How to protect against car theft with keyless central locking systems?

In the vehicle protection market there are a keyless central locking system devices, it is particularly practical for the driver, but it also makes life easier for thieves. The simple tricks in that article can give you some ideas on how to protect you from car theft!

Convenience but with security risk

The Keyless car locking system (central locking system without a key) is a popular system, but at the same time it is considered to have a high security risk. Consumer advocates warn of an increased risk of theft when using a keyless central locking system. But why is the system considered so insecure? The reason for this is insufficiently protected data transmission between the vehicle key or the chip card on one side and the vehicle on the other side.

The Keyless systems emit radio signals non-stop, These signals are received by the antennas in the car doors, and translated by the control unit and then confirm the opening of the locks.

Thieves can hack into the data stream between Keyless and the car. Unfortunately this can happen not only when the owner is near his car. Even thieves with little technical knowledge can pick up the signals from a safe distance – with devices they built themselves with various parts from electronics stores for less than $100. They then transmit the signal to the parking lot with a range extender. There, the central locking system opens the vehicle doors and the control unit starts the engine, as if the owner has returned to take it for a drive.

The Keyless system has long since ceased to be a niche as it was in the past. If in the 90s Keyless was still an option reserved for luxury cars, it has long been available for smaller family cars as well. Often the Keyless system is understood as part of the basic specification. This not only increases the risk of theft but requires continuous ADAC checks.

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Keyless systems that come with built-in protection

The problem has been known for years and is regularly decried by consumer advocates and the ADAC. Despite this, the car manufacturers began to react with drowsiness and only now, they are slowly installing improved protection mechanisms in the system. For this they rely mainly on two principles.

  • First option – is that a motion sensor silences the transmitter as soon as the key remains in a static position, for example hanging behind the door in the house.
  • Second option – a chip with ultra-broadband technology that determines the distance between the transmitter and the receiver and opens the doors only when they are very close to each other.

Many experts praise the chips and claim that range extenders will be ineffective making these chips the best solution for keyless central locking systems. In the long term, many manufacturers want to make keyless entry systems redundant, and instead use cell phones as car keys.

However, at the moment there are only a few brands that use this solution such as:

and only for individual models. The good news: with a few simple tricks, you too can significantly increase the protection of the Keyless system. The main goal is to make it as difficult as possible for the thieves to put their finger on the data transmitted between the system and the transmitter.

In addition to obvious measures such as parking in closed yards or even better, in a locked private garage, consumer advocates recommend skeptical caution. Even if the range extenders are almost the same size as a smartphone, it is recommended that you keep an eye out and watch out for shady characters with suspicious devices when opening and locking your vehicles with a keyless central locking system. When you’re at home, don’t leave your keys sloppily around. Since the signals often penetrate through windows or doors, experts recommend not leaving the keys next to exterior walls or behind the front door.

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Tip! Refrigerator and cookie jar provide theft protection!

Another unconventional but effective protection measure for a keyless central locking system is frequency jamming. Increase the security at home and temporarily store the key in a metal box or in the refrigerator. A protective bag or cans are considered particularly effective for jamming the transmitters of Keyless systems and are ideal to take with you. You can also wrap the key in aluminum foil, but this solution is considered not so elegant.

If you want to be on the safe side, the experts advise to solve the problem even before it became such. Either choose one of the few cars with a particularly secure Keyless system or choose a model where keyless entry can be canceled. How to do this is usually in the manufacturer’s instructions. If you are not successful, you can always use the services of a licensed garage or a professional car locksmith who knows how to answer you.

The risk can be further reduced by installing mechanical protection systems – such as a steering wheel lock or wheel locks but bear in mind that they may be safe, but dealing with them is also exhausting.


There are several tricks that can increase the protection against car theft with Keyless systems:

  • Look around you and stay alert
  • Keep the keys close to you
  • Disrupt the frequency
  • Invest in vehicle protection systems

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