Drivers are being advised to keep their car's software up-to-date to prevent theft by key code hacking.

With a rise in keyless entry being offered on newer cars, the number of car thefts as a result of being able to hack into cars has also risen. According to research conducted by the RAC using numbers supplied directly by police forces, car thefts in England and Wales have increased from 65,783 in 2013 to 85,688 in 2017, leading to vehicle data experts HPI to issue a warning to all motorists.

Thieves can buy a device over the internet that allows them to intercept the signal between the key fob and car and generate an entry code that enables them to get inside the car and drive off – that is, if the security systems on the car aren't up to date with the latest technology to prevent exactly this kind of attack. 

BMW 3 Series GT

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'Car manufacturers take security seriously and issue software updates that can be performed by your local dealership, or in some cases wirelessly over the internet,' said Fernando Garcia, consumer director at HPI. 'It’s important to check if your car is subject to recall that will cover not only security but also safety upgrades.'

Usually around 150 recalls are issued annually, affecting more than a million cars – car companies have access to DVLA car ownership data, but sometimes cars that have been subject to recall can slip through the net. HPI offers a vehicle recall as part of its history checks for anyone buying a used car. The comprehensive check covers 80 points, including number plate changes, mileage discrepancies, MOT history and the number of previous owners.