HONOLULU (KHON2) — It is a place that nobody wants to be in; stuck with a car that will not work.
Making matters worse is the cost to fix it could cost the driver more. Supply shortages are driving up prices and there is one car part that you might not be able to find at all.
“One thing we cannot get is catalytic converters,” K&Y Auto owner Frank Young said. “When they get stolen there’s a severe shortage in catalytic converters.”
According to USA Today, catalytic converter thefts have jumped nationwide from 108 a month in 2018 to 5,000 a month in 2021.
Thieves often target them to make a quick buck from scrap dealers, but a converter’s main purpose is to filter out nasty chemicals from a car. Without it, a mechanic can install a pipe and the car will still run, but the difference is obvious.
“It smells like a 40- to 50-year-old car when they start it up, you got black smoke coming out of the tailpipe,” Young said.
Catalytic converters are not in supply, but parts that are will probably put a dent in motorists’ bank account.
“20 to 30% increases in prices on starters, alternators, radiators and on top of that, the customer may not get the preferred brand,” Young said.
The biggest increase has been batteries, which are also scarce.
“Couple of years ago you could buy a battery at Costco for $70, $80, $90. Now all batteries are over $100,” Young said.
His best advice is to shop around, but you might not get exactly what you want.
“Sometimes you don’t have the expensive brand and you don’t have the cheaper part less quality, but do you want to drive the car?”