Technology on the cars we buy today has moved on in leaps and bounds. There’s always a new or revised piece of automotive kit or software being announced; or so it seems. One such advance is the keyless car.
The good old ignition key that opened the door and started the engine is gradually disappearing, even on mainstream models, to be replaced by a fob that just needs to be adjacent to the vehicle to allow entry and ignition. This however brings its own set of problems, one of which is theft.
It’s important then for owners to know how to stop keyless car theft.
Keyless Cars Need To Protect Against Relay Theft
With the latest cars the owner will still carry a key fob. However, there is no need to deploy it because specifically coded sensors within the car know the fob is in close proximity and will automatically unlock the doors and the car will start at the press of a button. Another little job saved and there’s no hunting around in the dark to find the lock.
Keyless entry protection is meant to provide additional security and that’s certainly true for opportunistic car theft. Nevertheless, police figures show that in May and June 2021 there was a 3.1% increase in vehicle theft, many of them keyless cars. In the past, car thieves would use duplicate keys or even simple brute force to steal a vehicle, ‘hotwiring’ the ignition. These days, the criminal fraternity have gone all high-tech and have been keeping pace with technology, using, in many cases, relatively cheap devices into fooling a keyless car. It’s called relay car theft.
Those intent on stealing a car used to stage a house break-in and physically steal the key fob. That unnecessary extra element is now not necessary though when it is possible to steal the key fob signal from outside the property.
Most car owners tend to leave the family keys in convenient spots like the stairs, hooks by the door or window sill. This habit however is an aid to car theft. Put simply, a device held against the door of a house can relay the key fob signal to another unit adjacent to the vehicle. The car thinks the owner is nearby, unlocks and allows the criminal to push the button and start the car. This can be achieved in as little as thirty seconds. Now you see it; now you don’t.
In 2017, researchers built a pair of working theft devices for just £16. Law-abiding people work hard to buy the good things in life and it can come as a shock to find that others don’t. So what to do?
How To Stop Keyless Car Theft
First and foremost, vigilance is key (sorry) for keyless car theft prevention. Try to follow a set routine:
Is The Car Locked?
Check to make sure the car is locked. Most thefts happen at night, usually in residential areas, but it’s equally possible for a thief to stand nearby when the owner is parking in a public car park and jam the locking signal. Don’t just press and walk away. Try the doors or make sure you see the lights flash. If you have a lockable garage at home or storage at work, use it.
Is The Car Immobilised?
Immobilisers can prevent an engine being started if the key or fob is not present, but if thieves, one way or the other, have access to the fob then it’s necessary to also prevent hacking and theft without the key or fob. It is good to know then that some immobilisers can stop keyless entry car theft. This is a worthwhile extra level of security for prestige vehicles especially when a recognised supplier of Thatcham approved immobilisers offers expert fitting free, including electric cars.
Is The Fob Secured?
It’s human nature to leave our keys and car fobs in a handy place. Thieves just love it when they are all in a dish by the front door. Keyless car fob signals can pass through door, walls and windows but not through metal. To prevent keyless car theft keep them in a metal box, deep inside the house. There are also cheap alternatives to this: It’s now possible to buy signal-blocking wallets or, better still, purchase at very low cost, a Faraday pouch. This is a simple solution as it blocks the signal from your car key and will prevent key relay theft.
Can The Keyless Car Fob Be Turned Off?
This is worth looking into. To prevent keyless car theft some keys can be turned off when not in use. If there’s no signal then the thieves are thwarted. If it is possible the information should be supplied in the car’s handbook.
Fit A Car Tracker To Aid Recovery If Theft Does Occur
You’ve done your best to stop keyless car theft but people who steal cars are relentless and well equipped, so what if the worst happens and you wake up to find the car gone? The solution is to fit a car tracker.
These days car trackers come with many different levels of sophisticated protection. For owners of vehicles from prestige brands like Jaguar or Range Rover some units are manufacturer approved too; this should help keep the insurance company happy and that’s always a good thing.
The best, like the Thatcham S5 Plus car tracker, offer global protection thanks to GPS coverage and make use of driver recognition tags; the car will not start if the driver tag isn’t present. If the vehicle is stolen then a tracker will help the owner and the police to swiftly locate and recover. There’s a wide range to choose from to suit all financial circumstances and it’s best always to use a recognised supplier, especially if they have a convenient mobile fitting service.
Take Sensible Precautions To Best Protect Against Keyless Car Theft
That’s how to stop keyless car theft. As ever, prevention is better than cure. Taking precautions in this day and age is not excessive overkill, it’s simple common sense. A car is not only a personal lifestyle choice, it’s a major investment and many drivers become attached to their motors; valuable classic cars especially which, although obviously not involved with car key scanner theft, are otherwise vulnerable. A Ghost 2 immobiliser is an ideal choice for any vehicles including those that are attractive to specialist ‘steal-to-order’ thieves. Let technology keep your car safe.