People are saying you should wrap your car key fob in aluminum foil in order to deter car theft. Does it really work?
If you have a relatively new car, you can probably walk right up to your car and open it’s doors without a key — magic, right?
Nope. There is obviously an explanation for how the keyless car system works. Would-be robbers are using this information to actually steal people’s cars when they aren’t looking.
Keyless entry systems work using radio signals that are emitted from the car and a key fob that searches for those signals. When you place your hand on the door handle of a keyless car (in some cases you have to press a button), the vehicle will send out a short-range radio signal. If the fob is within range of the car’s radio waves, usually around 5 metres, it will send its own signal back to the car and the vehicle’s onboard computer will unlock the doors.BuyACar.com
So, you usually have to actually have your key fob on your person when you go to unlock the doors. Otherwise, the doors will remain locked.
Car thieves, however, have gotten wise to this system, and are manipulating it by using a work around.
They are using what is known as a “Relay Box” to capture the electric signal sent out by your key fob.
What happens when they capture this signal? They can trick your car into thinking they have your fob, and they can easily open the door to your car.
They don’t even have to be right up next to you. The car thieves can be as far as 300 feet away, and still grab the information they need.
Not only can they open your car with this relay box — they can actually START your car and drive off!!
p.s. This “Relay Box” can be easily purchased from somewhere like Amazon, and YouTube has all the needed videos that would allow a car thief access to the information they need to steal your car. In other words. Stealing a car by using a relay box is more common than you think!
Does Aluminum Foil Work Against Car Theft?
Well, you can’t prevent them from using the relay boxes, but you can make it harder on the thieves trying to steal your car.
Car thieves will place one piece of equipment near a door or window at your home ― close enough to pick up your key fob’s signal ― and relay that signal to another piece of equipment near your car.Huffington Post
Some experts are saying that wrapping your key fob in aluminum foil, especially overnight when a car thief can just walk up next to your house and get your code, might dampen the signal.
When I say wrap your keb fob in aluminum foil, I mean all the way. Wrap it up tight like a present.
Walls, windows, and doors don’t stop the thieves from getting the signal from your fob, but putting your fob in some kind of metal can stop the signal or make it less strong.
Wrapping your key fob in aluminum foil doesn’t COMPLETELY eliminate the problem, but it might make it a little more difficult for the car thief to get the code.
“Simply having tin foil wrapped around your key fob will not protect you from somebody trying to steal the codes off that,” [Tom Scott, executive director of SCCyber] said. “Your key fob in tin foil or aluminum foil, it may dampen the signal depending upon how close you are, but it won’t completely eliminate it.”THV 11
So, the aluminum foil trick works, but hardly at all. It is better than nothing. The problem is that “there isn’t enough density in aluminum foil to fully protect the fob from being hacked.”
What Works Better Than Aluminum Foil To Protect Your Car From Thieves?
You need a DENSE metal — like a tin box (think Altoids), a metal safe, your refrigerator, or your microwave (don’t melt them!).
There is also a Faraday Bag you can get from Amazon. You can put things in it, like credit cards and key fobs, so thieves can’t access their digital codes. They are relatively inexpensive — like $13-$30 depending on what you want.
As a side note: Faraday Bags can also be used with your cell phone, to prevent it from connecting to WiFi or receiving calls.
So, the moral to this story: Use aluminum foil as a last resort.