Theft of Vehicles with Transponder Chips

According to police and news reports, auto theft is a major issue in Alberta. So how can you prevent theft of vehicles with transponder chips.

Thousands of vehicles are stolen over any given year. Back in 2018, Alberta had the highest theft rate in Canada. Global News reported, “The top 10 most stolen vehicles in Alberta for 2020” (reported by Melissa Gilligan Dec 2, 2020). Some of the vehicles even had anti-theft technology.

Vehicles equipped with transponder chips (technology where the key is identified to a specific vehicle) were introduced in about 1996. This technology was intended as an anti-theft system and security for the vehicle. Over the years this technology has become more advanced, but, so have the thieves. There are even videos online describing exactly how to override security features such as transponder chips.

How do you protect your vehicle from theft? Don’t make it easy for thieves. Lock your vehicle at all times. Even while it is in your garage. The harder it is to steal something, the less likely it is to be stolen according to police. Don’t leave anything in your vehicle to attract theft. Laptops, phones, parcels, anything of value should be removed.

Vehicles before 2007 are easier to steal as there are no anti-theft devices. The Canadian government made it mandatory for vehicles after this date to have onboard anti-theft immobilizers. Though transponder and anti-theft key fobs don’t guarantee the prevention of theft, it is at least a deterrent.

Two bad habits Canadians have are to start our cars in the wintertime and let it run to warm up, and, while walking away from the vehicle we use the key fob to lock our cars. Especially in a parking lot. Use your chip key correctly to remote start a vehicle. Most chip keys will not remote start the car unless the car is locked. If theft is attempted, because the car was locked and the remote start engaged, the vehicle will not move. NEVER leave the key in the car just to warm up the seats. Nothing is stopping thieves in that case.

When locking your vehicle use the lock buttons in the car or at the very least stand beside the car and lock it. According to reports locking the vehicle with the fob as you walk away from the car, the signal can be captured. By the time you return to your car….it is gone.

The latest reports also warn thieves can capture the signal from your chip key if they are stored too near doorways. Experts advise vehicles are best put in the garage if possible and to keep keys away from entranceways – maybe the middle of your home is an idea.

There are after-market solutions such as other alarms, wheel locks or wheel boots. Check your vehicle manufacturer as to the correct use of locks and the key fob. At Calgary Rekey Lockworks our Automotive Locksmith can answer your questions and provide solutions. Be proactive – protect yourself and your property. Contact us online or by phone at 403.477.5625