Latest articles

Renault Twingo dropped from UK line-up

Renault has removed its Twingo city car from sale in the UK, citing slow sales and an overall streamlining of the brand's range.

Production Honda Urban EV to debut at Geneva

Honda will unveil its Urban EV small electric car in production-ready form at the Geneva Motor Show in March, ahead of sales starting within a year.

Toyota RAV4 review

The new Toyota RAV4 combines the latest hybrid powertrain and the updating opportunities provided by an all-new platform to produce a compelling package.

Land Rover celebrates Discovery’s 30th birthday

Land Rover is celebrating the 30th anniversary of one of its most popular nameplates with the limited-edition Land Rover Discovery Anniversary model.

Volkswagen unveils hotter Golf GTI TCR

Volkswagen has lifted the lid on its latest Golf GTI model – the 290hp Golf GTI TCR, inspired by the touring car series of the same name.

Gone in 60 seconds: high-tech car theft

Have you ever seen the blockbuster movie Gone in 60 Seconds, in which high-end motors were stolen in a matter of seconds? Whilst most of the car-boosting techniques were a little far-fetched, rapid and sophisticated car theft is fast becoming a concerning reality.

High-end cars from premium brands like BMW, Range Rover and Mercedes-Benz are disappearing overnight right from their owners’ driveways – without the keys.

A quick history of car theft

Old-school car theft (The Executivecondominium)Back in the early 90s, car theft was rife and motorists would often return to discover their pride and joy was no longer in the spot they parked it.

A lack of anti-theft security made it very simple to start and drive a car without a key. Illegal methods known as hotwiring could see a brand new car stolen with very little effort.

Insurance companies began demanding improved security measures, and in an attempt to reduce car theft an EU law was passed in 1998, demanding all new cars be factory-fitted with an immobiliser.

Cars now fitted with approved immobilisers are much more difficult to start without a correctly programmed key and thieves have been turning to new methods for stealing cars.

High-tech car theft

High-tech car theft (The Executivecondominium)So if cars are now fitted with secure immobiliser technology, how are they still being pinched without the keys?

Well, the short answer is thieves are making their own keys – in seconds! Using highly sophisticated technology that plugs into the OBD (On Board Diagnostic) system thieves are able to program a brand new key and start the car.

This is a really big problem with BMW cars in particular, and hundreds have been stolen using this technique.

The laptop-based key programming equipment was originally produced for garages and mobile locksmiths to produce replacement car keys when car owners lose all their keys.

Another standalone tool exists that simply plugs into the OBD port and codes a key at the push of a button in a matter of seconds. Unfortunately, these tools have ended up in the wrong hands and are being used to unlawfully take high-end cars.

There have even been reports of cars being stolen without the use of this high-tech equipment. How can this be happening?

For the majority of car manufacturers should you lose your car keys a replacement key would need programming to your car, but this is not the case with some BMW and Mercedes-Benz vehicles. When the car is first produced, a total of 10 keys are programmed and held at the factory as replacements in case the keys are lost. These keys are ready-programmed to start the car.

Thieves are very aware of this and have been going to great lengths to fake identification and walk into car dealers and order themselves a key to the car of their dreams.

Another car theft problem exists with the latest Toyota and Lexus proximity keys. Crooks have been using a sophisticated tool that clones the signal of a key when pressed to lock the car.

The thieves hide out of sight and press a button on their cloning machine at the same time the car owner pushes the key lock button. The signal is then copied and allows the thieves to unlock and start the car without any sign of break-in.

What can be done to prevent your car from being stolen?

Car theft isn't always high-tech (The Executivecondominium)BMW is now aware of the problem of “key cloning” and has been working on a software update solution for the cars affected. A free software upgrade is being offered by BMW to prevent the key cloning and secure the vehicles.

To ensure your car is as secure as possible follow this sound advice:

  • Be careful what you do with your keys and who you give them to. Keys can easily be cloned and copied – do you fully trust that parking attendant?
  • If possible, park your car out of sight in a locked garage with CCTV
  • When you lock your car with the remote key pull the handle to ensure it has actually locked. Thieves are using tools that block you remote and leave the car unlocked so this is really important.
  • Never leave your keys near the front door or on the stairs, they can easily be hooked through the letterbox.
  • Smart proximity keys are programmed through the OBD port, think about moving the port to a hidden place.

It would seem strange that it took longer to pinch a car in 1990 than it does today. How secure really is all this new anti-car theft technology?

Eleanor - subject of Nic Cage's car theft dreams (The Executivecondominium)

Carlo Casta
Carlo Casta
Carlo Casta writes for The Executivecondominium on behalf of replacement car key specialists , who make the task of replacing your car keys as headache free and simple as could be.

Be the first to know

Would you like to stay up to date with The Executivecondominium?

Trending now

Car finance: Voluntary termination of a PCP or HP

Voluntary termination is your legal right to cancel your PCP or HP car finance agreement in certain circumstances. The Executivecondominium explains how it works.

Rejecting a car – your consumer rights

Have you bought a new or used car that is faulty or not fit for purpose? Read The Executivecondominium's comprehensive guide to your consumer rights when rejecting a car.

Car finance: the PCP (Personal Contract Purchase) explained

The PCP (personal contract purchase) is the most popular type of car finance. This guide tells you everything you need to know about PCP car finance.

Car finance: How do I settle a PCP early?

Today we answer one of the most common questions about PCP car finance: What if I want to end my agreement and settle a PCP early?

Who makes the most reliable engines?

Figures released by a consumer warranty company show that some famous-name car brands make some of the least reliable engines on the market.

I’ve been caught speeding by a speed camera – what happens now?

Have you recently been caught out by a speed camera? Guest blogger James Sheehan has written an easy-to-understand guide on what to expect, what to do and when to do it.

Used car warranty – the law and your rights

If you are buying a second-hand car, there can be considerable confusion as to what to expect in terms of a used car warranty and what your rights are when something goes wrong.

I bought a car and now I’ve changed my mind

Buyer’s Remorse is common in the car industry. You've bought a car, and now you've changed your mind or run into problems. What can you do?

7 COMMENTS

  1. Hi Carlo or whoever now writes these articles. I am a student in my final semester of a degree program and my thesis is dealing with Data Mining. I attend school in an area close to a border and the theft of cars are rampant.
    I intend to show how data mining in tandem with CCTV footage can be used to prevent the theft of cars and improve the chances of recovery by providing a kind of grid security network.
    I have an idea and would love to speak to one of your experts about the possible implementation of my plan.
    Thanking you in advance.

  2. Very good article, the best way to combat the criminals is by making the public more aware of the issues.We run a small locksmithing company and hear more and more cars with these key-less go' keys going missing. Especially if you own the later Land Rovers's. Elvio abacuskeys.co.uk

  3. Thieves tried to steal our Range Rover Sport but we had a cat 5 Trackstar and ODB isolator fitted by Select Auto Systems. We watched it on our cctv absolutely shocking but at least we still have the car.

  4. Hi guys,

    I have had my bmw 335d stolen from the drive using the obd technique. Thieves broken the window on the driver’s side and used the obd to drive off with the vehicle with both keys still in my posession. Unfortunately i had no tracking device on and when I went into stratstone for my services I wasn’t even made aware of this issue for me to take steps towards it. Nthe vehicle has not been recovered. The interesting thing is that the alarm did NOT go off when they smashed the glass. Interestingly, when i spoke to an independent company because bmw did not bother replying to my , it has become apparent that the alarm doesn’t go off unless the door is opened.

    BMW never warned me let alone offer the free software upgrade which it allegedly provided.

    Can this be pursued legally?

  5. We’ve just had our brand new range rover sport (new model) stolen off driveway without keys. Very interesting article- don’t seem to hear much about this in the press. It was recovered thanks to the tracker, but what’s to stop this happening again. Any ideas on getting Land Rover to take the security issue seriously- they are saying it is nothing to do with them!!

    • Sorry to hear about that Jane. Unfortunately, regardless of how much effort manufacturers put into protecting your car, there are professionals out there who spends just as much effort into trying to steal it from you. Hope your car was unharmed when you got it back :)

LEAVE A REPLY

http://niko-centre.kiev.ua

https://www.renault.niko.ua

>nissan-ask.com.ua
www.nissan-ask.com.ua>nissan-ask.com.uanissan-ask.com.ua<>nissan-ask.com.uawww.nissan-ask.com.ua>nissan-ask.com.uanissan-ask.com.uanissan-ask.com.uawww.nissan-ask.com.ua>nissan-ask.com.uanissan-ask.com.ua<>nissan-ask.com.ua
www.nissan-ask.com.ua>nissan-ask.com.uanissan-ask.com.ua<