Thursday, September 4, 2008

is my car making all that noise, or did a fleet of harleys just pull up behind us?

Early one morning a couple of weeks ago, I hopped into the minivan, with my trusty art camp assistant in the passenger seat, and started it up. A split second later, we both nearly jumped out of our skins and looked behind us, trying to locate the source of the deafening rumble that seemed to come out of nowhere. At first, we thought these guys were behind us, but then...

"I think it's us!", shouted my trusty assistant, as Dave came running out of the house in his pajamas, looking quite alarmed.
Signaling me to open the hood, he peered into the engine compartment looking for some clue about the racket. Finding nothing obvious (like a Harley) that could be causing such a loud roar, he threw out a few possible causes, like a hole in the exhaust manifold, or a blown head gasket, (all of which sounded very plausible to me...I'm always amazed at how much he knows about the way things work.) and since it was raining, he was understandably reluctant to crawl under the car to check out his theories.
After driving us to work, he called AAA and had the van towed up to our mechanic, who called us later with the news that our catalytic converter was missing, and it looked like we had become the latest victims of an increasingly common crime: catalytic convertor thefts.
As it turns out, catalytic converters contain small amounts of the precious metals platinum and palladium, and they seem to be easy targets for thieves who might otherwise be ripping off copper pipe and wire from construction sites.
Five years ago platinum traded for about $600 dollars an ounce, and palladium went for around $200. Currently, platinum sells for around $1,400 and palladium for around $400.
Metal theft is a big deal these days. An electrician friend of mine who works in new construction told me about whole subdivisions being stripped of brand new wiring, house by house. People routinely walk into big home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowes, and run out with spools of copper wire. I just read about a poor guy who parked his Toyota pickup at Home Depot, and came out a few minutes later to find someone had removed his catalytic converter in the parking lot with a Sawzall. In broad daylight.
Now that we've gotten the van running quietly again, we're considering installing an alarm system...which is kinda laughable, really. I doubt seriously it would raise the resale value above $1,000.
So I did some research on the internet, and came up with this cheaper alternative:

(photo borrowed from this site)

1 comment:

foolery said...

HA! If only that would do the trick. Maybe "TURN AROUND AND SMILE FOR THE CAMERA" would work, or "IF YOU LEAVE NOW MY BIG DOGS MAY ONLY GET A PIECE OF YOU."

Sorry it happened to you. Come on Karma!