Relay theft: Car insurers throw out claims, with drivers told ‘you’re the criminal’

1. Keep your key fob well away from your vehicle – and store it in a Faraday wallet

To best protect against keyless car theft, always place the keyfob as far away from the vehicle as you can and store it in a location that is not close to doors or windows in your property.

Halfords sells faraday pouches for £5

Even keeping them upstairs or in a room that’s the furthest distance from your driveway will not guarantee that a criminal using relay tactics won’t be able to infiltrate the signal.

For the best level of protection, owners of cars with keyless tech should purchase a Faraday pouch or wallet.

You can buy these online for as little as £5. They isolate the key fob’s signal so it can’t be replicated by thieves.

Metal tins and boxes will also provide similar protective levels, as will keeping your key fob in a fridge freezer, microwave or oven – just remember they are in there before turning on the latter two. 

Also, don’t forget about your spare keys and apply the same level of care you would to your main keys or fob.

Keeping your keyless fob in a tin will block the signal and prevent thieves from duplicating it to break into your vehicle

Keeping your keyless fob in a tin will block the signal and prevent thieves from duplicating it to break into your vehicle

2. Invest in extra anti-theft protection

A simple steering wheel lock or wheel clamp might look ugly but are a great tool to deter even the hardiest criminals with the most tech.

They will act as a visual deterrent for thieves who will likely avoid them.

For a criminal to remove a steering wheel lock typically requires the use of noisy drills or saws to cut through, and therefore they are the ideal first line of defence for owners with models that have keyless car tech.

Drivers should also consider wheel clamps as well as having alarm systems and trackers (read more about these below) installed. 

Owners of vans with keyless technology should also consider fitting deadbolts for additional protection, especially if they store expensive tools and items in their commercial vehicles overnight. 

3. Be mindful when locking the doors 

It may sound simple but always make sure your vehicle is locked every time you leave it – especially in busy car parks where thieves often use signal blockers.

Many drivers also don’t realise that on some vehicle models if you press your key fob only once your car will only be single locked.

This means that if you smashed the window you could manually open the car by reaching in and pulling the handle from the inside. 

To double lock, key fobs can require a second press of the locking button to engage the full security features. It is important to read your car’s manual when you first get it and familiarise how to securely lock your car when you’re not in it.

4. Think carefully about where you park overnight

Most often, keyless car thefts take place on owners’ driveways. 

While motorists might think having their vehicle in such close proximity to their property guarantees its security, this is certainly not the case when it comes to relay thefts – quite the contrary, in fact, as it means the car is closer to where they keys are inside your home.

That’s why owners with off-street parking should consider additional measures. 

Driveway parking posts are a cheap but efficient way of deterring would-be thieves. 

Drivers can also go one step further and install lockable gates in their driveway, while simple CCTV systems can provide further peace of mind. 

Luxury cars, which are at greater risk of theft, should be parked in a locked garage where possible.

For those without off-street parking who leave their cars on the road outside their home, you are also not safe from these criminals.

Consider parking further away from your property than usual – and try to find a space under a streetlight so that thieves are exposed when trying to steal your car at night.

If you live on a residential street where there are also businesses, park outside one with a CCTV camera installed. 

5. Install a tracking device in your car

Installing a tracker system in your vehicle, such as a Thatcham approved device, offers an extra layer of security. 

A tracking device won’t stop your vehicle being stolen, but it significantly increases the chances of the police recovering and returning it to you.

They cost from between £250 and £800 and the most secure use military-grade tech to locate the whereabouts of cars.