Catalytic converter theft is an epidemic in America. A study from the National Insurance Crime Bureau indicates that thefts increased by 325 percent between 2019 and 2020. Thieves are after the precious metals in these emissions-reducing devices, and just last month, feds busted a 21-person, national theft ring and earlier this year, New York state announced a major crackdown as well.
For a variety of reasons, late-model Japanese cars and trucks are among the most frequent targets. There are a number of aftermarket guards on the market to prevent such thefts, and now, Toyota itself is offering one for the new Prius . It's an aluminum piece made by Cat Shield and it's offered as part of Toyota's new Associated Accessories Products program, a line of 3rd-party products offered at Toyota dealers. The catalytic converter shield for the Prius costs $140, plus the cost of installation. Toyota dealers can fit the guard, though as installation requires no drilling, customers can install it themselves if they're so inclined.
Cat Shield offers a number of other catalytic converter guards for popular Toyota models (plus the Honda Accord and Element) and the automaker confirmed to R&T that it's offering shields for the Tundra, Sequoia, Tacoma, 4Runner, Corolla, and RAV4, with more to come.
Frankly, this seems like a no-brainer to us. A quick search of Toyota's parts site shows that catalytic converters for 2022 model-year generally cost over $1000, and trucks like the Tundra need two at nearly $1500 a piece. That's before installation and the headache of having your car out of commission while it's fixed. Perhaps a resourceful and determined thief could cut through the shield, but they'd more likely just move on to an easier target. Ultimately, this is a good, cheap insurance policy.
This story was updated at 3:25 PM Eastern with information on additional model availability from a Toyota spokesperson.