How to Prevent Keyless Car Theft | 4 Effective Methods

28th Nov 2022

By Daniel Hitchman

Keyless car theft prevention

According to The Association of British Insurers (ABI), £376 million was paid out in 2018 because of stolen vehicles, which represented a substantial increase of 27 percent when compared to 2017.

Although there's no data illustrating how many of these thefts were directly related to keyless relay attacks, which is where someone steals your car by manipulating the keyless entry signal, ABI believe the rise was partly driven by the vulnerability of these systems.

In this guide, we explain how keyless car theft works and how to prevent it from happening to you.

How does keyless car theft work?

Car start engine button

Keyless car theft essentially involves someone stealing the signal from your car's key fob, and using it to open the vehicle without the fob being physically present.

In order for your keyless fob to open your vehicle, the car and fob both share a unique signal that recognise each other.

The problem with this is that the signal can be captured by someone standing just a few meters away, who can then transmit the signal to someone else standing next to the car. As a result, this allows them to gain access to your car without the alarm sounding.

How to stop keyless car theft

There are a variety of methods for preventing keyless car theft from happening to you. We cover four of the most effect methods below, which are also relatively inexpensive.

Method One: Use a faraday pouch

If the thieves can't get access to the signal in the first place, then they have tripped at the first hurdle, which is what a faraday pouch does.

It's worth noting that some key fobs allow you to turn the signal off completely. We'd recommend having a look at your vehicle's handbook to see if and how this can be done.

How does a faraday pouch work?

Faraday pouches are lined with metallic materials that prevent the signal from getting out. A quality faraday pouch can be bought online for under £50, making them an affordable choice.

Method Two: Invest in a steering wheel lock

Car thief peeking through a car's window with a torch

Steering locks were a common sight prior to the 2000s because cars were easy targets back then. Over two decades on, and they're still an effective method for deterring thieves.

How does a steering wheel lock work?

There are a handful of different designs available, but the purpose of a steering wheel lock is to make it impossible (or very difficult) to operate the vehicle.

A steering wheel lock is usually a large metal apparatus that fits around your vehicle's steering wheel (as the name suggests), and sometimes has a large pole coming off it that prevents the wheel from being turned.

These locks are notoriously difficult to remove without a hefty amount of noise being generated, making them a great deterrent for anyone who lives in an urban area.

Method Three: Re-think where you keep your keys at night 

The main problem with keyless car theft is that your vehicle's fob can have its signal stolen from just a few meters away, which means a thief only has to stand outside your front window or door if you leave your keys on the side overnight.

Because of this, we recommend moving your keys away from external windows and doors at night. This will make it harder for thieves to capture the signal.

Method Four: Fit a tracking device

This may sound counter-intuitive considering this article is about preventing theft, but it's also worth knowing how you can maximise your chances of getting the car back should it get stolen.

Fitting your vehicle with a tracking device from a reputable company is guaranteed to enhance the chances of your vehicle being recovered. We'd recommend making sure it's hidden somewhere within the car that can't be easily accessed, since thieves are aware of their existence, and will look for one as a result.