Test device designed to protect catalytic converters from theft

(WFSB) – Day after day, we report on how catalytic converters are stolen from the undercarriage of cars.

If stolen, it can cost hundreds if not thousands to replace.

If you knew there was a way to do something about it, would you do it?

The I-Team examines a device invented to prevent these thefts.

“I think about it every day,” said Rocky Hill’s Dave Sullivan.

With catalyst thefts rampant, people are understandably scared.

“They did it. In and out, under 90 seconds,” Sullivan said.

Ryan McCarthy hears these things all the time.

The Groton Tire and Auto Manager said that sometimes buying a used car is cheaper than replacing a converter.

“With a truck this big, the two catalytic converters on it, you’ll probably end up with $3,000-$4.00 if you go OEM,” McCarthy said.

In previous posts about catalytic converter theft, popular YouTuber Eric the Car Guy told Channel 3 about the Cat Clamp.

The device actually places a cage around your catalytic converter.

The I-Team picked one up from a local auto parts store for our Ford F-150 for $200.

We had Groton Tire’s mechanics install it and show how it can thwart thieves.

The cat clamp provides owners with cable, special bolts and the clamp.

Mechanic Bob Rodriguez explained how it works.

“The cables go through. There is one on the other side of the catalytic converter. The bracket is there, the cable goes through the hole, goes around the crossmembers and the frame, and it gives them a lot more to get through before you get to the actual catalytic converter,” Rodriguez said.

The clamp turns on, the special bolt locks it, then the cable goes in.

“Two brackets, one at each end, that’s where the catalytic converter is. We ran the cable back and forth through both brackets, tightened them and hopefully that will slow them down,” Rodriguez said.

The installation took less than an hour, but we still had questions.

Will this interfere with the mechanics if other work needs to be done?

“It shouldn’t be. We keep it pretty tight to the exhaust, clear out of the way,” McCarthy said.

Will this really stop a determined thief?

McCarthy said no.

“They can cut it before or after so they can still get to it quite easily. With a pickup truck it’s hard to deter because everything underneath is so big. It’s hard to guarantee 100%, but it will definitely slow them down,” he said.

“Is this a good investment?” the I-Team asked.

“I’d say yes, absolutely, especially if you don’t have insurance. If it happens to you, it’s going to be an expensive expense,” Rodriguez said.

“If you live in an area where a lot of catalytic converters are stolen, people will at least think twice about getting it out of your car,” McCarthy said.

The experts say that at $200, the Cat Clamp is a good investment in the sense that while it won’t prevent theft, it will be an additional hurdle that will likely keep them moving forward.

If you’re handy, you can install one yourself.

The pros at Groton Tire charge about an hour of labor.

While thieves won’t know you’ve taken this extra step until they’re already under the car, the company also gives you a sticker to warn them.

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