Smartphones as Car Keys: Should we or shouldn’t we?

Did you know that you can now use your phone to access and drive your car, and so can car hackers too? It sounds crazy but it’s true. This is just one of the sophisticated techniques that car hackers use these days to access your car and start the engine.

Car theft techniques have evolved and adapted quickly to modern cars, leaving the police, car makers, and the insurance industry to play catch up, says The Sunday Time Driving. Although immobilisers and alarms help make things that little bit harder for car thieves, is using our smartphone as our car key a good idea?

The evolution of keyless cars

Thanks to the evolution of keyless cars, keyless vehicles, keyless systems and keyless entry, gaining access to a modern vehicle that isn’t yours, isn’t as difficult as you might first think. But how do car owners prevent keyless car theft?

Keyless cars and remote key fobs mean that we can say goodbye to the traditional metal key that we’re used to, which would open doors and start the engine, because now we have a digital key fob instead that allows us to do the same things.

Keyless thefts (sometimes referred to as relay theft) kick into place when a thief accesses and takes your vehicle without having your original key fob. Keyless car theft work because they trick your car into believing the digital key is being used. Police say that it can take less than two minutes for a car to be stolen and now, to make it even more bizarre, a keyless entry system can allow you to start your car remotely using your smartphone!

Using our Smartphones as car keys

As car technology continues to evolve, so do keyless entry systems. Car keyless entry has come a long way since the early days but remote keyless fobs are emerging and offering greater convenience to us drivers, as well as features such as mobile device integration too.

Imagine being able to approach your car, open, it, start it and lock it without having to take your mobile phone out of your pocket! It’s thanks to tech like this that physical car keys and even having a keyless fob, are becoming more redundant.

If you’re not already, you could soon be using your smartphone to unlock your car as they become the new way for us to integrate keyless entry systems. BMW has recently released the latest version of its Digital Key Plus feature to Android phone users – letting them unlock and drive their car with just their smartphone, according to Car Magazine.

With compatible Android phones on the market already, it’s likely that in the coming months, we can expect to see even more keyless entry cars and people using their smartphones as their car keys.

How can you protect yourself?

You can protect yourself and help to prevent keyless car theft by simply buying a car without it. That’s the easiest way you can prevent it from happening. It is becoming increasingly popular as standard on cars, so if there’s any chance that when buying your next car, you can find one that comes without keyless entry, or if it does have a remote key fob, that it can be disabled.

There are steps you can take to protect yourself from keyless car theft, such as blocking car key signals or investing in a steering wheel lock, or even having a tracker fitted. For example, you could always pop your key in a signal blocking pouch, away from your doors and windows. The further away your key from the outside, the better, so thieves can’t grab the signal of your locked car from outside.

An obvious preventative measure would be putting your vehicle in a garage, or getting some in-car security devices such as steering wheel locks. If you have a high-value car, getting a tracking device fitted as well might also be an option says Hey Car.

Whenever you lock your car, whether by touching the door handle or clicking the button on a remote, if you have remote central locking you’ll be able to lock all of your car doors at once and check that your indicators flash and mirrors fold (if you have that functionality), and listen for the clunk of locks, says The Sunday Time Driving.

In conclusion, with the rise of keyless car thefts or relay thefts , make sure you are protecting your assets. Use a visual deterrent like a steering wheel lock or even a wheel lock, ensure car alarms are fully functioning, consider signal blocking pouches or keeping keys in a metal box and keeping your vehicles in a locked garage. Car theft is a lucrative business with more and more new cars being sold overseas and in the UK. It is not always a guarantee of the police recovering cars after a theft has taken place to make sure you do whatever you can that can provide added security.

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