Push button ignition makes your car easier to steal

Despite modern technology which gives the impression that theft Auto may be a thing of the past, it is far from the case. The threat of vehicle theft is even greater than you might think. In fact, in some cases, modern technology can make it easier for car thieves. Most notably, it seems that having the convenience of a push-button ignition system can make it much easier for thieves to steal your car than having a traditional key.

Can vehicles with push-button start be stolen?

engine start and stop button | Smith/Gado/Getty Images Collection

According to Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, a push-start car can certainly be stolen. Worse, CBC reports that a push-button start system with a proximity key fob makes it easier to steal a car with a standard key.

You may be familiar with a relay attack. This is a method used to pick up a key fob’s signal from inside a house and amplify it so that thieves can unlock car doors. However, CBC reports that car thieves are turning to old-school methods to gain entry.

Lockpicking sets are incredibly cheap online and can break into a car in just a matter of seconds. Additionally, locksmith kits with tools used to open doors are also available on websites like Amazon for less than $40. If this doesn’t apply to you, the next part should!

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For less than $1000 anyone can buy a key fob programming tool online. Once inside, car thieves can simply plug the device into the vehicle’s OBD II port and program a blank key fob to match the vehicle’s push-button ignition system. So, in just a few minutes, thieves can break into your car and make a clone of your key. This allows them to drive it as if they had the original key.

Professional locksmith Yaser Jafar told CBC how easy it is to get by.

“When it’s in the wrong hands, and if they have a bit of experience, or they learn it, very quickly, they can easily steal any car they want,” Jafar said. .

Cars are frequently stolen in Canada and sold in Africa

a man breaks into a car with a crowbar

Man wearing a balaclava, about to break down the side door of a vehicle | Andia/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Apparently, this is all too common in Canada these days. Cars are frequently stolen from just outside people’s homes and shipped overseas. Worse still, stolen vehicles continue to appear on a West African marketplace website called Jiji. Cars frequently appear for sale with their Ontario, Canada license plates still on them.
The cars sell for more than double their Canadian value as they are highly sought after in West Africa. Canadian police say that 80-85% of cars stolen in Canada are linked to criminal organizations overseas.

Unfortunately, the execution of these thefts by criminal networks is systematic and difficult to stop. They steal the car and leave it in a “chilled” place to make sure it is not followed. Once the thieves are convinced this is not the case, they are driven to a port in Montreal or Halifax and loaded onto shipping containers to go overseas.

Unfortunately, there are no regulations on the tools needed to clone the key. So there isn’t much advice for owners of push-button start cars to prevent theft. Realistically, parking your car in a garage or using things like a steering wheel lock may be the only real solution. Remember to be careful where you park and make sure you have a decent security system.

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