More and more cars on Irish roads are keyless, including some of the top 10 most popular cars in Ireland. The Ford Fiesta and Focus, the Volkswagen Golf and Nissan Qashqai, for example, are keyless. Unfortunately, car thieves now have the technology to break into keyless cars.
How do thieves do it?
Keyless car thieves use a small electronic device to capture the signal from nearby key fobs. The key fobs could be in a nearby home, for example, or in your pocket if you’re shopping close to where your car is parked. They then use the device to send the captured signal to a car. The car detects the signal and unlocks the doors. Thieves then locate and break into the unlocked car.
How long does it take?
Less than 60 seconds and it is near silent.
Is my car keyless?
Keyless cars can be opened when the key fob is close to the car and driven when it is inside the car. These cars have a start button rather than an ignition key. If you have to put your key into the door lock or push a button on your key to open the door, your car isn’t keyless.
How do I protect my keyless car?
Here are some tips to protect your keyless car to ensure it isn’t broken into or stolen:
1 Check your car every time you lock it
Does it seem to be locking normally? Are the lights flashing? The wing mirrors folding in? Do you hear the locks engaging etc.
Walk around your car to make sure that the doors and boot are securely locked.
2 Store your key fob away from your car
Don’t keep your key fob close to your front door when you’re at home. Store your fob further away from your car in a room at the rear of your home, for example.
3 Keep key fobs in an aluminium tin
For extra safety, keep your key fob in an aluminium tin which should block signals sent from your key fob.
4 Buy a signal-blocking pouch
Metal-lined security pouches (also known as Faraday pouches) can stop your key fob from transmitting signals to your car. But before you buy one check first that your key fob is compatible. Remember to bring the pouch with you so you can keep your key fob secure when you are at work, shopping etc.
5 Turn off your key fob
Check with your dealer or in your user manual if you can turn off your key fob after you have locked your car and on again when you want to unlock it.
6 Get CCTV or a GPS tracker
Install CCTV cameras where you can get a good view of your car (install motion or heat sensitive lights to light up your car if anyone gets close). Install a GPS system so that you can quickly find the location of your car if it’s stolen.
7 Make it harder to steal your car
Security devices like a steering wheel lock, a driveway parking post or even a wheel clamp make it more difficult for car thieves. If you have a garage, park inside it rather than on the driveway or road.
Even using something as simple as a car cover can slow down thieves, making it less likely that they will choose your car to break into.
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