Prevent Keyless Car Theft

Keyless car theft, or relay theft, is a crime that's on the rise. Thieves use electronic devices to amplify your key's signal and open the locks on your car. You can use basic tips or more advanced techniques to combat these thieves and keep your car safe.


Following Basic Safety Tips

  1. Make sure your car is properly and completely locked. When you get out of your car, walk around it and check that every door is locked. It's also a good idea to make sure the trunk is closed and ensure that all of your car's windows are fully closed as thieves can use open windows to break into cars.[1]
    • Try not to leave anything valuable out in your car so it's visible. If you are going to store valuables in your trunk, don't put them in there until right before you leave for your destination. Otherwise, criminals might see you storing things in your trunk and then target the trunk when they break into your car.[2]
  2. Store your keys in a secure location in your home. Most people tend to put their keys right next to their front door. This will only make you more susceptible to keyless car theft. Thieves can amplify your key's signal from your front door and unlock your car.[3]
    • A good place to put your keys is on the kitchen table. The kitchen is usually located at the back of the home and is, therefore, one of the furthest points from your car.
    • A tin/aluminum container will also block signals and can be used as an alternative.
    • Hide your spare keys in a different but equally secure location.
  3. Purchase a key signal blocking case to prevent thieves from amplifying its signal. Companies have started selling these cases to help car owners protect their keys. These cases will completely block your key's signal so thieves cannot use it to unlock your car. Place your keys in the pouch when you're at home, school, or work.[4]
    • You can buy these cases online from as low as $5.
  4. Park your car in your garage if you have one. If thieves want to steal your car and it's parked in your garage, they'll need to break into your garage to get to the car. If your car is parked in your garage, criminals are less likely to see it and identify it as an item to steal.[5]
    • Make sure your garage is secure if you do store your car in there.
  5. Place a car cover over your car if you want to make it harder to get into. Car covers make it much more awkward for thieves to steal your car. If you don't have a car cover, use some tarpaulin or another material to cover your car. Even if the criminals unlock the car, they'll have to take the cover off the car to get in. This increases your chances of catching them.[6]
    • If you want to buy a car cover, try your local garage or car dealership to see if they sell them.
    • Car covers also will hide the interior of your car so that people cannot see what you have inside of it. This keeps criminals from being able to find things to steal and breaking into your car.[7]

Using Advanced Techniques

  1. Check your car's manual to see if you can turn the key off. Turning the key off makes it impossible for thieves to amplify the key's signal. You can switch the key off when you're finished with the car and turn it back on before you need to use your car again. If you can't find your manual, ask at the dealership or look online to find out if your key can be switched off.[8]
    • Some keys can be turned off with a double-click or by pushing certain buttons in a certain order. Test your key by pushing the open button twice to see if it'll turn the key off.
  2. Place a steering wheel lock on your wheel to deter thieves. A steering wheel lock is exactly what it sounds like. It's a bar-like object that you place on your wheel and lock into place with a key. It stops the wheel from being turned and renders the car useless to thieves. If the thief can't steer the car, they can't steal it.[9]
    • You can buy a steering wheel lock at your local car parts store or car dealership.
  3. Install a secondary car alarm in your car for extra protection. You can get a secondary car alarm installed in your car at the local garage or car dealership. Secondary car alarms have a wide range of capabilities. The best on the market are able to tell you if your car doors are open or closed from up to {{safesubst:#invoke:convert|convert}} away.[10]
    • The top of the line secondary car alarms cost around $400. However, you can get a more basic secondary alarm for $40 or so,
  4. Use a GPS tracking device to track the location of your car in case it does get stolen. GPS tracking devices let you and the police find out the precise location of your car. Stolen cars have a much higher chance of being recovered when fitted with a tracking device. [11]
    • Buy a GPS tracker at your local car parts or electronics store.
  5. Install CCTV if you don't have a garage. It might seem drastic, but you can place a camera on the outside of your home to keep an eye on your car. Link the camera to your television and you can switch to the CCTV channel any time you want to check on your car. Contact a local security company to arrange for a professional to set up the CCTV up for you.[12]
    • A CCTV system will cost around $1000 to set up outside your home.
    • If you don't want to set up a CCTV system, consider installing a camera but not connecting it to electricity. Even the presence of a CCTV camera can be enough to deter thieves.
  6. Update your car's software if you have a smart dashboard. Sometimes car software is insecure or can be susceptible to hacking. Companies will bring out security updates every so often to make a car more safe and secure. Check once a month to see if there are any new software updates for your car.[13]
    • Navigate the menus on the dashboard screen to look for the update option. You can usually find update information in the "settings" panel.


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