Columbus, OH (WCMH) — Catalytic converter theft has been a serious and costly threat to car owners for years.

According to data from CARFAX, as many as 153,000 catalytic converters were stolen from vehicles across the United States in 2022.

“The way that they operate is, they have three, very specific precious metals in them: platinum, palladium, and rhodium,” said Patrick Olsen, Editor-In-Chief of CARFAX. “Platinum and palladium, about a month ago, were trading about $1,000 per ounce. Rhodium was trading about $10,000 an ounce.”

Olsen said that thieves can make anywhere from $25 to $300 for a standard catalytic converter, but ones from hybrid vehicles can sell for up to $1,400.

“Their catalytic converters are more valuable because, since their engine doesn’t get as hot as a conventional engine, they need more precious metals in their catalytic converter,” Olsen said.

It’s not just hybrids that are at risk of catalytic converter theft, though. CARFAX released a list of the top 10 cars targeted in the Midwest. The Honda CR-V, Chevrolet Equinox and Ford F-Series truck were in the top three.

“For SUVs and trucks, it’s easy for the thieves to get underneath them and get to that catalytic converter, and that’s what makes them so appealing,” Olsen said.

Olsen said sometimes all it takes is 60 seconds for the theft to happen. So, is there anything that can be done to prevent it?

“There’s no silver bullet, there’s no known equipment you can put on there, but there are a few things you can do,” Olsen said. “If you can, park it in a garage. That is the best way to make sure you’re going to stay safe.”

If that’s not possible?

“Park in a well-lit area, and a well-traveled area, where there’s a lot of people around,” Olsen said.

And consider comprehensive insurance coverage.

“The theft of a catalytic converter is not going to be covered by your liability insurance,” Olsen said. “So, for a lot of people that have paid off your car loan, and who only have liability insurance because that’s all that the law requires, they may find themselves out of pocket, $1,000, $2,000, $3,000 for a new converter.”

Law enforcement and law makers are also cracking down on catalytic converter thefts across the country and in central Ohio.