UK car thefts hit an all-time high with keyless car tech to blame

Image of an engine start button next to a steering wheel

Keyless cars often start with a push button

Technological advances in recent years have led to handy inventions like keyless entry for cars. However, this has had the unintended side effect of making keyless cars an easy target for thieves. 

59% increase in thefts 

Insurance company LV have released figures detailing the number of car thefts reported to them. Last year’s figures show a 59% increase in car thefts from 2021, and the company says the 2023 figures are projected to be 28% higher than in 2022.  

LV analysed its claims between September 2021 and September 2023 and says Lexus have come out on top with a 513% increase in the number of claims for stolen vehicles, followed by Toyota with a 103% rise and Hyundai at 81%.  

How do thieves steal keyless cars? 

There are a number of ways a keyless car can be stolen. 

Hacking: If a keyless car uses an app to unlock and start the car, thieves can hack the app, duplicate your information and log into the app on their own phone using your information 

Key programming: Most cars made in the last decade are fitted with a diagnostic port. This allows mechanics to get access to the vehicle’s computer system to run tests. Any thief with an understanding of computer software can create a device that plugs into this port and will be able to program a blank key to unlock and start the car in just a few seconds. 

Signal relaying: The signal from your fob can reach almost three metres, which means it can be intercepted by thieves. A thief can place a wireless transmitter on your car and intercept the signal before relaying it to your car.  

Why do thieves steal keyless cars? 

Generally, cars are stolen to be scrapped and sold in parts. Catalytic converters, laser headlights and even steering wheels are considered very lucrative by thieves. The parts are generally hi-tech, expensive to buy legally and, due to a global supply chain disruption, sometimes hard to come by. 

Check out our blog on the car theft stats of 2022

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