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What are keyless cars? How to prevent theft?

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Keyless cars offer ease and convenience and are becoming increasingly popular. However, the rate of keyless entry car thefts is going up as well.

Keyless cars are becoming increasingly popular with cars like the Hyundai Kona and Lexus NX adopting this feature.
However, there have been reports about an increase in the number of cars with keyless entry being stolen. If you’re a keyless car owner or if you’re planning on buying a car with this feature, we’ve listed down some measures that keyless entry car owners can take.

What is a keyless entry car?

A keyless entry car uses a special key fob that senses when you’re near your car and automatically unlocks the door for you.
You still get a physical key, but you don’t need to insert it in the door to unlock your car. The key also automatically locks the car when it senses you’re walking away from the car after parking it. Cars such as the Jaguar F-Pace, BMW X2 and Nissan X-Trail have gone a step ahead and added a keyless boot feature which lets you open the tailgate hands-free by just waving your foot or anything else at the bottom of the bumper .

How are thieves targeting keyless cars?

Keyless car theft, also known as relay theft, is usually carried out by distorting the radio signals emitted from the keyless car.
Thieves usually target cars parked outside the house and use a relay amplifier to boost the car key’s signals. The amplifier extends the range from the fob, so the car thinks the fob is nearby and unlocks it. Some thieves also try to block the keyless device’s signal when you’re about to walk away from the car so that door doesn’t lock behind you.

How to protect keyless entry cars?

You can increase your car’s security or take a number of measures to make your car less appealing to thieves:
1. Invest in a keyless entry theft pouch Anti-theft car key pouches block the key’s signal and prevent thieves from boosting and replicating the key. These car key signal blockers are made from a metallic material that stops the relay amplifier from catching the key’s signal. The pouches usually also have a thick shielding cloth inside for extra protection. There are various protection cases available in the market for keyless entry keys. The prices usually range from £7-20. Most pouches are compatible with all keyless keys, but make sure you read the description carefully before buying to ensure that the pouch is compatible and is big enough to fit your key. Faraday pouches, POWR, iiWey and Vonetti pouches are quite popular- you can also find other such pouches online to choose from. 2. Store your car keys away from doors and window Thieves usually target cars outside people’s homes because it’s easier to catch the key’s signal, especially when it’s close to the door or window. You can lower the risk of theft by keeping the key away from where it’s easier for thieves to catch and boost the key’s signal. 3. Disable keyless key feature If having a keyless key feature in your car is not important to you, you could consider disabling it. You can find out how to turn off the keyless entry feature in your car’s manual. 4. Invest in a car security device Consider buying a security device to make it harder for thieves to break into your car. You could get a steering wheel lock or a wheel clamp – these are clearly visible to anyone eyeing your car so it can make your car less appealing to thieves as well as make it harder to break in and drive away. 5. Fit a tracking device If your car does get stolen, having a tracking device installed beforehand can aid in finding the car back. Vehicle trackers use GPS to track where your car is. The tracking device shows your car’s location directly on your phone. These are easy to use and readily available on the market.

Measures from the manufacturers and government

Manufacturers are working on making the cars securer to prevent thieves from exploiting the keyless device.
Some manufacturers have introduced a ‘sleep mode’ to the key fob, which stops the key from sending a signal when it hasn’t been in use for a while. The government, too, is taking measures to prevent keyless car theft. The National Vehicle Crime Working Group is working with the police and manufacturers to help tackle and reduce the number of car thefts. The Group has established a horizon-scanning group to identify potential other trends, threats and vulnerabilities in vehicle security.

Insuring a keyless car

Your keyless car should be covered by your car insurance in case you need to make a claim, but you should find out the exact terms and conditions of your policy to make sure you’re financially protected.
It may be worth confirming from your insurance provider if the insurance costs are going to increase in the coming years because of the rise in keyless car thefts. You should also check if you need to have your car key insured to claim your car insurance.

What to do if your car is stolen

If your car’s been stolen:
1. Inform your local police 2. Tell your insurance company to make a claim 3. If your insurance company compensates you for your car, inform the DV

You can find more tips on safety and security when buying a car.

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