Q: The catalytic converter just got stolen from my ’07 Prius for the second time in two months — and it took nearly three weeks to get the part in to fix it the first time because this is happening to so many people.
Alison Hyde, Palo Alto
A: You poor soul. Twice in two months.
Q: EBay has thousands of listings for used catalytic converters. Is there any chance the state will clamp down on selling them online?
A: No. It’s legal to sell converters online. That’s not the problem. These thefts occur in older Prius cars built by 2011 due to a rise in the value of precious metals found in converters in hybrids. They are targeted because they have two power sources — an electric motor and a gas engine — so their converters are used less frequently to process pollutants. This means the metals inside them are less likely to corrode, so they’re more valuable and, therefore, more desirable to thieves.
Although it’s illegal to pay for scrap metal with cash, illegal scrap metal merchants will pay $200 to $500 for each converter. Repairs can run $3,000 to $5,000.
Q: Is there any chance Toyota will confess they screwed up, order a recall and install that $300 protective metal plate that should have been there in the first place? How on earth did they not stamp the VIN number on the most valuable and easy-to-steal part in the car?
The next time I buy a car I’m going to ask is how vulnerable it is to this, because it’s not fun. Have any of your readers had those plates installed and still had their catalytic converter stolen?
A: Not in newer models. Savvy repair shops will weld a 3/8-inch-thick wire rope from the exhaust manifold back to the resonator on both sides. Thieves seldom get these converters out.
There is a $225 product called Cat Security. It is a shield that bolts to the bottom of a Prius, which blocks access to the car. There are also cheaper, generic cable-lock-type solutions to put a lock on your converter.
Q: I drive Highway 87 several times a week and Caltrans has been changing the sign near Curtner Avenue to “Watch your speed.” I hope it will slow some of those speeders down! … Driving down Interstate 280, the signs said, “This is a highway, Not a speedway. Watch your speed.”
Chris del Pilar, and Penny Pollock
A: Alas, added Penny: “Great message, but it didn’t seem to make a difference to the speeders. Probably going so fast they couldn’t read it.”
Join Gary Richards for an hourlong chat noon Wednesday at www.mercurynews.com/live-chats. Look for Gary Richards at Facebook.com/mr.roadshow or contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or 408-920-5335.
Go to Source
Author: Gary Richards