Since the invention of automobiles, people have sought to steal them. For a while, the long process of starting the engine and the meager number of civilian vehicles made it difficult to steal, but when the cars became easier to start and spread in large numbers, they began to be stolen regularly.
The peak of theft occurred in the 1990s, prompting manufacturers to work hard to improve anti-theft technologies.
Why are modern cars so easy to steal?
Nowadays, the lion’s share of security is provided by electronics and software, and if a thief has the right knowledge and equipment, car theft becomes easier, not harder.
The very smart technology that was supposed to make cars safer actually made life easier for criminals. While it used to take professionals more than two and a half minutes to smash a window, break a steering wheel lock, and unlock a car, today’s vehicles with the right gear can be stolen in just 10 seconds without breaking anything.
Thieves no longer need to overcome a lot of physical obstacles to gain access to a new car. In fact, if you gave them the option to go back to 20-year-old automotive security systems instead of today’s electronic security systems, they would vote unanimously to use modern technology.
In most cases, thieves will use your key fob to steal. There was a time when that meant they had to search your pockets or break into your house to get the key they wanted, but that was no longer necessary with the introduction of keyless entry and push-button start. Now all they need is a simple electronic device that can be bought cheaply on the Internet, placed at a certain distance from your key fob.
With it, criminals detect the electronic signal emitted by your remote control key, then transmit it to the accomplice’s repeater located next to the car. In a few seconds, he will be able to open, start and steal your car – there will be no sound from an alarm, no noise from picking a lock, breaking a window, or repeatedly trying to start the engine with torn wires. Everything is as simple as with the original key in hand.
This is just one of a myriad of effective techniques for stealing a modern car without much difficulty. In addition to easily hackable computer “brains”, current machines have other weaknesses.
Along with the improvement of electronic systems, experts advise manufacturers not to lose sight of the physical protection of cars. Considering that today’s steering/parking brake lock can be removed in 20 seconds with proper skill, hood locks are opened with ordinary wire, and weakly reinforced doors are easily wrung out with a special airbag/pneumatic wedge, car builders have something to work on.
Today’s cars are better protected than ever before, but some models still require minimal effort to steal. The experts of Insurers evaluated the effectiveness of standard anti-theft protection of different models on a scale from 1 to 1000 points, taking into account a number of risk factors – from breaking through a window and making fake keys to changing the VIN and reconfiguring software.
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There were quite a few popular cars in the danger zone, but five were the least protected models.
Top 5 cars most likely to be stolen
1. Renault Sandero
The vast majority of popular budget models are deprived of comprehensive protection against theft, including Sandero. In an effort to make cars as affordable as possible and simplify operation/maintenance, Renault saved not only on it but also on the entire family, including different types of Logans, the Duster compact crossover, the Docker heel, etc. All of them are stolen in a short time with a minimum set of tools.
The hood/windows/doors do not strongly resist illegal opening with improvised means, and weakly protected key components like the control unit, diagnostic connector, and ignition switch make it easy to bypass the immobilizer, start the engine and drive away.
2. Renault Logan
Logan’s vital circuits aren’t hard to get to either. Poorly protected from the introduction of jumpers and third-party chips, they remain vulnerable to well-trained attackers.
The immobilizer is pretty good but does not exclude the possibility of bypassing the native settings. Electric locks are opened with cheap Chinese devices; what resists electronic influence is hacked by conventional vandal methods.
However, Logan owners are usually well aware of the gaps in the protection of their cars and are saved by their own inventions: for example, a combination of non-standard engine locks with heterogeneous structural “secrets” and a reliable burglar alarm.
3. Lada Vesta
They say that the most difficult thing about stealing Vesta is to leave without breaking down in the middle of the road. Modern Ladas do not shine with fault tolerance, but they break into and start up in a matter of seconds, so that thieves do not experience much inconvenience at the start.
The manufacturer uses unreliable, outdated door/hood locking mechanisms, and the car can be unlocked using an ordinary hard wire (like a hanger hook). With a certain technical savvy, the immobilizer is easily turned off, and Glonass is neutralized with jammers and a hammer. All that remains is not to break during the escape.
4. Lada Granta
According to statistics, 90% of Grants owners do not use additional security systems in addition to standard alarms, the simplest immobilizer, and steering lock. The first does not respond to shocks and movement, the second is easily deactivated using a third-party ECU and other similar tricks, the third’s fragile latch breaks with a sharp turn of the steering wheel.
In addition, in the simplest versions of the “advanced security systems,” there is only an immobilizer, and even that often requires after-sales activation, which happy buyers simply forget about. Added to this are unreliable lock faces made of pliable metal, fragile glass, and other “charms” of budget car building.
5. Nissan Qashqai
Many car owners on the forums claim that the latest versions of the Nissan Qashqai are well protected, and hijackers often bypass them, looking for easier prey. But in a report by car analysts who assessed the difficulty of unauthorized entry into various cars, Qashqai, with its 82 points out of 280 possible, was not much better than Sandero, Logan, and Vesta.
In terms of the effectiveness of protection against an engine start not provided for by the owner and trouble-free movement, the Nissan crossover took 5th place from the end – as well as in the rating of protection against changing identification numbers and using fake keys.