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How to Protect Your Car Keys from Theft

Diagram illustrating the process of keyless car theft, showing thieves using relay devices to capture and transmit the signal from a car key fob inside a house to unlock and start a nearby vehicle.

Keyless car technology has made life easier. But, it's also caused more car thefts. Thieves can capture your key's signal in seconds, leading to a rise in keyless theft. It's a big issue we need to address. So, how can you keep your car keys safe and stop thieves?

We will look into different ways to protect your car keys. We'll start by explaining how keyless car theft works. Then, we will move on to steps you can take to keep your car safe. Our goal is to help you understand and fight back against thieves.

Key Takeaways

  • Keyless or "relay" theft is a growing problem, where thieves use devices to capture the signal from your car key fob and gain access to your vehicle.

  • Using a signal blocking pouch (Faraday bag) can effectively prevent thieves from intercepting your key fob's signal.

  • Turning off the wireless signal on your keyless fob, if your vehicle's manufacturer provides that functionality, can also enhance security.

  • Installing additional security measures, such as a steering wheel lock or car alarm, can deter thieves and make your car less attractive to target.

  • Keeping your vehicle tidy and free of clutter can reduce the risk of opportunistic theft.

Understanding Keyless Car Theft

Keyless car theft, also called "relay theft," happens when thieves use gadgets to steal your car. They capture the signal from your key fob. Then, they unlock and start your car. This sneaky crime can occur when the thieves are near your car keys, possibly inside your house.

What is Keyless Car Theft?

This type of theft is becoming more common. It takes advantage of the cool keyless entry systems in cars. Here's how it works. Thieves get a hold of the signal from your fob using special devices. This tricks your car into thinking the key is close, opening the doors for them.

How Does Keyless Car Theft Work?

Thieves use special devices to snatch the signal from your car key. Then, they transmit it to another device near your car. This tricks your car into unlocking and starting up. Shockingly, they can do all this in just 20-30 seconds without even touching your keys.

Keyless Entry Cars at Risk

Cars with keyless entry features are at higher risk for this kind of theft. Because you don't need to insert a key, it's easier for criminals to use devices to steal your car. Their main target is the key's lack of physical use.

A black Faraday bag with a car key fob being placed inside, demonstrating how the pouch blocks signals to prevent keyless car theft.

Preventing Keyless Car Keys Theft

A great way to stop keyless car theft is by using a signal blocking pouch, also called a Faraday bag. These bags have a metal layer that stops your car key fob's signal. This makes it hard for thieves to pick up the signal. A Faraday bag costs about $5 and works for other devices, like phones, too.

Use a Signal Blocking Pouch (Faraday Bag)

A Faraday bag is an easy and strong way to keep your car safe. It stops the signal from your car keys, making it tough for thieves to use special devices to steal your car. This method keeps your car secure.

Turn Off Keyless Fob's Wireless Signal

If your car maker lets you, another way to stop theft is by turning off the wireless signal. You can find out if your car can do this by checking the manual or asking the maker. Turning off the signal means thieves can't use it to unlock your car.

Additional Security Measures

 Keep your car safe by doing more than just using signal blocking pouches. Adding a steering wheel lock or car alarm helps. They make it harder for thieves to take your car.

 Nighttime, put your car in a garage. It makes it harder for thieves to get close because of the extra space. Also, etching your car windows with the VIN makes it tricky for thieves to hide your car's identity.

Install a Steering Wheel Lock or Car Alarm

 A steering wheel lock or a car alarm adds a layer of protection. They prevent thieves from easily taking your car. Thieves might not even try to steal your car if they see these devices in place.

Park in a Garage at Night

 Picking a garage to park your car at night lowers the risk of keyless theft. It keeps your car far from thieves and their tools. This distance makes it tough for thieves to pick up your keyless fob signal, protecting your car's safety.

Get Your Windows Etched (VIN Etching)

 Etching your car's windows with the VIN stops thieves. This makes it hard for them to change your car's identity and sell it. The marked VIN stays on the car, even if the thief tries to remove other identification.

Car Keys Theft Prevention Tips

There are more steps to avoid car key theft. Try to keep your car tidy inside. This means no visible valuables or gadgets. Thieves won't be as likely to target your clean car.

Keep Your Vehicle Tidy

A clean car is nicer to drive but also safer. Thieves are less tempted when they can't see anything valuable. Keep your things hidden. It makes your car less of a target for thieves.

Prevent Lost Car Keys from Being Stolen

If you lose your keys, act fast. Call a locksmith to reprogram them. This stops anyone with the lost keys from getting into your car. It's a key way to prevent theft.

Reprogram Your Car Keys

When you buy a used car, consider reprogramming the keys. This keeps old owners from accessing your car. It's an easy way to make your car more secure. You'll feel better knowing your car is safer.

A steering wheel lock securely attached to a car's steering wheel and a close-up of a car alarm system installed under the dashboard, showcasing effective anti-theft measures.

Secure Keyless Entry Car Models

Not all keyless entry cars are the same when it comes to theft risk. Some car makers have improved their keyless systems' security. They use motion sensors to put the key fob to sleep when not in use. They also let you turn off the wireless signal.

Research by groups like Thatcham shows this. Cars like the Audi e-tron, certain BMW and Porsche models have high security ratings. But models like the DS3 Crossback, Ford Mondeo, and Toyota RAV-4 are at a higher risk of relay theft.


Keyless car theft is getting more common, but you can fight back. Protecting your car keys is the first step. Use a signal blocking pouch or Faraday bag to keep your keyless fob safe. It stops thieves from catching your fob's signal. If you can, turn off your fob's wireless signal to make your car even safer.

In addition to this, add more security to your car like a steering wheel lock or a car alarm. These make thieves think twice. Keeping your car neat inside can also help. Thieves are less likely to target a car that looks well-kept. With these steps, you can lower the chance of keyless car theft. It will help you feel more secure about your car security.

Always be on the lookout and follow these tips to keep your car and belongings safe. Being proactive will help you stay a step ahead of thieves. Even as keyless car theft methods change, you can protect your car if you're prepared.


What is keyless car theft?

Keyless car theft, also called "relay theft," happens when thieves use gadgets. They capture your car key's signal. Then, they unlock and start your car with it.

How does keyless car theft work?

Thieves can steal your car without your key, from just a few meters away. They use a device to catch the key's signal. This makes your car's system think the key is right there, letting them in.

Which keyless entry cars are at risk of theft?

Cars with keyless entry are often targets. Thieves can access and start these cars without a real key.

How can I prevent keyless car theft?

A good way to stop this theft is to use a signal blocking pouch. This pouch stops your key's signal. So, thieves can't grab it to unlock your car.

What other security measures can I take?

Besides pouches, turning off your key's wireless signal can help, if possible. You can also use a steering wheel lock or an alarm. Parking in a garage, or having your car's VIN on the windows, adds extra protection.

How can I protect my car keys from being stolen?

Keep your car neat inside to deter thieves. Also, hide any valuable items and electronics. If you lose your keys, reprogram them immediately to stop any theft attempts.

Are all keyless entry cars equally vulnerable to theft?

Not all keyless cars are easy to steal. Some makers use advanced tech to protect against theft. This includes features like motion sensors and the option to turn off the key's signal.

Locksmithland | Locksmith Delray Beach & Palm Beach County, Florida

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Additional credit goes to:

The Original Locksmith Boynton Beach for helping gather content for this blog.


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