It’s expensive to maintain a car and even more expensive to repair one when it’s involved in an accident. Insurance covers much of the cost, but there are still deductibles to worry about and the inevitable premium increase if you make multiple claims. Much of the repair bill comes from the rising cost of car parts, which means thieves are looking at your car and seeing dollar signs.
You might think thieves want your whole car, but where they’re making their money is in the parts. Accidents cause all sorts of superficial damage from hoods to tail lights to trunk lids. According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), car thefts rose 4 percent last year. Recovered vehicles were often found with key parts missing because that’s where theives make their money.
The NICB looked at the top 10 stolen 2016 models and calculated the value of commonly replaced parts versus the value of the vehicles. They didn’t include things like engines and transmissions, but rather the parts likely to need replacement due to a fender bender. The numbers are surprisingly close.
- The 2016 Toyota Camry was the most stolen vehicle on the NICB’s most recent report. It has a market value of $15,438 with parts worth $10,695.
- The 2016 Nissan Altima has a market value of $20,621 or you can strip it for parts and make $14,236
- The 2016 GMC Sierra can fetch up to $28,230 in one piece, but its parts are worth $21,332.
Consider that those are just the prices for the cars versus their most commonly replaced parts. It doesn’t account for the labor to have those parts properly installed.
“For the professional theft ring, stealing and stripping vehicles for parts has always been a lucrative business,” said NICB Senior Vice President and COO Jim Schweitzer. “On today’s cars and trucks, the parts are often worth more than the intact vehicle and may be easier to move and sell. That’s why we see so many thefts of key items like wheels and tires and tailgates … there’s always a market for them.”