Almost every new car nowadays comes with a keyless entry system — a battery-powered key fob that, at its most basic, allows you to lock and unlock your car from a distance. Others may include alarm controls, truck openers and even buttons that unlock and open the hatch on a van, depending on the car model. While keyless entry is the height of convenience, some skeptics have argued that it might be unsafe. Is keyless entry actually safe, or should we return to old-school lock-and-key techniques?
Keyless Entries — a Risk Factor?
Keyless entry has made the news in recent years because tech-savvy thieves have learned a way to piggyback on the key fob’s signal to open the attached vehicle without having to break anything in the car itself. It actually sparked the trend of keeping your keys in the freezer — in theory, the insulation acted as a makeshift Faraday cage, blocking the signal and preventing thieves from breaking in to your car.
Be Careful With Aftermarket Keyless Entry
There’s nothing worse than losing your keys. It’s expensive to change all your locks and get new keys made for the things that can’t be changed. It’s even worse for cars equipped with keyless entry — getting a new key fob and then having it properly programmed by your dealership can cost a pretty penny, which is why many people turn to aftermarket keyless entry replacements. While they are less expensive, they aren’t always the most secure.
If you do choose to purchase an aftermarket key system, consider going to a reputable locksmith in your area to make sure your new key is programmed correctly and is properly secure.
Benefits of Keyless Entry
In spite of the risks, which are few and far between, keyless entry is an invaluable tool for a variety of reasons. In its advanced applications, it can be used to automate things like door and hatch opening, which is ideal for people with mobility problems. When keyless entry is tied into remote starting systems, it can be used to start a cold car from the comfort of your warm home so you don’t have to deal with icy windows or a frozen steering wheel when you get in the car.
In the worst-case scenario, if you are feeling unsafe or someone is following you, keyless entry can be potentially lifesaving — it allows you to get into your car quickly and secure it, without worrying about fumbling with your keys to unlock a door.
Keyless entry might have its vulnerabilities, but on the whole it’s no different than any other tool — it’s useful and convenient, as long as you use it properly. Don’t let the potential risks prevent you from taking full advantage of your car’s capabilities. Keyless entry is safe — just don’t cut corners if you lose your keys. Choose an original equipment replacement or make your purchase from a reputable locksmith so you can be sure your investment is secure.
Scott Huntington is a writer and car fanatic from Harrisburg, PA.