How to protect your car from keyless car theft

Keyless car theft is on the increase but what is it and how can you prevent becoming a victim writes Geraldine Herbert

What is a keyless car?
Modern cars no longer require a key to physically unlock the doors instead you simply walk towards the car with your key fob and press a button to open the car and once inside you start the engine via the start button.  The system works by sending a signal from the car to the key, the key responds sending a code to the car and the car recognises this code and unlocks the doors.  However, this signal only works over a very short range.

How can they be stolen?
Car thieves are exploiting this technology by using devices to amplify the signal over a much greater distance.  Two devices are used, one outside your home picks up the signal from the key inside and then the signal is passed to the second which is positioned next to your car, ‘tricking’ the car into thinking the real key is nearby. The car opens and the engine will start.

Who is at risk?
Although new cars and expensive models are more vulnerable the opportunist thief will take any car they can gain access to, so it’s important to take measures to keep your car safe.


Follow these tips to avoid getting caught out

Lock it
Always ensure that your door and windows are locked to deter car thieves from getting inside your home not only will this minimize the chances of the key’s signal being amplified but it will also prevent opportune thieves breaking in and stealing them.

Block the signal
Keeping car keys well away from windows and doors, ideally in a metal container, will help to prevent the signal being detected outside your home.

Talk to your car dealer
Contact your dealer, it may be possible to switch the key’s signal off at night.

Protect your car
Use old fashioned locks for steering wheels or wheel clamps.  Consider installing a tracker, the benefit of a tracking device is that if the worst happens and your car is stolen you stand a far better chance of recovering the car.  The accuracy and effectiveness of trackers can depend on your budget and watch out for expensive subscription fees.

Park wisely
If possible put your car in a garage otherwise park your car safely in a well-lit area and ensure it is locked, all the windows are shut and valuables are removed. Keep an eye out for suspicious activity in your local area and report anything unusual to the police.


Geraldine Herbert
7th March 2021

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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