You might imagine car thieves on the prowl for shiny, fast sports cars to whisk away into the night. But the reality is often less Hollywood-esque: many thieves have their eyes set not on your entire car, but on specific pieces of it. These parts, often overlooked, can fetch a handsome sum on the black market.
See a Ford Mach-E do its best impression of The Kool-Aid Man here.
To shine a spotlight on this automotive underworld, we sat down with seasoned automotive experts, John Lin of JB Motor Works and Frank De Mulder of Classic Car Maintenance. Their insights unveiled the top car parts that are most coveted by thieves. Let’s dive in:
Catalytic Converters: A surprising top pick. This emission control device contains precious metals like palladium, platinum, and rhodium. Easy to unbolt, it's a quick steal and can be sold for its metal content.
Airbags: Deploying them might save lives, but stealing them saves money for unscrupulous repair shops. New airbags are costly, making them a hot item in the illicit trade.
Infotainment Systems: Today's cars are more like computers on wheels. Fancy touchscreen systems can be easily resold, making them a top target.
GPS Units: Especially the detachable ones. In our connected age, a good GPS unit is still worth its weight in gold (or at least a few hundred dollars on the resale market).
Rims and Tires: Size matters here. The larger and more custom they are, the more attractive they become to those with sticky fingers.
Bumpers: Modern bumpers aren't just chunks of metal anymore; they house sensors and other tech that can fetch a nice price.
LED & HID Headlights: With their sleek look and higher efficiency, these aren't just for seeing in the dark. They're a beacon for thieves.
Tailgate of Pickup Trucks: It might seem random, but tailgates, especially those with built-in cameras or step assists, are easy to remove and can be quite valuable.
Third-row Seats: For large SUVs, these seats are often detachable and, given their size and utility, find a ready market.
But don’t be disheartened. Knowledge is power, and by knowing what thieves are after, car owners can take steps to secure their vehicles and make them less tempting to opportunistic criminals. After all, your car isn't just a mode of transportation; it's an extension of you. Let’s protect it like one!