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My wife just bought a new Prius. I'm planning to take the plunge for a RAV4 Hybrid Limited in the next couple weeks. Both are nice, new, shiny cars that look good and I'm sure will attract the scumbags. I've been wondering about anti-theft measures. Her car didn't come with an anti-theft system, but we could of course buy "the club" or similar deterrents. When I get my RAV4, I *might* opt for the anti-theft device. But I've been wondering:

With a keyless car like both of these, is it easier or harder for a thief to gain entry and hotwire it? I picture the old-school start-with-a-screwdriver method or (for the more sophisticated meth-heads outside my house) jury-rigging an electric bypass to start 'er up and drive away.

So how secure are keyless cars? (without any additional anti-theft measures)

I assume it's as easy as ever to gain entry (crowbar, slim-jim, smash a window, etc.). But once inside, how easy/hard is it to start up and drive off - easier or harder than a car with an old-school key? Does the fact that it's keyless provide any deterrent after it has been stolen and driven away?

For my wife's new Prius, it's a small expense to get The Club or something similarly simple. For my new RAV4H, the electronic option would be more spendy - worth it?

Thanks for your input!
 

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I'm not an expert but, I very much doubt the opportunistic thief would try to grab a keyless car. Especially a hybrid. The electronics used in those is pretty sophisticated. There is a security chip on the key FOB which must be present to start the car.

I suspect a pro is not that interested in those cars. If they were, they would probably take it with a tow truck to be sorted later.

The biggest problem would be carjacking. Which, thankfully, is still pretty rare.
 

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Stealing a hybrid? I've never heard of that happening. I wouldn't worry about it, thieves usually stick to what they can make money on (Larger SUV's, Pick ups, luxury vehicles etc).
 

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Stealing a hybrid? I've never heard of that happening. I wouldn't worry about it, thieves usually stick to what they can make money on (Larger SUV's, Pick ups, luxury vehicles etc).
You would be surprised, then. Small cars are among those most often stolen (at least around here). According to statistics I've seen (but don't have handy), cars like Honda Civics and Accords are among the most often stolen. Maybe that's because there are just so many of them.

Note that at least where I live, stealing a car just to use it for one-time transportation (to get home late at night from the bars, then the car is just parked somewhere) is extremely common - this has happened to several of my friends. Also common is stealing a car, use it for a weekend of drug deals and joy-ridiing, then trashing it badly before dumping it in a remote area. The first is mostly an inconvenience - the car turns up after it's accumulated a dozen parking tickets and is towed - that's how the cops "discover" it - there's usually some minor damage from the break-in and the interior is slightly trashed, but can take a week or two to get back. The latter scenario usually results in the car being badly damaged (parts stripped), sometimes totalled.

So, it's not always some clever professional thief looking for luxury vehicles.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
BYW, anyone have any opinions on how good/bad the Toyota OEM anti-theft/security/car alarm system is?
 

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You'll find many comments claiming that its possible to clone the wireless keys, but never one single report of this actually having been done to start the car.

Gaining entry is easy, taking it is not. Remote start systems would seem to be less secure, but again no actual reports of it being used to steal the car.

Bottom line: security systems and the club may make you feel better but don't actually offer any added security.

The latest models with wireless access points have opened a whole new can of worms and it remains to be seen how secure they are.

Edited to add: If your hybrid gets stolen it will be to harvest the traction battery and related hybrid systems. They'll haul it away on a truck.
 

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Chips

From what I have read, the cars with chip keys/fobs cannot be hot wired, since the computer will not open the system without reading the chip on the key, All the additional security systems on top of the key/fob are really a waste of money. Just find a big bowling ball to chain your car to when it is parked!
 

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the thief just has to increase the signal from your car keys to make the car think you are standing next to the car. there are devices that do this. don't park your car right outside your house!
 

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FWIW you can easily isolate the fob with a simple pouch made from multiple layers of household aluminum foil, I tried a metal tin like an Altoids that didn't work, the foil pouch works, has to be 4-6 layers and folded on all sides, if there's a slight gap at an end the signal is still active. This is the same principle as hiding your RFID chipped credit card with those expensive aftermarket pouches.
 

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the thief just has to increase the signal from your car keys to make the car think you are standing next to the car. there are devices that do this. don't park your car right outside your house!
If they succeed with that amp relay about all they can do is open the RAV's doors and steal stuff from it. If a person is very concerned, they can put their fob in the refrigerator or in a cheap Faraday box, or remove the battery.
.
 

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There's about 1,296 things on my list of stuff to worry about, and this is at the bottom of that list.
 

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There's about 1,296 things on my list of stuff to worry about, and this is at the bottom of that list.
This is pretty accurate.

They need the keys to drive away, unless you bypass the chip security with an AFTERMARKET remote starter.

Most car thefts are when they can get your keys via burglary, pickpocketing, people leaving them in the car while loading the shopping or kids.
 

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Saw some Youtube doc's the other day where they showed some simple DIY receivers which copy the signal from the car key when pushed by the owner to open/close the door. The same 'copy' device was used with the cloned signal, and POP! the car doors opened.
Next they took a professional ($2.000,00-$3.000,00) OBD device, connected it to the car's OBD port, and told the car's CPU to learn a new key. Then they took an original empty key, held it against the dash and a small confirming beeb sounded.
They used this cloned key to show it could open/close the doors, pushed the 'Engine Start' button and drove away. All that in about 5 minutes.

True or not, I think the weak point is the OBD port under the dash. Why is this connector easy accessible, and why is the OBD wiring to the car's CPU not disconnected when parked, like immobilizers do? Or maybe this part has taken care of in the newest anti theft techniques, I don't know.
 

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[... snip ... does not apply to Toyota ...]

True or not, I think the weak point is the OBD port under the dash. Why is this connector easy accessible, and why is the OBD wiring to the car's CPU not disconnected when parked, like immobilizers do? Or maybe this part has taken care of in the newest anti theft techniques, I don't know.
The OBD port is positioned according to law. The ECU is on when the ignition is off so it can continue to do things while unattended such as a test for the fuel venting system which turns on after being stopped for from 5 to 9 hours. Spookey, eh? The Toyota does have an immobilizer. It's not as simple as people make it out to be.
 

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Almost anything in tribe world can be stolen if you want it enough, especially if you have plenty of time, the right tools and the right experience for the theft.

Renting a flatbed with a hoist or stealing the keys are about the most likely way to loose your mass produced fully insured crossover.
 

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If it were to be stolen it would be done with a flat bed. Which any vehicle is vulnerable to.

Older Civics/Accords/Integras/etc are frequently stolen because it is easy to do so and they are easy to break up and sell for parts.
 

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The OBD port is positioned according to law. The ECU is on when the ignition is off so it can continue to do things while unattended such as a test for the fuel venting system which turns on after being stopped for from 5 to 9 hours. Spookey, eh? The Toyota does have an immobilizer. It's not as simple as people make it out to be.
This part I understand, but what I ment is why the OBD connector wiring to the ECU is not automaticly disconnected when the car is parked? This won't affect the ECU, but it can prevent the usage of the OBD port when the car is parked.
Like an immobilizer, when you enter the original key the iginition wiring becomes hot. Same should be possible with the OBD wiring from OBD connector to ECU.
 

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If it were to be stolen it would be done with a flat bed. Which any vehicle is vulnerable to.
Thank goodness that will never happen in my neighborhood with all the cops and firemen who live on the block. Heck, in most parts of town the cops get a ring if anything looking like car theft.

On the road? Well, a couple of live-wired transponders can ruin a thief's day.
 

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The OBD port is positioned according to law. The ECU is on when the ignition is off so it can continue to do things while unattended such as a test for the fuel venting system which turns on after being stopped for from 5 to 9 hours. Spookey, eh? The Toyota does have an immobilizer. It's not as simple as people make it out to be.
This part I understand, but what I ment is why the OBD connector wiring to the ECU is not automaticly disconnected when the car is parked? This won't affect the ECU, but it can prevent the usage of the OBD port when the car is parked.
Like an immobilizer, when you enter the original key the iginition wiring becomes hot. Same should be possible with the OBD wiring from OBD connector to ECU.
One of the OBD pins is +12V battery. The ECU however is asleep until the car is in the equivalent of 'Position 2' because they use a decent amount of power.

The question to ask is how is the computer allowing a new keychip to be added without the original keychip nearby and authorized.

(Simplified for brevity) On BMWs for example there are 10 128 bit codes written to the ECU for 10 RFID chip codes, when you order a new key and chip it comes out of the pool of 10 codes.
No chips can be added.
No codes can be read in full.
The codes on the existing chips roll with each use.

Hence adding a new chip or cloning a chip from an existing key at the roadside is impossible. This has been in place since around 1996 and is made by Philips. Likely used on most German cars. I'm sure Toyota has an equivalent.

However this trip to the dealer was felt to be 'too expensive' and the EU made some idiotic rules that meant the car should be able to get a new chip added by your local locksmith via OBD2 and it created this vulnerability. All that needs to be done to close the loophole is mandate a valid key is present to add a new key.

Back to the original question is keyless easier to steal?

No because it's about how disciplined you are with keeping your keys secure that prevents the majority of thefts.

Any security exploits in the car are much harder and rarer.
 

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Although not really practical as an anti-theft tactic, a smartphone will quite effectively jam a smartkey fob held close to it. If you put your phone in the same pocket as your key fob, the car probably won't see it.
 
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