While the overall number of vehicle thefts has been on the decline for years, the rise in keyless technology has given thieves a new way to break into cars. And, unfortunately, these thefts are on the rise, according to a Home Office report.
They say that more than 72% of the 101,198 vehicles that are stolen are never recovered. So, how can you protect your vehicle from being one of them?
Here, the Mega Lease team takes a closer look at what you can do to protect your car.
What is keyless technology and how does it work?
Keyless technology, also known as keyless entry or remote start, allows drivers to unlock and start their cars without using a key. This convenience has made keyless technology one of the most popular features in new cars today.
How does it work?
When you approach your car, the keyless receiver senses the presence of your key fob and unlocks the doors. Once you're inside, you can push a button to start the engine.
While this technology is very convenient, it's also very dangerous in the hands of thieves. That's because all a thief needs is your key fob to unlock and start your car. And, since most key fobs can be easily stolen from purses and pockets, it's relatively easy for thieves to commit this crime.
How do thieves use keyless technology to steal cars?
There are two main ways that thieves use keyless technology to steal cars. The first is called relay theft, and it involves using two key fobs to extend the range of the signal.
Here's how it works: The thief stands near the car with one key fob and uses it to unlock the doors. Then, they quickly move to the driver's seat and start the car with the second key fob. By the time the owner realises their car has been stolen, the thief is long gone.
You might be surprised to learn with relay thefts, thieves can break into your car in as little as a minute.
The second way thieves use keyless technology to steal cars is called signal amplification. This method involves using a device that amplifies the signal from the key fob, allowing the thief to unlock and start the car from a distance.
This method is especially dangerous because it allows thieves to steal cars without even being near the vehicle. And, since most key fobs don't have built-in security features, there's no way to stop this type of theft.
Steps you can take to protect your car from being stolen
If you're concerned about your car being stolen, there are some steps you can take to protect it. Here are a few tips:
- Keep your key fob in a safe place. If possible, keep it in a Faraday bag or shielded pouch. This will help to block the signal and make it more difficult for thieves to steal your car.
- Be aware of your surroundings. If you see someone suspicious near your car, don't approach it. Call the police instead.
- Park in a well-lit area. This will make it more difficult for thieves to steal your car without being seen.
- Use an anti-theft device. This won't stop a determined thief, but it will make your car less attractive to criminals.
- Keep an eye on your car. If you see someone tampering with your car, call the police immediately.
To further prevent car theft, drivers can take some extra measures such as keeping all the software in their vehicle up to par and using a locking steering wheel device – meaning even if someone does manage to break into your car, they still won't be going anywhere. You could also use a wheel clamp for an added layer of safety.
Keyless Technology Vehicles Target 100,000 Cars
If you drive a keyless technology vehicle, it's important to be aware of the risks.
While there are steps you can take to protect your car, the best way to avoid being a victim of keyless theft is to stay vigilant.
And if you see something suspicious, don't hesitate to call the police.