Keyless theft

Image of blue car on the left and car key on the right, with text in between that reads "Keyless could be carless"

Keyless could be carless...

Cars with keyless entry unlock automatically when the key fob comes within a short-range distance of the car.

Keyless theft, also known as 'relay theft', occurs when device is used to fool the car into thinking the car's own remote key fob is close by; this unlocks the car and allows the ignition to be started.


Is my car keyless entry?

If you have to press a button on your car's key fob to enter your car and turn the ignition with your key, then your car is not 'keyless' entry.

Keyless entry cars allow the driver to unlock and start the car with the key fob still in their pocket / bag.  Once in the car, the driver can press a button to start the engine without ever needing to touch the key fob / remote.


How can I protect my vehicle?

Keep car keys safe
Whilst at home keep your car keys away from the car to disrupt communication range.
Avoid leaving them near your door or window. 

Use a signal-blocking pouch 
The pouch can block the transmission of the signal from the car key once inside the pouch.

Turn off the fob's wireless signal
Wireless signals on some keyless fobs can be turned off. Look in your car manual to see it this is possible, if not, contact your vehicle manufacturer.

Re-programme your keys
This erases the code from the car key to the car itself. This will mean a spare car key that is not in our possession can no longer be paired with your car leaving it susceptible to theft. Contact your local Master Locksmith Association (MLA) approved auto locksmith for a quote

On-Board Diagnostic (OBD) Port 
Some theft involve thieves breaking into a vehicle and accessing the ODB port to start the car. Below are a few options that may help secure your vehicle from this method of theft:

  • Contact your local dealership or an auto electrician to relocate the OBD port in your vehicle 
  • Consider the use of a OBD port protective cover or lock guard
  • Consider a remote central locking keyless system upgrade or an upgraded immobiliser system to protect your vehicle. This can be very costly and only to be considered for higher end prestige vehicles

Steering wheel lock 
Strongly consider reintroducing a steering wheel lock to your vehicle. This can be an effective tool in the fight against keyless thefts, purely for the reason that it cannot be compromised via technology.


  • If you have a garage, use it to secure your vehicle in 
  • If you park on the driveway, park as close to the property as you can 
  • If you have more than one vehicle on your driveway, park the less desirable vehicle in front of the more desirable vehicle to block its access

Note - as with any additional security for vehicles, try to purchase devices that are:

For more information, please contact vour local Crime prevention Officer here 

Keyless Theft Crime Prevention Advice Leaflet

This PDF print version supplements the text / images contained on this page.

Keyless entry leaflet front page (text within this image is elsewhere on this page)
Keyless entry leaflet back page (text within this image is elsewhere on this page)

Page last reviewed January 2023.