More keyless entry cars are being stolen but how do keyless entry cars work?
Keyless entry cars work using radio signals. When you put your key fob near the door handle, or when you press a button, your car sends out a short radio signal with a range of around five metres. There’s an identity chip in your keyless entry fob that’s constantly listening out for these signals. If it recognises one, it sends a code to your car. When the car recognises this code, it unlocks the doors.
Unfortunately, thieves have found a way to hack keyless entry cars. They use two devices, a relay amplifier and a transmitter, to trick cars into thinking that their fobs are nearby. One thief stands by the car with the transmitter. The second waves the amplifier near the house the car’s parked outside. If your fob’s within range, the amplifier will detect its signal. It will amplify it and send it to the transmitter, which will trick the car into unlocking its doors. This means that thieves can break into cars without even touching them.
What can I do to reduce the chances of my car being stolen?
There are some things that you can do to reduce the chances of your car being stolen. A wheel clamp or steering wheel lock will make it impossible for thieves to drive your car away. And you can also buy keyless entry fob guard, often called a Faraday bag or pouch, which can block your fob’s signal. These are now widely available for about £5. Some drivers have started blocking their fobs signals by putting them in a metal biscuit tin or the microwave overnight – but we wouldn’t recommend the microwave!
What if my car is stolen?
You’ll have to report the theft to the police. And if your car’s recovered, even if it’s undamaged may have to go through the rigmarole of getting the keys and locks changed or reset.
If you do need to make a claim due to your car being stolen you could lose your NCD, and you may have to pay an excess. You won’t be eligible for a courtesy car, as these are only available during repairs – which won’t happen if your car cannot be recovered. Also, we may not be able to cover all personal effects that were in your car when it was stolen.