RAC Cars News


Could Your Remote Central Locking System Be Jammed By Thieves?

By raccars Published

Image Source

The latest car theft nightmare for UK drivers is radio jamming, used by thieves to stop you locking your car. Almost all car owners are vulnerable, if their vehicle uses a remote control central locking system.

Remote control central locking works via radio waves which travel between the key fob and a receiver in the car. Each key uses a unique identifying signal to unlock or lock the car doors, but this signal can be blocked by radio jamming devices. These tools work by interfering with the whole radio spectrum so that remote control key fobs, which operate on only a low level of power, can't penetrate.

Car owners tend to press the button on their key fob and take it for granted that their car is locked, with few checking the process has been completed. This leaves the car unlocked to allow thieves to plunder its contents.

The jamming devices can be used over a large, open area so that a thief can, in theory, cover an entire car park.

Last December a man was convicted of car theft via the means of a signal jammer. Twenty-five year old Michael Fennell, who received an eight month prison sentence, bought the device for £35 and used it in car parks in Manchester. Victims unwittingly left their car doors unlocked, which the thief seized upon to rob contents with no sign of entry.

Increasing numbers of modern cars rely on wireless security systems, such as keyless entry, whereby the car owner needs only to approach the car while holding the key for it to remain unlocked. The constant wireless signal used to operate this system could be jammed in the same way.

While vehicle theft has fallen by 70% in the last decade and is now at its lowest in nearly 50 years, car companies are growing concerned about the potential for theft via modern technology systems. Manufacturers are working closely with the police and insurance and security companies to keep in front of new methods used by criminals to steal cars.

In the meantime, car owners are advised to physically check that their car is locked after applying the remote control central locking and to avoid leaving any valuables inside the vehicle. If you do not see your lights flash and notice that your car has not locked, call the police and report suspicions that a radio jammer is being used in the area.

Looking to Buy?
Search for cars