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.

439 comments

  1. The catalytic converter was stolen from my RX400H last night in a car park. I’m reading on here that this is been going on for a long time now and Lexus did not think to make this more known to Lexus drivers. This is very disappointing as I always receive leaflets to come and upgrade my car. Can you please advise on the time it’s taken to get the converter from Lexus.

    1. Hi Christiana,

      Thank you for getting in touch. We are deeply sorry you have been impacted by this crime. We will email you directly in order to gain additional details of your situation and open a customer relations team on your behalf. our team will be best placed to advise you further.

      Thanks.

  2. I have just read this thread of comments after ours was stolen last week. We have logged a job at Lexus to repair, but I am very concerned that it will happen again. We only bought the car 2 months ago and if we had known about this problem we would not have purchased it. I am very upset that Lexus do not appear to be being proactive regarding possible solutions or even warnings to customers…your technical teams must have some ideas about what can be done. Your customers are buying cars in good faith and being left out of pocket through no fault of their own.

    This is terrible.

    1. Hi Michelle,

      Thanks for getting in touch with us. We are so sorry you have been impacted by this crime. Please be aware we are doing all we can to support our customers who have been impacted by this. We will email you directly to gain additional details and put you in touch with our customer relations team as they will be able to help you further and answer any queries you may have.

      Thanks.

  3. Our catalytic converter was stolen from our 2006 RX400h outside our house in Sept. and we are still in a rental car. I too am afraid once we get the car back it will be stolen again! Please, can we have a locking device from Lexus? Judy

    1. Hi Judy,

      Thanks for your message. We are incredibly sorry you have been impacted by this crime and for the distress this may have caused. Our customer relations team will be able to support you further, and we will email you directly in order to open a case on your behalf.

      Thanks.

  4. My cat was stolen from our drive 2 days ago. I’ve already been warned it might take a month or longer to get a replacement. Why is this crime a particular issue with older Lexus models? Why has Lexus not developed some mechanism to help protect customers from future theft as clearly it appears this could happen repeatedly? Why is the only response from Lexus basically we’ll email you directly?

    1. Hi Cynthia,

      Thanks for getting in touch. We are so sorry you have been a victim of this crime. Our customer relations team are in the best position to support you in any way we can during this incredibly difficult situation and as a result, we would like to put you in touch with them and will email you directly regarding this.

      Thanks.

  5. Don’t believe the Lexus “reduced” price above. I have just been told on the phone that the fixed price is £900. That is £750 for the catalytic converter and £150 for “clips and springs and stuff”! There may be additional cost if the thieves damaged anything else.

    And I’m told there is neither stock available nor a delivery date for new stock. The best Lexus can do is put me on a waiting list to be contacted as and when they have a delivery date and then to wait for the actual delivery and an appointment for installation.

    1. Hi there,

      Thanks for contacting us about this. We are so sorry you have been a victim of this crime. You are right that costs may vary depending on the extent of any damage to your vehicle. Our customer relations team are able to track replacement parts and we will email you directly in order to put you in touch with a case manager.

      Thanks.

    1. Hi there,

      Thanks for your message. We are sorry to hear you have been a victim of this crime. Our customer relations team will be able to help you further and we will email you directly in order to open a case on your behalf.

      Thanks.

  6. My elderly father has fallen victim to the same crime.

    I do not accept that all C.C s are a target.

    I think Lexus should at least contact everyone on the DVLA database with the vulnerable models.

    Until it happens to them ,owners may not be aware that they have to be vigilant.

    We have installed security measures at my fathers property to deter the thieves from taking the new one when it finally arrives but I doubt it will stop them.

    I have looked at the design of any such C.C lock on the market and they look ridiculously flimsy.
    Any help would be appreciated ..

    1. Hi Steve,

      Thanks for getting in touch with us about this. We are so sorry to hear your father has been impacted by this crime and for the distress this may have caused. Would you like to discuss his case further with our customer relations team?

      Thanks.

  7. Got my one stolen last night.
    Right in front of my garage on drive.
    Can not blame Lexus for their brilliant cars. Because if you want to drive quality, safety car it has to be build from quality expensive materials.
    Can only blame police and government. They do nothing to stop this crime.
    The most popular answer from police is “contact your insurance”.
    They don’t care I still have to pay my excess and deal with the claim for the next couple of years.
    What to say to Lexus. Arrange more catholic convertes for future. So your customers do not wait until the next year.

    1. Hi Anton,

      Thanks for getting in touch with us. We are incredibly 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 will email you directly regarding this.

      Thanks.

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