to put you in touch with our customer relations team. Our team are best placed to answer any queries you may have and we will email you directly to discuss this in more detail.

      Thanks.

        1. Hi Samson,

          Thanks for getting back in touch. We don’t currently offer a Catloc device for any Lexus vehicles, however we are urgently seeking other technical solutions to help our customers.

          Thanks.

    1. Hi Samson,

      Thanks for getting in touch. Replacement catalytic converters can be ordered via your nearest Lexus centre whose details you will be able to find here: https://www.lexus.co.uk/forms/find-a-centre

      We will also email you directly to gain additional details of you situation in order to put you in touch with our customer relations team who will be able to support you further.

      Thanks.

  2. My Mum (who has a Lexus service plan) has just had her catalytic convertor stolen today from her Lexus RX400h in a supermarket car park. We are also baffled why she has never had an email from Lexus warning of this awful crime! I have put her email and name in the contact box. Could customer relations please get in touch with her ASAP please.

    1. Hi Moira,

      Thanks for your message. We are so sorry to hear your mum has been impacted by this crime. Our customer relations team are assessing cases on an individual basis so as to provide the best support, and they will be in touch as soon as possible.

      Thanks.

  3. catalytic converter of RX400h was just 12 hours ago, i just parked my car and came back after 15-20 minutes and catalytic converter gone already , they are very professional to steal it.

    1. Hi Adem,

      Thanks for getting in touch. We are so sorry to hear about this. We appreciate the severity of this situation and are working to support all our customers who have been affected by this crime. We will email you directly to gain additional details and put you in touch with our customer relations team.

      Thanks.

  4. I have just been a victim of this awful crime, completely gutted that my lovely car has been stolen from, not to mention the cost of putting it right, I was in a retail car park in Cheltenham, a place I visit often as down the road from where I work, I was only there 15/20 minutes max, can’t believe this has happened. Why have I not been warned

    1. Hi Lynn,

      Thanks for getting in touch. We are so sorry you have been a victim of this crime. Our customer relations team will be able to support you further in any way we can and we will email you directly to discuss this with you.

      Thanks.

  5. Hi
    You mention a specific Model and a Date range above so does this mean a new NX for example is not likely to be a “target” … and more to the point do the vermin doing this know that ?

    1. Hi Bill,

      Thanks for getting in touch. Due to the high-grade power saws used to remove the catalyst, in theory any car with a catalytic converter is at risk of theft.

      Thanks.

  6. It’s not just Lexus, this is a huge problem that’s not going away. The UK police need to do more in general. SInce October 2019 we have had our cat stolen from our Honda CR-V twice and also our Honda Civic THREE ATTACKS! We have lost both our cars and are being forced to change our plans and move house to escape the fear of being targeted a fourth time.They just wont leave us alone. It’s meant I will likely have to close my business for moving. Utter disgust for the pieces of filth who freely conduct themselves in this cowardly and sensless way. Spineless.

  7. I had my stolen on the 10th
    I have had to go through my insurance company! Now I’m worried about it happening again! Once my car is fixed and returned
    Please can you advise on the best catalytic prevention system on the market ? There’s so many and I don’t want to buy a load of rubbish that’s won’t work!
    Many thanks

    1. Hi Jennifer,

      Thanks for getting in touch with us. We are so sorry to hear about this. Our customer relations team are best placed to answer questions and to help you further with this. We will email you directly to gain additional details in regards to opening a case on your behalf.

      Thanks.

    2. We feel exactly the same – we had ours stolen in the last 24 hours but reluctant to spend the money on a new one in case they come back.

      1. Hi There,

        Thanks for getting in touch with us about this. We are so sorry you have been a victim of this crime. We will email you directly in order to gain additional details and put you in touch with our customer relations team.

        Thanks.

  8. RX400h driver here, CAT stolen on 5th November 2019. Replaced via Insurance and 9 days after the car is returned to me the CAT stolen again yesterday. This is epidemic levels yet no-one can provide a viable deterrent. The irony here is that most of the precious metals in these stolen CATs ends up back in new CATs. Come up with a better location for the CAT or a better solution, not just ‘contact your local Lexus service centre’.

    1. Hi There,

      Thanks for getting in touch. We are incredibly sorry to hear about this. We will email you directly in order to gain additional details of your situation in order to put you in touch with our customer relations team who will be able to help you further.

      Thanks.

  9. Lexus as usually skyrockets the prices for everything done at their centre, £750 is that no profit to Lexus ? They are laughing on us, people stop using them unless it’s a minor service, they are the biggest thieves.
    They tried to charge me over £6000 for what’s at local garage £600.
    My catalyst converter stolen today, local garage supplies and fits Chinese catalyst converter on the day for £250

    1. Hi Alex,

      Thanks for getting in touch. We are so sorry to hear about this. We would like to help you further by putting you in touch with our customer relations team. They are best placed to discuss your situation with you in more detail and provide you with support in any way we can. We will email you directly in order to gain additional details and open a case with them on your behalf.

      Thanks.

    2. Hi Alex,

      Could you please give me the details of your garage? I am going through the same issue and it is very expensive to fix at Lexus.

  10. 2nd catalytic convertor stolen from my RX400h (2008) in the last 4 months. I waited three months for the last one to come in and now this has happened again. This was in a retail outlet car park, and it took 1 minute from when I drove into the car park for it to be stolen. I’m so upset by this, and the inconvenience it will cause. I need to sell this car now, once fixed, as I can’t afford the inconvenience this is causing. I just hope the part is available quicker than last time.

    1. Hi Sanj,

      Thanks for getting in touch with us. We are incredibly sorry to hear you have been a victim of this crime for a second time. We are doing all we can to support our customers in this and we will email yo directly in order to gain additional details and put you in touch with our customer relations team.

      We can also now confirm that Catlocs are available for RX400h and the Lexus CT. We would recommend contacting your nearest Lexus centre for more information. You can find your nearest centre via this link: https://www.lexus.co.uk/forms/find-a-centre

      Thanks.

      1. Thank You – I have sent a message through to customer relations. I don’t think there is anything you can really do unless you alter the design and provide a catloc as default. When I called Lexus they said a catloc was £250….

  11. Had mine stolen last night on my drive RX 400H ..Lexus your price is way too much £750 You have to better for your customers..Why were we not informed more of this epidemic .

    1. Hi Gaz,

      Thanks for getting in touch. We are so sorry to hear you have been a victim of this crime. We would like to help you further by putting you in touch with our customer relations team and we will email you directly regarding this.

      Thanks.

  12. I had mine stolen yesterday, from Leatherhead Station Car Park.
    When I phoned my nearest Lexus dealer and asked about the reduced replacement price of £750, they hadn’t heard of it.
    They had a reduced price of £821.54 for the part, and with labour they quoted a total of £935.
    Either the information in the article above is wrong or the information hasn’t been rolled out to all of the dealerships. Either way it isn’t great.

    1. Hi Mark,

      Thanks for getting in touch. We are so sorry you have been impacted by this crime. We appreciate your concerns and will email you directly in order to gain additional details and open a case with our customer relations team on your behalf. They are best placed to help with your queries.

      Thanks.

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