Car Care

5 tips to prevent keyless car theft.

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Will Kerr

In tough times, crime tends to rise. So it’s not hugely surprising to see car theft on the rise. Like most people, thieves prefer an easy life and, unfortunately, keyless cars can be stolen pretty easily by someone with the right kit. And the fact these cars are often on the more valuable side makes them a big target. Here, we look at how you can avoid becoming a victim of keyless car theft.

How does keyless car theft work?

Your keys send out a signal that will unlock your car if they’re close enough. Thieves use ‘relay amplifiers’ to boost that signal, allowing them to unlock the car without needing your keys. They’ll usually work in pairs, with one coming up to your house with an amplifier. If your keys happen to be hanging up on a hook on the other side, or somewhere else nearby, the amplifier will boost the signal – sending it to the other partner who’ll have a transmitter held next to the car.


Which cars are most at risk?

All car with keyless entry could potentially be vulnerable, but it’s known that the Land Rover Discovery is a frequently targeted model. We’ve also seen a rise in thefts of Mitsubishi Outlanders and Freelanders. The Audi A4 and Jaguar XF are another two pricey 4x4s that attract a lot of unwanted attention.

Where is keyless car theft most common?

The West Midlands, Greater Manchester and Essex are the areas most effected by keyless car theft after London. Within London, Enfield, Newham and Barnet have been the hardest hit by the crime wave.

How can you prevent keyless car theft?

So now you know the risks, what can you do to minimise them?

 1) Keep your keys a good distance from your vehicle and in a ‘faraday’ wallet.

Thieves can’t use an amplifier to boost your keys signal if they can’t get near it, so keeping your keys away from the walls that thieves would most easily access is a good idea.

You can also block your key’s signal by popping it in a special pouch called a faraday wallet. These aren’t fool proof, so putting it inside a metal container such as a tin can help add a bit more protection. The president of the AA goes even further, keeping his keys in a metal box in a microwave

If you have a keyless fob, you may actually be able to turn the signal off altogether once you’re in for the night.

 2) Get a good old fashioned steering lock. (They’re harder to hack!)

There’s no high-tech solution for getting around a steering lock. And if thieves see you’ve got one, they may not bother even trying to get into your car in the first place.

3) Always double check the car has actually locked – and that it’s double locked.

This is really more a general safety tip, but always make sure your car is double locked – even if you’re only leaving it for a short while. There have been instances of thieves hanging around car parks and other places using devices to block rather than boost key signals. By doing this, they can prevent cars from locking without the owner even noticing.

4) Park in a locked garage or behind a gate if possible.

Step one is to make it as hard as possible for thieves to get near your keys and into your car. Step two is to make sure they can’t drive off with it. If you can park somewhere that makes it impossible for them to make a getaway they probably won’t target your car.
A trusty extra line of defence.

5) Get a tracking device (if you’re with us, our Miles Tracker does the job already).

Thieves aren’t the only ones armed with tech. Installing a tracker in your vehicle means that even if it is stolen, you should be able to keep tabs on where it’s got to – and ideally have it recovered. How do we know? The Miles Tracker device that powers our pay-by-mile car insurance policies has done exactly that for a good number of our members now.
A helping hand from our Find My Car feature is just one of the benefits our members enjoy. If you’re not a high mileage driver, you could be better off going pay-by-mile. Why not get a quote and see?