A NEW law has come into force preventing millions of drivers from having a vital car part detached from their vehicle.
Minnesota authorities today began enforcing legislation to reduce the number of thieves stealing catalytic converters.
The new law prohibits people in the state from owning a separate catalytic converter, with “a few exceptions”.
The aim is to make it more difficult to sell stolen catalytic converters to scrap dealers.
A catalytic converter is part of a vehicle that filters harmful emissions from the exhaust gases.
In addition, the auto part also improves an automobile’s efficiency, according to financial firm Synchrony.
The law will also make scrap dealers more accountable for accepting stolen material.
Residents found with an illegally obtained disconnected catalytic converter could face criminal charges.
“Converter theft has skyrocketed in our state,” Congresswoman Ruth Richardson said at a news conference on the bill earlier this year.
“This bill will give law enforcement additional tools to deal with these thefts.”
Scrap dealers may not purchase catalytic converters that are not attached to a vehicle.
This does not apply unless it has markings showing it is associated with a specific vehicle.
Courts are now also required to include the cost of replacing a catalytic converter in a refund ordered in a criminal case.
According to Richardson, the cost of replacing a stolen converter can exceed $2,000.
Minnesota also ranks fifth nationwide for catalyst theft insurance claims.
The law also provided thousands of dollars from the general fund for the Department of Public Safety to perform auditing and registration requirements related to a scrap dealer’s accounting for its scrap.
When someone discovers that the catalytic converter has been stolen from their car, questioning whether or not it is safe to drive could be a natural fear.
Remember, you can temporarily drive without a catalytic converter and it won’t damage a modern car or engine, according to Repair Smith.
But after a while it starts to emit harmful gases.
Driving for too long without the car part will also affect your car’s engine performance and fuel economy.