The ADAC breakdown helpers were called 1,038 times last year because of stolen catalytic converters – significantly more often than in previous years.

Older vehicles with petrol engines, in which the catalytic converter is easily accessible in the middle of the car floor, are particularly affected, the association said in Munich. The thieves would have targeted the expensive precious metals such as platinum, palladium and rhodium in the catalytic converters.

In 2018, the ADAC road patrol had to turn out 77 times because of stolen catalytic converters, and 169 times the following year. In 2020, 420 stolen Kats were counted, in 2021 it was 959.

“Apparently, the conditions for thieves in older Opel Astra, Toyota Prius and VW Polo prove to be particularly favorable,” said the ADAC. In newer vehicles, the catalytic converter is mounted close to the engine so that it can reach operating temperature more quickly after the start, and is much more difficult to remove.

Without exhaust gas cleaning, the cars are significantly louder and also lose their operating license. “They have to be transported to the workshop on the trailer. A replacement, including installation, costs up to 1000 euros, and significantly more for some models.”