MLA Master Locksmiths are Vetted Inspected Qualified

Prevent Keyless Car Theft – 8 Quick Prevention Tips

Keyless Car Theft Prevention

Find out what Keyless car theft is & how to prevent your keyless entry car being stolen. Learn if your car is keyless entry & what car models are at risk as keyless car theft (relay theft) is a crime on the rise.

Prevent Keyless Car Theft – Advice & Tips
Keyless Car Theft FAQ’s

What is Keyless Car Theft?

Keyless car theft (aka Relay Theft/Relay Crime) is where the signal from a key for a so-called “Keyless entry” car is captured by somebody standing outside the victim’s house using a device.

Keyless Car Theft – How It Works

Step 1 – The device transmits the signal to somebody else standing by the victim’s car.

Step 2–  This then fools the car into thinking the key is near it, and so it allows the doors to be opened and ignition to be started.

“Keyless car theft can take only 20-30 seconds”

How far do thieves need to be away from my car keys?

Keyless Car Theft happens when thieves are only within a few metres from your car keys to capture the signal.   We will tell you how you can stop thieves capturing your car key signal shortly.

Keyless car entry ignition

Cars with keyless entry are at risk to relay theft

How Long Does Keyless Car Theft Take to Happen?

Keyless car theft can take only 20-30 seconds.

What device is used in Keyless Car Theft?

Relay crime is when a certain type of specialist electronic equipment captures the signal from the Key and transmits it to a receiver that somebody standing next to the car has.

Is My Car Keyless Entry?

If you have to push a button on your car keys to enter your car, you are not at risk of being “hacked”.

Only cars with a keyless entry system can be stolen using so called “relay” equipment.

Keyless entry cars allow the driver to unlock and start the car with the key fob still in their pocket.  Once in the car, the driver can press a button to start the engine.

Full guide to what keyless entry is

Prevent Keyless Car Theft (Quick Tips)

To protect your keyless entry car from being a victim of relay theft, here some are some quick tips:

1. Use a Signal blocking pouch (Faraday Bag) – Keep your car keys safe

Car key burglaries are on the increase, why not keep your car keys in a safe!

If you have a ‘keyless entry’ car, then make sure your keys are kept well away from doors and windows.

Keep your car key in a screened box/tin/bag so that the signal can’t be ‘grabbed’ from the outside and used to open your car – and don’t forget to do the same with any spare set!

Fact: Signal Blocking pouches are also known as Faraday Bags or Pouches

Why Use a Signal Blocking Pouch (Faraday Bag)

Signal Blocking Pouch protecting car key fob

A Signal blocking pouching can protect your keys  |  Image provided by Solon Security

Signal Blocking pouches can stop access to your vehicle by blocking your car key fob from transmitting its code to the vehicle, as the pouches are lined with layers of metallic material.

“The pouch which has a metalic lining Image, which prevents signals from the remote key fob being intercepted by unwanted individuals”
John Mutch Locksmith

Putting your keys in a signal blocking pouch will stop any thieves from being able to amplify the signal used in relay theft.

How much do signal blocking pouches cost?

These pouches are cheap to purchase as well, from as low as £5, they can also be used to block WI-FI and Bluetooth signals on Mobile Phones.

Faraday/Signal Blocking Pouch Guide
Best Signal Blocking Pouches Guide

2. Turn off Keyless Fob’s Wireless Signal 

Do you have a keyless fob? Wireless signals on some keyless fobs can be switched off.

To turn off your wireless signal, you should look in your car’s manual to see if you can do this.

If you can’t find anything in your manual about turning off your fob, you should contact the vehicle’s manufacturer.

Wikihow guide to turning off fob

3. Use a Steering Wheel Lock or Car Alarm to stop Keyless Car Theft

Another method to prevent keyless car theft is by fitting a steering wheel lock or car alarm.

Most modern car thieves are equipped with laptops rather than hand tools, so mechanical devices – such as steering wheel locks – can be a real deterrent.

Steering Wheel Lock

A Steering Wheel Lock can prevent keyless car theft

When purchasing a security device, look out for 3rd party approval such as Sold Secure, whereby the product is tested against tools used by criminals such as Crowbars and Angle Grinders.

Find a approved steering wheel lock

An alarm can reduce your car insurance

If you haven’t got a factory-fitted alarm, you may be able to reduce the cost of your car insurance by fitting a car alarm.

Check with your insurer that the alarm is approved, as the quality can differ with car alarms.

And the single most cost-effective way to reduce your insurance premium is to fit an immobiliser, just make sure it’s professionally fitted.

Will a car alarm impact my insurance

4. Park in a Garage at Night to Prevent Keyless Car Theft

Park your car in a garage overnight is ideal to stop keyless car theft, this increases the distance between your car and potential thieves trying intercept and amplify the signal from your car key fob.

Don’t have a garage or park on your driveaway? – If you’re parking on your driveway, park defensively, i.e. as close to your property as you can.

Extra Security to Prevent Keyless Car Theft

Consider upgrading our home security, by fitting outdoor motion detector lighting and CCTV cameras.  If you park on the street, ensure it’s in an area that is well lit.

A local MLA master locksmith can undertake a home security check and advise on how to best to upgrade your outdoor security.

18 Home Security Tips
Outdoor Security Advice

5. Get your windows etched (Vin Etching)

Etching the last seven digits of your Vehicle Identity Number (or registration) onto the windows, headlights and mirrors means anybody tries to steal your vehicle by keyless car theft will have a tough job when trying to alter your vehicle’s identity .

Is Vin etching worth it?

6. Keep your vehicle tidy can prevent Car Keyless Car Theft

We’ve all heard it, but how many still don’t follow the advice.

Make sure to keep the inside of your vehicle clear of clutter, try and hide any electrical items such as Sat Navs & Mobile phones.

Try to keep your glove box empty, and why not leave your glove box open to show you’ve got nothing to hide.

Don’t forget to hide any signs of high-cost equipment as well, such as the marks that Sat-Nav suction cups leave on your windscreen!

7. Prevent lost car keys being stolen

Lost car keys image

Should you have lost your car keys then we recommend contacting a local MLA auto locksmith, who are experts with vehicle locks and keys.

They will make sure that only the keys you have cannot be used by the thief, removing all others your vehicles database, this will stop any stolen keys being used.

Get car keys reprogramed
Best way to replace lost car keys

8. Re-programme your keys

If you buy a second-hand vehicle, there is a risk that you may not be given all the sets of car keys.

car key programming - prevent keyless car theft

Reprogramming your car keys can stop thieves using stolen keys

If you’re unsure, get car keys reprogrammed so previous owners can’t access the vehicle.

Warning: Although be warned programming of some vehicles keys can be quite expensive, especially if you go direct to the manufacturers, make you hire an auto locksmith who is usually cheaper

Car Models at threat to Keyless Car Theft

Any car with keyless entry is at a threat to relay crime.

Popular models found to such as a Ford Fiesta, Volkswagen Golf, Nissan Qashqai and Ford Focus are all at risk.

This was reported by the BBC in their Hundreds of popular cars ‘at risk of keyless theft article which included research analysed data on keyless – or “relay” attacks on cars.

View Keyless Cars Tested

A study was carried out by General German Automobile Club (ADAC), who tested 237 keyless cars and found 230 vehicles could all be unlocked and started using Relay Crime.

Keyless Entry Cars Tested Against Keyless Car Theft by Thatcham

In 2019 Thatcham launched a security rating for keyless entry car models and how they performed against relay theft, below are the results.

PASSED Vehicle Models of Keyless Car Theft Test

The following keyless entry car models PASSED Thatchams relay attack test and were given a superior security rating:

Keyless Entry Vehicle Model Pass Or Fail
Security Rating
Audi e-tron Pass Superior
BMW 1 Series / 7 Series / 8 Series Pass Superior
BMW X6 / X7 Pass Superior
Ford Puma Pass Superior
Jaguar XE Pass Superior
Land Rover Evoque Pass Superior
Mercedes B-Class Pass Superior
Porsche 911 Pass Superior
Porsche Macan Pass Superior
Volkswagen Passat Pass Superior

FAILED Vehicle Models of Keyless Car Theft Test

The below keyless entry car models FAILED Thatchams relay attack test and were given a poor security rating:

Keyless Entry Vehicle Model Pass Or Fail
Security Rating
DS3 Crossback Fail Poor
Ford Mondeo Fail Poor
Kia ProCeed Fail Poor
Lexus UX Fail Poor
Hyundai Nexo Fail Poor
Mazda 3 Fail Poor
Toyota Corolla Fail Poor
Toyota RAV-4 Fail Poor
Volvo V60 Fail Poor

Keyless Car Theft – Frequently Asked Questions

Does putting car keys in a tin block the signal?

Storing a car key fob in a metallic tin MAY prevent keyless car theft, keeping your car key fob in a metallic tin can potentially block the signal from the thieves trying to relay the signal from your car key fob.

If storing your car key fob in a metallic container, we recommend testing first to check if the signal is blocked.

The most secure method to block the signal is using a signal blocking pouch / faraday pouch to store your car key fob safely.

Where should I keep my car keys at night?

To prevent keyless car theft if you have a keyless entry car, we recommend storing your car key fob at night in a signal blocking pouch ( also known as a faraday pouch ) to stop your car key fob signal being received, also place your car keys far away from any doors and windows.

Will My Car Insurance Cover Keyless Car theft?

With car theft payouts at a record high in 2019 rumour has it that relay crime is a cause behind this rise.

Most Car insurance policies will cover theft if your car is stolen because of keyless theft, but they may require proof that you still have all available keys (we recommend checking with your insurer).

Are Car Manufacturers doing anything to Prevent Keyless Car Theft?

Yes, some car manufacturers are introducing preventative measures to help prevent keyless cars from being stolen.

Kia are providing their own faraday bag that helps block the car signal.

Ford Focus, Fiesta, BMW, Audi & Mercedes have introduced Motion Sensor Key Fobs. A Motion sensor car fob will go into sleep mode after being inactive for 40 seconds, which prevents any criminals from getting the cars signal.

Are Vans also at threat to Keyless Theft?

Yes, in 2018 there was a increase in keyless van thefts.  The most popular van model stolen were Ford Transits.

What is the future of Relay theft?

Our Managing Director Steffan George met with West Midlands Police and Crime Commissioner David Jamieson to meet with car manufacturers to call for more action to tackle vehicle thefts.

We recommend at the very least storing your car key fob in a faraday pouch, to prevent your car from being a victim of relay theft.

Have a Question about Keyless Car theft?

If you concered about keyless car theft, contact us below or speak to a MLA licensed car locksmith in your area.

Contact us about keyless car theft

Find nearest car locksmith for advice

Recommended Reading

Why use a MLA Approved Locksmith?

All locksmith companies approved & licensed by Master Locksmiths Association are:

Vetted Locksmith
All our Master Locksmiths are criminal record checked


Our Locksmiths are criminal record checked.
How we check our locksmiths

Locksmith Inspection
All our Master Locksmiths are criminal record checked


Our Locksmiths are Regularly Inspected.
How we inspect our locksmiths

Locksmith Qualification
All our Master Locksmiths are criminal record checked


Our Locksmiths have passed the MLA Qualification.
Read about MLA Qualification

Vetted Locksmiths In the UK

Find Nearest Locksmith

Become a MLA Member

Join the UK's largest locksmith association, all levels of membership available for those new to locksmithing to trading locksmiths.

Find a Locksmith


Find a Locksmith