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Three ways thieves can break into your car

The old ways of stealing a car, breaking a window or springing the lock and hot-wiring the ignition are largely a thing of the past. Vehicle makers have designed in much better security features.

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Why then is car crime still a problem?

It’s because things like remote locking systems and keyless starts, whilst solving older problems, have introduced some new ones of their own.

Signal jamming

Most modern vehicles have a central locking system triggered by a key fob radio transmitter. Jamming involves criminals transmitting a signal on the same frequency in order to block the signal from the fob and leave the car unlocked as the driver walks away. This allows the criminal to gain access to the vehicle and steal any contents.

To protect yourself against jamming look for the lights flashing and listen for the click of the locks as you lock the car. Try the door handle before walking away if you are not sure the car has locked correctly.

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Key programming

Of course just gaining access to the vehicle doesn’t mean it can be driven away. However, new technology allows criminals to use a low-cost device that can be connected to the car’s diagnostic port – all cars from the last decade or so have these – to create a new key fob that can start the car. The best way to guard against this is via additional security measures like ghost vehicle immobilisers from http://www.mphvehiclesolutions.co.uk/ghost-vehicle-security, which isolate vital electrical systems, or a physical steering wheel lock.

Relay signals

Keyless entry systems don’t rely on you pressing a button to unlock the car, merely the presence of a fob emitting the correct radio signal. Usually these fobs only have a range of a few feet so you need to be close to the vehicle to trip the locks.

Thieves exploit this by using a pair of wireless transmitters, one held near the vehicle, one near to the key – close to a window of the house where keys are on a table, for example. This boosts the signal to fool the car into thinking the fob is close. Since keyless start systems use the same signal, this enables theft of the car. To stay safe keep keys out of sight and store them in a metal tin.


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