How to Prevent Keyless Vehicle Theft

Keyless vehicle theft is on the rise, fuelled in part by both the higher demand for used cars and vans, and gaps and shortages in the supply chain for replacement parts due to Brexit and Covid.
The Home Office reports that every five minutes in the UK, a vehicle is stolen. Between March 2021 and March 2022, 108,542 vehicle thefts were reported, with the most targeted vehicle being the popular Ford Fiesta, and Ford Transit vans and Mercedes-Benz sprinters are also on thieves’ hitlists.
Steering wheels are increasingly what thieves are after, too. Their theft has risen by %133 in the last year. Why? Because thieves want their hands on the airbags inside, which can fetch a high market value. Other car parts including gear sticks are being nabbed, and catalytic converter theft still accounts for around 20% of vehicle theft claims within the past year.

How keyless theft works

Keyless entry – a system where you don’t need to take out your key from your bag or pocket in order to drive - is a great technological advancement and was surely intended to thwart car thieves, but they have evolved their techniques to find a way around advanced security measures, meaning keyless vehicle thefts have risen by 19% in the last year. A keyless system relies on short range radio waves between key and vehicle, sometimes to both open the door and start the engine.
Keyless theft is also sometimes known as relay theft. It involves two thieves working as a team, one using a relay amplifier and the other a relay transmitter. Targeting cars or vans parked close to a property, or on the driveway, the relay amplifier will pick up the signal from the key somewhere inside the property and the relay transmitter is placed near the car to fool it into thinking the owner of the car is nearby with the key. The car is then allowed to be unlocked and driven away.

How to prevent keyless vehicle theft

Here a few good tips:
- Keep your key as far away from your vehicle as possible when it is parked at home or at work, ideally away from doors and windows.
- Potentially confuse thieves, if you can, by parking a little further down the street so they don’t know which car belongs to which property.
- Invest in a Faraday pouch to store your key in. This is a pouch or box with a metallic lining which will block radio signals. Alternatively, you could use any metal tin like a biscuit tin.
- Use a steering wheel lock.
- Use wheel clamps and pedal box.
- Block in a keyless vehicle with a non-keyless vehicle so it can’t to driven off.
Other ideas are:
- Install a tracking device, so if your vehicle is stolen, the provider and/or the police can find the vehicle. Some insurance policies will require one and, if your car has a tracking device installed, this may benefit the cost of the premium.
- Disable the keyless system altogether. If your concern is great, it’s possible to do this – consult your manual or car dealer.

The response from manufacturers

Vehicle manufacturers are taking preventative steps, like providing Faraday pouches with some key fobs, designing fobs that deactivate radio signals when the key is at rest i.e., not in a pocket or hung up, or using ultra-wide band radio technology which makes it impossible for thieves to work out which signal belongs to which vehicle.
Ascend is here to help. We have extensive experience in insuring commercial motor fleets. We are committed to assisting you with risk management and driving down claims. Contact us today for your full motor insurance needs.

Other Blogs that may be of interest:

Consider self insurance for your motor fleet
Motor Trade Underinsurance
How Your Business Can Reduce Their Motoring Costs

Any questions? Please don’t hesitate to contact one of our team.  |  Office: 01245 449060


Recent Posts

Quick insurance proccess

Talk to an expert