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Keep your car from getting stolen

  • Keyless entry systems mean new type of car theft
  • Hackers can access computer systems and drive off
  • Advice on keeping your car safe
Words By Matthew Burrow

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Keyless entry is designed to make getting into and driving off in your car more convenient. Unfortunately, it's making it easier for car thieves as well.

A number of premium brands including Audi, BMW and Range Rover are going up the list of the most stolen cars in the UK. That's down to car hacking.

Thieves can purchase a device from abroad that can be plugged into a car's OBD-port or can copy the radio signals that come from your digital key fob.

Manufacturers are always looking into ways to make their cars safer, but what can you do in the meantime?

Here's our list of suggestions to make your car a more difficult target, even if it does have keyless entry:

  • Park somewhere safe. Ideally you'd park your car in a locked garage but this isn't always possible. When parking your car on the street, make sure that you park it in a well lit area and that you take all valuables with you.

  • Fit a tracking device. A number of companies offer devices that use a combination of motion sensors, GPS and radio signals to keep tabs on the location of your car. Fitting one could give you peace of mind and also lower your insurance premium.

  • OBD-port lock. When your car is serviced, the technician will access the car's computer systems by plugging into the OBD-port. Unfortunately, this port also allows hackers to plug into your car. Companies now sell locks that prevent access to the port without a code or a key, locking out hackers and would-be thieves.

  • Keep the keys or key fob in a safe place. The easiest way to steal a car is to get hold of the keys. When you are at home make sure that you keep the car keys in a safe place that a thief wouldn't immediately find. When out and about, keep your key safe and always take it with you when you go into the petrol station.

  • Steering wheel lock. Even if a thief gains access to your car, they'll be slowed down by a steering wheel lock. These might be inconvenient for you but they also act as a deterrent.

  • Speak to customer services. Car manufacturers often release software updates. Stay in touch with the customer services department to make sure that your car has the latest version of any software to make it harder for thieves to hack your car's security system.