How often is the Subaru Outback catalyst stolen?
With catalytic converter theft growing more prevalent year by year, it's never been more important to take steps to protect your vehicle. Some of the most effective methods for deterring thieves include parking in a secure location, installing an anti-theft device, and tagging your cat with your car's VIN.
Although the Subaru Outback is not one of the cars most targeted by catalytic converter thieves, it's still essential that you understand the risks and take adequate steps to prevent yourself from falling victim to the crime.
If you're unsure where to start—or your cat has been stolen already, and you're looking for the next steps—we're here to help. We'll cover everything you need to know about preventing Subaru Outback catalytic converter theft, what to do if your cat is stolen, and what kind of car insurance you need to protect yourself from this crime.
Is it easy to steal the catalytic converter from a Subaru Outback?
While catalytic converter theft is a growing problem, there is good news: the Subaru Outback is not the easiest or the most attractive target for thieves. That is mainly due to the fact that the Outback sits relatively close to the ground compared to more attractive targets, like pickup trucks and larger SUVs.
Thieves commonly target vehicles with a high ground clearance, which makes it easier to slide underneath and saw off the cat. Pickup trucks, like the Toyota Tundra, Toyota Tacoma, and Chevy Silverado, are some of the most accessible vehicles for catalytic converter theft. Large SUVs, like the Toyota Sequoia and the Toyota 4Runner, also routinely fall victim to this crime.
However, never underestimate the ability of a skilled cat thief. These opportunists target even small cars, and an able crew can jack your car up and remove the catalytic converter in a matter of minutes. The Toyota Prius is a small vehicle commonly targeted by thieves for its valuable converter.
Your Subaru Outback has two catalytic converters—one is located close to the exhaust manifold behind the engine, and the other is underneath the car in line with the exhaust pipe. While the first one is less likely to be stolen due to its location, a determined thief could quickly jack up your vehicle and remove the second one.
Top Subaru Outback years that catalytic converter thieves target Although the Subaru Outback isn't a particularly attractive or easy target for cat thieves, theft does occur. In fact, according to CARFAX, the 2007–2020 model Subaru Outbacks are common marks for cat thieves in western states like Colorado and in northeastern states like Maine.
Those statistics could be explained by the increased number of Subaru drivers in those areas due to harsh weather. However, the fact remains that—despite not being one of the most popular targets for catalytic converter theft overall—your Outback is not immune to theft. And you should take steps to prevent this crime whenever possible.
Why are Subaru Outback catalytic converters stolen?
Catalytic converters are popular and easy targets for thieves for a couple of reasons. The first reason has to do with the way cats are built—the internal, honeycomb-shaped catalyst is composed of highly-expensive precious metals like rhodium, platinum, and palladium. While those metals have always been costly, their value has recently skyrocketed, driving the wave of catalytic converter theft.
Here are the prices of these materials as of March 2022:
Platinum: $1,128 per ounce
Palladium: $2,938 per ounce
Rhodium: $20,000 per ounce
Of course, a catalytic converter contains less than one ounce of each metal. However, those high prices are only the first reason why catalytic converter theft is on the rise—the second half of the puzzle is the ease with which thieves can steal cats. Most catalytic converter thieves operate in crews, and it only takes a minute or two to crawl under the car and cut off the part with a battery-powered saw.
Because most catalytic converters are located beneath the vehicle, small cars that sit closer to the ground are less likely to be targeted. But that's not always the case, and many thieves use jacks to make quick work of this job.
Subaru Outback catalytic converter replacement cost
The price to replace the catalytic converters on your Subaru Outback will vary depending on your location and the car's age. However, if the worst happens and you need to replace both your cats, you can expect the cost to range from around $650 to upwards of $5,000.
You can lower your costs by purchasing an aftermarket part, as opposed to an original equipment manufacturer (OEM) piece. However, the fact remains that catalytic converters are extremely expensive, and replacements can involve high labor costs.
How to prevent catalytic converter theft from a Subaru Outback Because catalytic converters are so expensive to replace, it's critical that you take steps to protect yourself from theft. Let's look at some of the most effective ways to keep yourself from falling victim to this crime.
Park in a secure area
The most effective way to protect your Subaru from thieves is to deny them access to your car entirely. That means parking in a secure location, like a locked garage. If you're unable to park in a garage, a well-lit driveway or parking lot with motion-activated lights or cameras is also a great way to deter criminals.
Buy a catalytic converter shield
Another effective way to prevent cat theft is installing an anti-theft device on your Outback.
That said, catalytic converter anti-theft devices are designed to be easy to install. If you're a do-it-yourselfer, you can save cash by installing your own anti-theft device.
Finally, anti-theft devices are popular for more than just their ability to deter thieves. If you install one on your Subaru, your insurance company may provide a discount just for having one on your car!