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USRider Cautions Horse Owners about Catalytic Converter Thefts

Lexington, KY (Oct. 22, 2007) – Catalytic converters are being stolen from vehicles across the country, and USRider warns horse owners and others who regularly haul animals to be on guard.

“This is especially relevant to our members who drive heavy-duty trucks,” said Mark Cole, managing member of USRider. “With a truck or SUV’s high ground clearance, the thief doesn’t need jack up the vehicle. The thief can simply crawl under the truck and remove the catalytic converter in short order.”

First widely introduced on series-production automobiles in the U.S. market for the 1975 model year, the job of the catalytic converter is to reduce harmful emissions from the exhaust of a combustion engine.

Police suspect that the increase in catalytic converter thefts is due to the valuable metals inside, which can be sold for scrap. A catalytic converter can be sold for an average of $100 at the scrap yard.

However, it will cost the victim a lot more to have the part replaced. The average converter on a car can run anywhere between $400 and $1,500. This price increases on catalytic converters for trucks. For example, on one of the most popular tow vehicles – the Ford F350 – the suggested retail price on the catalytic converter for the 6.0 liter diesel engine is nearly $900 and averages $1,100 for the 5.4 liter gasoline version, plus installation.

While the expenses for replacing a stolen catalytic converter might be covered by insurance, the owner would still be responsible for out-of-pocket costs due to deductibles.

“While we have not heard of any instances of catalytic converters being stolen from our members, owners of these vehicles should take precautions,” said Cole. “For safety reasons, we recommend that folks perform a quick safety check of their trailer each time they stop. This involves inspecting tires, double-checking hitch, breakaway battery, safety chain, and latched doors, and making sure horses are properly tied. A safety check is especially important if the trailer and tow vehicle have been left unattended before getting back on the road. To discourage anyone from tampering with the vehicle or trailer, it makes sense to park in a highly visible area that is well lit and can be kept in sight,” Cole added.

Now, with the theft of catalytic converters occurring, Cole also advises drivers to take additional precautions whenever they park their tow vehicle, even when they are not trailering their horses.

With an annual fee comparable to that of other roadside assistance programs, USRider offers the typical flat-tire repair, battery assistance and lock-out services, plus benefits designed with horse owners in mind, including towing and roadside repairs for tow vehicles and trailers with horses, emergency stabling, veterinary referrals and more.

For more information about USRider and additional safety tips, visit the USRider website at http://www.usrider.org or call 1-800-844-1409.

 

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