More Than Half Of Keyless Car Owners Leave Keys Unprotected

Thu 11th Aug 2022

Keyless car technology is no longer a technology fad, and while thousands of motorists are enjoying driving away without having to put their key in the ignition, there is a growing number of car thieves wise to the major security flaw.

Anyone who owns a keyless car will have been warned about ‘relay’ thefts, whereby criminals use sophisticated radio signal technology to imitate your car key signal to steal your car. But despite the warnings, record levels of vehicles are being stolen, and in many cases it is the use of relay tech which is allowing the thieves to get away.

The AA has polled some 4,079 motorists with keyless cars and found that 51 per cent of owners do not taking any precautions to protect their keys and their car. Motorists can purchase protective Faraday pouches which block the signal when you place your key fob in them, other less sophisticated methods include placing keys in a microwave or freezer. Experts suggest that the key signal can be imitated from up to 100 yards away, which means that many vehicles are easy prey for the thieves.

Ironically, Edmund King, President of the AA, who is issuing the advice, has been a victim of relay crime himself when his wife’s Lexus was stolen earlier this year. Mr King now locks his keys in a faraday pouch which he locks inside a metal box, inside a microwave at the back of the house. King warns that even if the pouch is slightly open it is vulnerable.

Gus Park, managing director of AA Insurance Services, said: “The key has always been the most vulnerable part of the car when it comes to security, but many are unaware how important it is to protect it.

“Car thieves have gone high-tech and relay theft has been on the rise for some time, yet drivers are still unaware of the risks surrounding keyless entry cars. Keyless entry is becoming more common too with more manufacturers offering the tech on lower specification cars.

“Drivers should do all they can to protect their keys. 

“While a minority store their keys in the microwave it is not recommended and there are simpler ways of safeguarding your vehicle.

“For as little as a tenner, people can reduce the risk of theft by keeping their keys in a faraday pouch.  

“Depending on the spare key, drivers may need two as this may also be a keyless entry key. 

“They should also be stored well away from the front door and kept out of sight.”