There is a downside to advancing technology, especially the technology associated with remote car keys and car key chips. What is that downside? “Across the USA, thieves have begun using a device called a power amplifier to help unlock cars,” according to a May 7 USA Today article. There are a few basic steps that can keep these thefts under wraps:

Use A Little Common Sense
First things first: Yes, it is not all that uncommon to end up in a situation with lost keys. Of 2,000 drivers surveyed, 26% admit they have lost keys, and another 5% have had keys stolen from them. And the blunders don’t end there. More than 4 million U.S. men and women called lock out services after locking themselves out of their cars in 2012, and more than one in 10 drivers have stood next to their cars and been unable to find the keys to open them. Even so, local locksmith services generally agree: drivers should be very careful about their spare keys. A common mistake is leaving a spare key-less remote inside of cars, which will leave the vehicle unlocked at all times.

Where It Gets Complicated
Manufacturers designed the remote key-less fobs to automatically open the vehicle within a certain distance. If you park your car right in front of your home, and you stow the key, let’s say, on a hook right next to the door, thieves will be able to open your car using an amplifier. The problem is bigger than most people think, however. Making a point of tucking keys away when you enter your home — and doing it relatively far from your vehicle whenever possible — isn’t enough. The amplifiers can actually reach up to nearly 100 feet, making it very difficult for some to safely store their keys… unless they park all the way down the street. For now, drivers have effectively safeguarded these keys and car key chips by placing them in the freezer or the microwave. Doing so will interfere with an amplifier’s signal and render it useless.

New technology is not fool-proof, and amplifiers that enable car thieves to break in easily prove it. To prevent these burglaries, keep tabs on spare keys and — until manufactures come up with a better solution — it doesn’t hurt to keep keys in the microwave or freezer.

Automotive Key Quote