As you may have heard there has recently been a significant increase in vehicle thefts in Surrey, in Berkshire and in Hampshire. Most of these vehicles have ‘keyless’ entry or ‘keyless’ start.

We believe this is happening because of the increase in cost, and supply issues with car parts. Alongside the cost increases of fuel and energy this makes a perfect storm for car thefts.

You may have even heard us talking about this on the James Cannon show on BBC Radio Surrey at about 07:45 on 15th June.

Keyless thefts work by using a ‘key repeater device’ which involves one person sat by the car with a receiver/transmitter and another with a transmitter/receiver standing near your front door (or wandering around the outside of the house looking for keys). Once the keys are within a few meters of the device, it forwards the conversation between keys and cars and the car thinks the keys are by the car.

There are a number of things you can do to help prevent this, the best is additional electronic immobilisation added to the vehicle, but other things can help

  • Faraday Pouch – you can store keys in faraday pouches that block the signal so it can not be picked up by the criminal’s devices
  • Biscuit Tin – not as effective as Faraday Pouches, but a good place to keep all your spare keys upstairs and away from the front of the house
  • Garage – put your car away every night
  • Turn off keys – some manufacturers (such as Mercedes Benz) have the ability to turn off the keyless function temporarily in a key by double clicking the lock button quickly (or some other sequence)
  • Disk-Lock – these large metal devices clip over the steering wheel with a big padlock.

The trouble with all of these, is it requires you to remember to use them – and so we actually recommend different products that you don’t have to remember to enable. These are: –

  • Hidden Immobiliser – the market leader is the Ghost 2 product we use – it is a tiny device that is hidden somewhere in the car and connected to the car’s wiring loom. It prevents the car from starting until a code is put in by the driver using buttons that already exist in the car (such as window switches, steering wheel controls, etc etc) – these prove almost 100% effective at preventing car theft. These are a once off cost (£450-£500) and can be moved to newer cars when you sell the vehicle.
  • Tracker with immobilisation – these involve an extra “tag” on your keyring – without this tag in the vehicle the car will not start. And even if the car is taken with the keys, normally the tracker aids in recovery. We say “normally” because thieves can block the GPS reception and data transmission from the tracker.

Are the manufacturers at fault ? We say “not really” – Keyless is a very convenient feature, and thieves aim to be break the systems. The vehicle’s equipment has evolved – better encryption of the data, keys that go to sleep if not moved automatically, vehicle trackers etc. However, every model of car has the same security – (i.e manufacturer installed tracking is always in the same place in the cars, and there is lots of information available because the service technicians need to be able to service these – also vehicle technicians are not DBS checked, whereas those installing the Ghost product are. We would like to see manufactures allowing the car owner to turn off all keyless functions on a semi-permanent basis – this is because often you can not buy the car without it even if you don’t want because of the way options are “packaged” together by the car makers.  There is one manufacturer that really needs to do some major updates, and to be fair that have software updates for the really badly affected vehicles.

So, if you are worried about vehicle theft, or you have a Range Rover, BMW, Mercedes, Audi, Bentley or Rolls Royce or any high performance vehicle, please contact us using the form below and we can help prevent your car from being stolen.