Keyless car safety

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Michelle Newman

“Keyless Go is one of the many new impressive features of new car technology that has really taken off in recent years. It means most modern cars no longer require a traditional key to open, or in many cases, even start the car,” says Sinead McCann of CarsIreland.ie.

“A signal is sent from a key fob to open the car and once the key is detected from inside the vehicle, the driver can then start their car with the push of a button. Unfortunately, with new technology comes new opportunity for thieves and incidents of signal cloning are on the rise, whereby a device is used to copy the radio signal being transmitted from the electronic key fob and then used to gain access to a vehicle.”

Keyless car theft is a sneaky, virtually undetectable crime but there are some precautions you can take to stop it happening to you:

1.     Keep your keys in a metal box. It might sound a little tinfoil hat, but this is a simple and thrifty way to help prevent the signal from being transmitted. There are also signal blocking pouches available online which essentially do the same thing.

2.     Store your key out of sight, and far away from windows and doors. This is a good habit for all car owners as it also helps protect from other more low-tech theft, involving a fishing rods and hooks. Likewise, it will make it more difficult for this new breed of thief to pick up a signal from outside.

3.     Watch out for any unusual loitering in your area. It’s a good idea to join your local neighbourhood watch group and make each other aware of any suspicious activity.

4.     Go old-school; it might feel like a step back in time but a steering wheel lock will prevent the car from going anywhere even if they do manage to get in. As will barriers to exit gates, parking posts and blocking your car in with another (less high-tech) vehicle.

5.     Don’t leave anything valuable in your car and especially not within sight. Even if a thief can’t drive away, you still don’t want them making off with your personal possessions. Expensive sunglasses, power tools and personal documents are all tempting options to a thief that can get in and out within seconds.

6.     Fight new technology with new technology. Some new cars will already have a tracking device built in already but fitting one in your car will make it easier to locate if it does get stolen.

Catherine Devane