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 since 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) and the Lexus CT 200h 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 customers.

Your nearest Lexus centre can advise on exact 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.

443 comments

  1. CT200H owner. Catalytic converter nicked yesterday 14/11/20. same old story. Front grill smacked and converter ripped out. Sainsbury’s car park Woodford. No CCTV. Uggh

    1. If you send a link to Lexus make sure it goes to someone who is taking action – not just a page of inappropriate links

      1. Hello Douglas,
        The Lexus links provided either go straight to our Customer Relations form or to the Concierge Tool, through which the form can be accessed.
        Thanks.

    2. Mine was taken in woodford between the 30th and 1st. Like you, front grill smashed in 2 places and converter ripped out.

      £500 excess on insurance and no claims screwed because of poor design and lexus not doing anything about this by pre-emptively by offering the anti theft device out to all customers, a notification or warning would be been nice at least.

      I have only had the car 3 weeks and feel let down by lexus.

      1. Hi Rosi,
        We are so sorry to hear this and appreciate the distress this must have caused.
        We would recommend reporting this to the Police, as with any crime.
        They will be able to advise further on this process.
        Thanks.

  2. What a terrible situation to be in . Insurance are unable to provide a coutesey car because they missed it off the quote. The Lexus garage don’t have a date for parts arriving. Poor design placing a Catalytic convertor in the exhaust . You would think that Lexus would help its cutsomers but they seem oblivinat to the whole process. In the meantime you are paying for a car that’s not even being used.

    1. Hello Dan,
      Thank you for getting in contact. We are so sorry to hear that your vehicle has been targeted by thieves.
      Should you wish to discuss your situation in greater detail, we would recommend contacting our Customer Relations team, who are best placed to offer further support and advice.
      They can be contacted here: https://www.lexus.co.uk/forms/customer-relations-contact-us?enquiry_type=general
      We are truly sorry for any distress caused by this terrible crime.
      Thanks.

    2. I will be contacting you .
      Its important for Lexus to listen to its customers .
      Designing an external Catalytic Convertor means that they easily rip it out .
      Sadly the customers will pay for the damage through their insurance . Lexus will just blame it on supplier issues but this issue has been going on for some time. Nobody in their right mind would take out a financial agreement and not have use of the car . In terms of the brand all these models should be recalled and the customers compensated for their loss.

        1. Hello David,
          Thank you for getting in touch.
          We have reduced the precious metal content of the catalytic converters in our newer hybrids, making them less attractive to thieves.
          Thanks.

        2. Lexus I don’t think fitting a Cat Lock is the answer it just takes them a little longer to break in.
          Please address this issue seriously it is a matter of health and safety if someone is face with these tooled up thieves.
          By ignoring our complaints like this it it doing harm to your customer relations .Simply “Not Amazing”.

          1. Hello Dan,
            We are certainly taking all complaints from our customers seriously.
            Our Customer Relations team are best placed to discuss your situation further with you, so we would suggest contacting them should you wish to raise this.
            Thanks.

    3. I have the same experience the links go nowhere there was no reply . I tried to call the finance people and they don’t answer or cut you off after a long time . It seems they can blame covid for anything .

      1. Hello Dan,
        We apologise that you have had difficulties in contacting us.
        The link that was sent to you in our previous reply leads to the ‘Contact Us’ page, and we have checked that this is indeed a working link.
        By filling out this form, you will be able to contact our Customer Relations team.
        We have relinked the form here: https://www.lexus.co.uk/forms/customer-relations-contact-us?enquiry_type=general
        Should you wish to contact our team by phone, you can do so using this number: 0345 129 5484
        Thanks.

    4. Terrible situation!! Revolting! A had mine stolen from my car today, Lexus never emailed me about this, but were not eager to help either, no space to take my car the price for a new one is over a thousand! Insurance will take this a claim!

  3. It appears that the thieves are not aware that the newer models contain less precious metals, so all Lexus cars are liable to be targeted. Would it not be useful to all model owners, if Lexus produce an anti-thief device irrespective of year and model.

    1. Hello Neil,
      Thank you for contacting us and for your suggestion.
      Official Lexus CatLocs are only produced for vehicles considered to be most at risk, as these are the vehicles that are being targeted. However, universal Catlocs are available to fit any vehicle.
      Thanks.

  4. Hi,
    My Lexus GS450H 2007 Cat Converter was stolen yesterday 11am. Is there an official Cat protection from Lexus for this model?

    1. Hi Ife,
      Thank you for getting in touch. We are so sorry to hear that you have been a victim of this crime.
      There is no official CatLoc currently available for the GS.
      If you would like to discuss your situation in further detail, you can contact our Customer Relations team here: https://www.lexus.co.uk/concierge-tool/contact-us/
      Once again, we are so sorry to hear that your vehicle has been targeted by thieves.
      Thanks.

  5. My Catalytic Converter was stolen Today evening 7.50pm is 300h 2015 model . I am completely confused and extremely frustrated.what can I do?

    1. Hello N.mohan,
      Thank you for contacting us. We are so sorry to hear that you have been a victim of this crime.
      As this is a crime, it is important that you report this to the police.
      You will also need to contact your insurance company as well as your nearest Lexus centre in order to have this replaced.
      If you would like to discuss your situation further, our Customer Relations team are best placed to do so with you.
      They can be contacted here: https://www.lexus.co.uk/forms/customer-relations-contact-us?enquiry_type=general
      Once again, we are really sorry that your vehicle has been targeted.
      Thanks.

    2. Thats very sad to hear. I thought the IS300h had its catalytic converter partially concealed under the engine bay and was not exposed? Lexus really need to find a soloution as it seems that all their cars are being targeted irrespective of model or age. They really need to offer their customers a solution to this problem!

      1. Hello HK,
        Thank you for your comment.
        Criminals are using high-grade power saws to remove the catalyst, so in reality they are as easy to remove from any vehicle. The design is not so relevant.
        We have produced CatLocs for vehicles considered to be most at risk as well as other devices such as component etching, bolt caps and tilt sensors to try and protect customers from further attacks.
        Thanks.

  6. My mums catalytic converter had been stolen on 4th November 2020. Lexus still haven’t got the part to fix. It has been 7 weeks and no update. This is absolutely shocking. We demand an update. What is going on? When can we expect Lexus to fix this issue!?

    1. Hello Nabil,
      Thank you for getting in touch. We are really sorry to hear this.
      We can see that you have been in contact with our Customer Relations team and that they are currently looking into this for you, so we would recommend continuing to correspond with them for further support with your query.
      Thanks.

  7. The cat has just been stolen from my ct200h 2011 model. Is there any cat lock or other protective measure available for this model?

    1. Hello Shah,
      Thank you for contacting us. We are so sorry to hear that you have been a victim of this awful crime.
      There is a CatLoc available for the CT at a cost of £250, and this can be ordered through your nearest Lexus centre.
      You can find your nearest centre, here: https://www.lexus.co.uk/forms/find-a-centre
      If you would like to discuss your specific situation in further detail, our Customer Relations team are best placed to do so with you.
      They can be contacted here: https://www.lexus.co.uk/concierge-tool/contact-us/
      Once again, we are truly sorry to hear that your vehicle has been targeted by thieves.
      Thanks.

          1. Thanks, my local Lexus dealer won’t fit one for less than £300. Still, it comes with peace of mind when fitted.

    2. same thing happend to my CT200h, on 8/01/2021 at 9.45pm, we heard a noise and came out of the house, and got attacked with power tools etc. etc. luckily none of us were hurt. it is a team of 5 guys in a black car.

  8. my CT200H’s catalytic converter was removed on 8/01/2021 at 9.45pm with other damage also, we noticed it happening , my self and sons came out and were attacked, with huge power tools and other items, luckily no one was injured. if someone is faced with these tooled up thieves it becomes a very serious matter (of health and safety) and lexsus needs to recall and fit something that can solve the problem, and a proper tilt sensor and cat lock needs to be fitted,at no cost.
    Later the same night a few roads away another CT200H was also targeted, the owner was forced to stay in his house, as he opened his front door, a man stood with an iron bar in front of him and told to stay inside, or else, while the crime took place.

    so why is lexus doing nothing to fix this issue, are they waiting for somone to get amputated or die?

    1. Hello Bal,
      Thank you for contacting us. We are so sorry to hear that your vehicle has been targeted by thieves.
      The first thing we would recommend doing is reporting this to the Police, especially if you have been attacked, as this is a matter for them to investigate.
      There is a CatLoc available for the CT, and these are produced at zero profit to Lexus UK. However, the price is £250.
      You can contact your nearest Lexus centre to order one, or if you wish to discuss your specific situation in further detail, you can contact our Customer Relations team.
      They are best placed to offer any necessary support, and they can be reached here: https://www.lexus.co.uk/forms/customer-relations-contact-us?enquiry_type=general
      Once again, we are truly sorry for the distress this must have caused.
      Thanks.

  9. Hi, guys. Roughly 2am an Alfa Romeo 57 plate pulled up outside my house. (Ilford) I heard a noisy engine which was unusual for this time of night. Think he saw me move the curtain and drove away. 10mins later he pulled up again and took a picture of my car and drove away. I have a CT & GS so for these scum bags it can be a double wammy! Currently sitting in my car as i won’t be able to sleep and will try find a solution in the morning grrrrrr

    1. Hello Drake,
      Thank you for your comment.
      If you are concerned about your vehicle, we would recommend contacting the Police to raise these.
      There is also a CatLoc available for the CT, and these can be ordered through your nearest Lexus centre at the price of £250.
      Thanks.

      1. As you can see many many users of the CT are suffering because Lexus failed to cover the cat and now your only solution for us is to fork out £250? + there is a 2 week waiting time at the dealer. What is Lexus doing to help us? NOTHING! I have also contacted the police and was given a crime ref and was advised to dial 999 and would be dealt with as a priority call to HOPEFULLY catch these scum bags! I now have to take on some form of super hero role to protect my asset and report them

        1. Hello Drake,
          Thank you for your reply.
          We have engaged with local MPs, the Home Office, the Met Police and the National Lead for vehicle crime to try and identify issues with existing legislation.
          We have also produced theft deterrent devices such as CatLocs to try and protect our customers from further attacks, although criminals with high-grade power tools can be difficult to completely protect against.
          As with any crime, reporting this to the Police to attempt to catch the perpetrators is standard procedure and is something that we would always advise.
          Our Customer Relations team are best placed to discuss your situation further with you should you wish to, and they can be contacted here: https://www.lexus.co.uk/forms/customer-relations-contact-us?enquiry_type=general
          Thanks.

    2. Hi, mine was stolen from my CT200 on 15/01/21 from Morrisons Purley car park while I did my shopping. I won’t go into all the stress of waiting for the AA, dealing with the insurance and police. Gobsmacked reading all the comments of others who have also been victims. I find it shocking Lexus has not recalled all vehicles with this problem! Surely fobbing customers off with a standard reply can’t be good for business! To think I was looking forward to upgrading to the NX. Well Lexus, you’ve certainly help make my mind up

      1. Hi Benny,

        We are very sorry to hear that your vehicle has been targeted by criminals. Older vehicles, like the CT, which has been on sale since 2011, do have higher levels of precious metals in the catalytic converter. There materials have seen their values soar in recent times, which could not have been foreseen when the vehicle was being developed. A Catloc is available for the CT, which your nearest Lexus centre can fit. If you’d like to make to speak with our customer relations team, you can do here: https://fal.cn/3cNWF

  10. My catalytic converter got stolen TWICE within the space of TWO weeks! I think it is ridiculous that I have been working for the NHS during the pandemic and can’t even leave my car in the car park without knowing that it will be secure and intact when I come back. Another thing that is completely unacceptable is that Lexus are still charging for a catalytic converter lock at full price even though I have been a victim to this crime and I am a key worker!
    I have informed the police on multiple occasions that this occurred.

    Common courtesy would say that you would install a catalytic converter lock for free in your customers cars as this is a design flaw on your end! Also a heads up would have been appreciated if you knew that this was occurring within the Lexus community.

    1. Hello Alfred,
      Thank you for contacting us. We are really sorry to hear that you have been a victim of this terrible crime.
      We would always advise reporting any crime to the police to attempt to catch the perpetrators.
      To raise awareness of this issue, we have engaged with local MPs, the Home Office, the Met Police and the National Lead for Vehicle Crime. This has also been to try and identify issues with existing legislation.
      We have also tried to ensure as many of our customers as possible are aware through publishing police advice on this crime as soon as possible online, writing to our dealer network to brief customers and even directly to owners of a number of our vehicles where we had details to do so.
      Criminals are using high-grade power saws to remove the catalyst for the precious metals they contain, so in reality they are as easy to remove from any vehicle. The design is not so relevant.
      We have however taken action to reduce the precious metal content in our newer hybrids and have produced theft deterrent devices such as CatLocs at zero profit to Lexus UK to try and protect customers from further attacks.
      You can contact our Customer Relations team should you wish to discuss your specific situation further, as they are best placed to offer any necessary support.
      They can be reached here: https://www.lexus.co.uk/concierge-tool/contact-us/
      Once again, we are very sorry to hear that your vehicle has been targeted by thieves.
      Thanks.

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