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Tips to Improve Keyless Car Security

As car security is getting more complex and sophisticated, so do techniques used by tech-savvy criminals to steal expensive vehicles or parts from them. Unfortunately, while electronic systems like keyless entries, digital IDs, and keyless ignition systems might simplify our lives, they can also give thieves an edge. Statistics speak about a rise in the number of keyless car thefts in recent years. Whether you have fallen victim to such a thief, or you are looking for clever tips on how to prevent keyless car theft and lower your insurance policy simultaneously, we've prepared this guide with all you need to know. 

Keyless Car Theft - How Does It Work?

keyless car theft prevention tips

Today's car thieves rarely (if ever) use the rather obsolete coat hanger or hot wiring techniques to make their way into a vehicle and take off with it. Instead, they rely on a series of sophisticated techniques. Here are some of the most widely used:

1. The Key Cloning Technique

Key cloning or relay attacks are the new point of focus, as a response to the increasing number of keyless vehicles that let drivers unlock and start the engine without having to worry about using and safely storing their keys. Keyless car theft works as follows: an individual will stand near the car’s key fob location (often close to the door entrance to a home or office) holding a device and attempt to boost the signal to a second device that needs to be held by their accomplice situated next to the targeted car. This way, the duo should have no real problem quickly unlocking the car and starting the engine without setting off the car’s alarm. 

2. The Signal Jamming Technique 

It is also possible to use the so-called signal jamming technique to steal a keyless vehicle. This procedure works by blocking the key fob signal to the car while the driver proceeds to walk away from the car. This way, the vehicle will not be locked, giving the green light for easy break-in and theft. 

3. The App Hacking Technique

An even more complex keyless car theft technique is the “app hacking” method. This is done when criminals can log into drivers’ and car owners’ mobile phone apps used for unlocking the vehicle. 

How Car Makers Are Protecting Keyless Car Systems   

While car makers are taking pre-emptive measures against these theft techniques, criminals are not wasting any time and are also perfecting their methodology of breaking into a car to steal it or take precious parts from it. For example, Ford introduced its motion sensor key fobs that can enter Sleep Mode if they have been standing still for a minimum of 40 seconds. This means key fob cloning attempts are almost impossible without someone actually picking up the keys and moving them around. Volkswagen and Jaguar Land Rover created the ultrawide band radio technology that can add enhanced security to the signal sent fob keys and cars. For the time being, cloning this type was signal has not been done. It does not, however, mean that it will not happen in the future. 

This is why it is essential to know how to prevent keyless car theft. 

Best Keyless Car Security Tips 

Parking Location Safety 

  • Whether you need to quickly run an errand and return to your car in just a few minutes, are traveling to foreign places, or when needing to leave your car parked somewhere overnight, be careful about where you park your vehicle. Opt for well-lit areas, preferably with manned security or surveillance cameras on-site. 
  • Also, avoid making your vehicle appealing to potential thieves by leaving valuables like purses, laptops, or GPS units in visible areas inside the car. Opt for the locked glove compartment box or the locked trunk instead, or, better yet, remove valuables to your house. 
  • If you normally park your car in your driveway or inside a garage, take additional security and protection measures to make potential car thieves’ jobs more difficult. You can do this by setting up motion detection lights and monitoring cameras with motion sensors in all important areas.

Increase Security with Additional Locking Devices 

Opt for a steering wheel lock or a locking device that can be installed on the wheels to prevent potential criminals from driving away with your vehicle. Consider investing in catalytic converter locks or cages, as these represent some of the most valuable car parts that get targeted by thieves due to the high value of the precious metals they are made of. 

Use Protective Pouches and Metal Containers

Special metal containers for key fobs can do a good job of protecting key fobs from the relay or cloning techniques mentioned earlier. Simply put your keys inside these containers when they are not in use and let the metal in them do its job and provide you with a protective shield that will stop your radio signal from being stolen.  You could also consider using an RFID pouch that features metal mesh linings with similar features and abilities. 

Switch Off the Wireless Receiver 

When your key fobs are not in use, you should switch off the wireless receiver on them. This can be usually done by hand by following the simple instructions provided in your car’s user manual. However, remember that not all car models have this option.

Do Not Keep Your Key Fobs Next to Windows and Doors

Criminals will do their best to try to intercept and copy the signal initiated and emitted by your keys even when they are stored inside the house. This is why it is important to keep them as away as possible from ground-level windows and doors, preferably inside metal boxes and protective pouches.  

Reprogram Your Key Fobs

While this is not mandatory, it could prove to be a helpful security measure especially if you have recently bought a second-hand car or you have lost or misplaced one of your key fobs. Get in touch with our expert car locksmiths and have them reprogram your key fobs. This way, you will render any of the old key fobs useless and stop anyone who might have found a copy from using it on your vehicle.

Make sure to keep our expert keyless car theft prevention tips in mind and use several of them to add more layers of security to your vehicle. For additional support and professional key fob replacement, do not hesitate to get in touch with us.