How safe do you think your car is?

It took longer to steal a car in the 1990s than it does today.

Back in the 90s car theft was rife, the lack of vehicle security made it fairly easy for criminals to start and drive cars without a key. This was called hotwiring and led to insurance companies demanding improved security measures to reduce car theft. In 1998 an EU law was passed so all new cars had a factory-fitted immobiliser. In the 1990s car theft peaked at about 700,000 cars stolen in a year but this dropped dramatically to around 100,000 cars a year in 2012.

Unfortunately, we are seeing a rise in car theft again. Theives are using modern technology and gadgets to be able to make their own keys – in seconds! The highly sophisticated technology plugs into the OBD (On Board Diagnostics) system allowing the thieves 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.

BMW are aware of the problem and has been working on a new software solution with an upgrade available to BMW owners.

To ensure your car is as safe as you think it is you should:

Only give your keys to someone you trust, the key can easily be cloned so parking attendants and cleaning companies should only be given the key if you know they are trustworthy.

If possible park your car in a locked garage out of site.

When you lock your car pull the door handle to ensure the car is actually locked. Some thieves are using tools that block your remote and leave the car unlocked – this is particularly common in shopping centre car parks where the thieves are then able to help themselves to anything valuable in your car.

Never leave your keys near the front door where they can easily be hooked through the letterbox

Protect your vehicle with key cloning protection – Cobra ADR Card Alarm/Immobiliser.

Finally, you can install an alarm system which gives your key a passive digital signature meaning no cloned key will start the car because it needs an ADR card present. A cloned key will also not disarm the car alarm but instead set it off if the ADR card isn’t present, the system will presume the car is being started by a thief and scare them away.

The ADR card works passively for your comfort and ease but is not recommended to be attached to your car keys just in case they are stolen. It works best when stored separately but still on the driver, either in a wallet or handbag.

If you’d like more information about the Cobra key cloning protection system please feel free to call 01622 737393 or 07884433207.

Some facts and figures from Cobra:

Over 2,700 vehicles are stolen every day throughout Europe with the UK being the worst affected.

Over 50% of these stolen vehicles are never recovered.

85% of stolen cars registered after 1997 were stolen with car keys.

Thieves break into houses or force drivers out of vehicles by carjacking.

Stealing the keys is the easiest way they can steal the vehicle.

This film shows how quick and easy it is to steal a car using the latest technology: