Parts shortage compounds frustrations with catalytic converter thefts

A continued problem with catalytic converter thefts comes with an added issue of difficulty finding replacements.
Published: Sep. 14, 2022 at 6:51 AM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - It’s an issue that communities and mechanics around the country are experiencing. Catalytic converter theft now comes with another problem. Once you lose it, it may be difficult to find another one.

It’s time to head into work, or wherever your destination may be. You have your keys in the ignition, turn them, wait for your vehicle to start and you’re on your way. But for one Wichita woman, the sounds coming from her vehicles when she starts them sound quite different - and it’s all because of the misdeeds of catalytic converter thieves.

“It got started, and it sounded like a jet engine going off,” said Lynn Bryan, who has been hit twice this year by catalytic converter thefts.

The first one happened to car she’s trying to sell. Although it cost her, she replaced that one with no problem.

“It had been sitting right there up by the house,” Bryan said. “Porch light on at night -- everything.”

Then in late July, thieves targeted another car in broad daylight.

“I already pushed the button to start it, the engine kicked in, and it was the jet-engine noise and I immediately knew what happened,” Bryan said.

The problem with getting it replaced that time? According to her mechanic, parts are difficult to come by at the moment.

“Since the end of August I’m without a car, and I have no idea when I can get it back,” Bryan said.

It’s a problem Orlando Mijeras from Gerber Collision and Glass says happens in waves.

“Sometimes we’ll see two, three, hour in a week, and then go two months and not see a single (theft),” Mijeras said.

Like many items this year, supply chain issues are making it difficult to replace catalytic converters.

“A ton of new vehicles just not having parts even made.” Mijeras said. “They’ve got enough to make the cars and (are) not getting anything out to the dealerships for repair parts. Anything that seems like (2021 or 2022) model years, we’re waiting 6-8 months on parts for.”

As for Bryan, she has advice to help people avoid falling victim to a thief.

“Try to be aware,” she said. “And maybe even keep an eye out on your neighbors as well, if you see something unusual.”