We recently wrote about the top 10 stolen cars in the UK for 2022, as we discussed these were mainly down to vehicles fitted with Keyless Entry Systems, so today we’re going to cover ways to prevent car thefts by keyless systems.
Keeping your car sage is important to every vehicle owner or hirer, if you drive one of the latest models you will probably already know that it may be fitted with a keyless entry system.
Keeping your car safe with this technology can be much harder than you think. Car thieves have gone hi-tech and use devices to relay the vehicles signal to the key that is porbably sat in a drawer in your hallway.
If you’re worried about the security of your vehicle, then you need to take the steps below to prevent a car theft where possible. Below we will discuss the keyless entry systems and provide you with a few tips to keeping your car safe.
What is a Keyless Entry System?
Convenience is key for any modern driver, the quicker you can get out of the house, into the car and on your way is paramount. Car manufacturers around the globe have been including keyless entry systems in cars as standard on many models available in the UK.
With a keyless entry system, you keep the keyfob in your pocket or your bag, approach the car, pull the door handle or press a button and the car unlocks.
The keyfob sends a continuous signal to the car, when it’s within the required proximity the car lets you have access. This is why a signal booster is beneficial to a car thief.
What is Keyless Car Theft?
There are several methods a car thief could gain access to your car with a keyless entry system; signal relaying, signal jamming and key programming.
Signal relaying is where two people will use a wireless transmitter. One of them will be held by the front door of a property, with the other being outside the car that they want to steal.
The wireless transmitter captures the signal from the keyfob and relays this on to the transmitter by the car, the vehicle will then unlock as it believes that the genuine key is present. The same process is then used for starting the vehicle.
This is when a device uses the same radio frequency as the key fob to jam the signal to lock the car. The signal is prevented from the car doors locking system when the owner clicks the button, so the doors are left open and ready to steal.
Whilst it is nice to have these latest cars, key programming is becoming a very popular way of stealing a vehicle taking less than 20 seconds to program a new key fob by the car thieves.
With this method computer experts can use devices plugged into the diagnostic plug to fire up the car’s computer, they can then create a new key fob. Once this has been programmed, the thief has a brand new car that can be used to access the car and drive it away.
How to prevent keyless car theft?
Most car thieves are experts and will know which vehicles to target and how to gain access, but there are ways to slow them down to put them off from having a go. Take a look at our recommendations below:
Disable Keyless Entry System
Many of the latest cars that have keyless entry systems fitted, have ways to disable the system.
Whilst this process is different for each make and model, it is a great option if you are worried about your car being stolen or you live in a high risk area.
For example, Mercedes-Benz vehicles just require a double depress of the lock button. If you have audible feedback switched on, the car horn will beep twice.
On Volkswagen’s, lock the car with a keyfob and then quickly press the sensor on the door handle.
Steering locks used to be common place in the 90’s when vehicle crime rates were high and whilst they aren’t completely reliable, a thief will be less likely to steal the vehicle due to the additional time it takes to remove this anti-theft device. Here are a few of our favourite steering locks available from Amazon:
A faraday pouch or bag, is a small pouch that will block the signal from your key reaching your car and preventing signal relay. They are inexpensive to buy and can be carried with you in your coat, bag or pocket. Here are a few of our favourite faraday puches on Amazon:
CCTV has never been so accessible in terms of costs and easy fitting, from small wireless cameras to video doorbells, there are systems for people with all budgets. Here are a few of our favourite from Amazon:
Whilst tracker fobs can be easily removed, they can still be a good deterent for car thieves. Plus if you have temporariliy misplaced your keys, the software on your smartphone can track them using the latest proximity technology and bluetooth.
The best tracker keyfobs on the market are from Apple and Tile and are inexpensive.
Park your car in a safeplace
Make sure you park your car in a safe place whether this be at home or work. Well lit car parks if you have to park overnight are a good deterent for car thieves and if you can spot a CCTV camera in the car park, try and park the vehicle in its range.
When at home and you have a drive or garage, use it. Parking on the street can increase the chances of your vehicle being stolen or broken into. It also makes the car easier to steal.
Keep your car up-to-date
Just like your smartphone, may of today’s cars can have software updates. These can include security updates for the car and even your keyfobs.
Take advantage of free health checks by dealers, whilst your car is booked in, they will check for any recalls and update the software where applicable.
What do I do if I have had my car keys stolen?
Reaching for your car keys in your pocket or bag and finding that they are not there is a heart wrenching moment. If you think you have had your keys stolen, then contact the Police immediately to report the incident.
If you know that your car is safe, get in touch with a professional auto locksmith or your local dealer to get a replacement key and get your car reprogrammed. This will also disable the missing key.
There are also companies such as Key Assist to help you book a car locksmith near to you. They have a wide range of approved locksmiths providing genuine and aftermarket keys.