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Keyless car theft: What you need to know

Have you ever noticed a £100,000 Range Rover parked on your street, that has a crappy-looking, £20 lock on its steering wheel, and wondered why?

This is because cars like said expensive Range Rover – with keyless entry – are prime targets for (and regularly stolen by) criminals with the correct know-how and high-tech kit.

It’s often reported that keyless cars are easy to steal; luckily, there are a number of precautions that you can take to keep your motor out of the hands of the crims. Read on for everything you need to know about keyless car theft:

What is a keyless-entry car?

Not too long ago, you would have unlocked your car using a button on your key fob. Or, even more old-school, just put your key into the car door. However, with a keyless entry system, you don’t need to bother with any of that. Nor do you have to endure that annoying fumble through your pockets for your keys. Instead, all you need is for them to be somewhere on your person. Then, you can just walk up to your car and open the door. This technology works by transmitting short-range radio waves back and forth between your car and the key fob.

A lot of cars with a keyless entry system also have a keyless start. This means that, as long as your key fob is inside the car, you can start the engine at the push of a button.

Keyless car theft prevention

Because keyless-entry cars work by making sure radio waves bounce back and forth between the key fob and your car, they can prove to be easy pickings for would-be thieves armed with something called a relay box. When close to your car, these can trick the keyless-entry technology into thinking that the key is nearby, even when it isn’t. This is because the boxes can amplify the radio waves emitted by your key.

Luckily, there are a few ways to make your keyless-entry car more secure and help prevent it from being stolen. The simplest of these is to ensure that if you park on a driveway or close to your house your keys are kept as far from your car as possible. Some keyless car doors can open when your keys are between five and 20 metres from them, so you should definitely keep your fob further away than that while you’re home.

There are also other, more general ways to make your keyless car more secure. If you live in a household that owns more than one vehicle, using the other car to block your own in your driveway would make it much more difficult for thieves to drive away.

A similar answer would be to fit a security post in your driveway. This is a removable bollard that locks in place and prevents your car from moving. With this in place, it would be much harder for a thief to escape with your keyless car without causing an awful lot of damage and noise.

How to protect your key fob

If you’re a keyless car owner particularly if your house isn’t big enough to store your key far away from your car it’s worth investing in a Faraday safe box. Their thick metal construction can block the radio waves from your keyless fob, preventing thieves from amplifying the signal and, ultimately, stealing your car.

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