Old school and classic car owners are safe on this one.
Growing up in the 1980s and 1990s, it was my understanding that older cars were more vulnerable to theft because of the ignition systems on newer car, so I guess we’ve come full circle. Most new cars, or even cars made post-2016, come with push button start ignitions, especially more expensive ones. That might have been a huge design mistake by car makers that’s made it easier to steal them. This could be adding to the surge in auto thefts, although, car thieves will always find a way, regardless of the ignition.
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"It's low risk, high reward," said Det. Greg O'Connor of the Peel police auto crime unit. He also noted that 80 to 85 percent of the cars stolen in his district were tied to organized crime in West Africa.
Stolen cars from America are ending up in Nigeria’s used car lots like never before. The cars stolen from America are being openly advertised in West African car ads. Experts are pointing to the push start cars that allow thieves to easily and quickly lift the cars, and get them into containers before being noticed.
Thieves are using key programmers to plug into the OBD port to program a blank key to start the vehicle. This is much simpler than copying a key that actually goes into the ignition.
So what can be done? Unrelated to this story, but it needs to be said (again): stop leaving your keys in the car! Many reports from local agencies we run across report that the majority of cars stolen have the keys inside, stop it. Next, park inside at all costs, with the doors locked, and the key far away from the car, trust me, your car will crank much further away from the keys than you know. We’re not going to pretend to have the answers, since you’re eventually going to have to leave your car alone in a parking lot, but maybe this is one technology its time automakers roll back on.