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Can You Track Car Keys?

can-you-track-car-keys

Are you one of those people who have a habit of losing their valuable belongings? Fortunately, we now have trackable mobile phones, valuable electronic equipment, and even cars. But, can you track car keys? Let’s figure out in today’s post:

Car manufacturers do not make trackable key fobs, while theoretically, they are pretty much implementable. Fortunately, there are many third-party options available in the form of Bluetooth, RFID, or RF technology.

 So, if you are looking for a solution to your problem, keep reading!

What is a Key Fob, and how does it work?

A key fob comes with almost every new car but varies in the type of operations it can perform.

In general, a key fob consists of an RFID (a technology a little bit more advanced than radio frequency) chip that has a matching RFID reader located within the car. The reader is programmed to behave a certain way when it receives a signal from its RFID chip.

In most cases, a key fob signal can start the ignition, open and close car doors or control its windows when the reader accepts a matching signal.

So, can you track Car Keys?

Theoretically, it is possible.

Car Key

There are two types of key fobs available in the market; Remote Keyless Entry (RKE) and Passive Keyless Entry (PKE).

For the RKE key fobs, you need to press a button to trigger its transmitter. Unfortunately, that also means that there is no way to trigger their dormant response once they are lost, making them completely untrackable.

However, PKE technology consists of a transmitter as well as a receiver. It constantly sends an RFID signal around, allowing you to enter the car without pushing any button.

Having a continuous external signal in the atmosphere means you can tap into it whenever desired. If you have the technical knowledge, all you need to do is pretend to be your car to locate your car keys!

But if it’s possible, what’s stopping the car manufacturing giants?

The Threat of a Trackable Car Key:

Vehicles, like BMW, store a considerable amount of information in their car keys and computers. This information is susceptible to external hijacking and threats.

A key fob with an externally tap-able signal (GPS or other) is at the risk of several security threats. For one, it enables anyone with the right tools to locate your car keys, leading to a security threat for your cars.

An easily accessible signal makes cloning and decoding extremely easy, further adding to the manufacturers’ problems.

Although the concept is simple, the security threats are huge and must be dealt with correctly before deploying them in the market. Otherwise, people would be losing their cars every now and then, damaging the repute of car companies.

Third-party Solutions for Lost Car Keys:

You can find many third-party key finders to protect your car keys. They consist of a small structure that you can attach to your car’s keyring.

Car Key Tracker

Based on either the Bluetooth or RF technology, these key-finders behave differently in case you have lost your key. Some key finders use GPS signals so you can detect their location, while others may emit a sound when you’re at a certain range.

Let’s look at different types of car key locators and their usability:

Bluetooth Car Key Finders:

A Bluetooth key finder usually pairs up with your phone, removing the need for any separate locating device. By tapping into the Bluetooth signal, your phone can tell you where you have placed your car keys.

Some Bluetooth key finders also work the other way –locating your phone if you have a car key. Just push the button on the key fob to locate your phone.

Bluetooth key finders have a relatively shorter range of around 30 meters, and obstructions can further reduce it to approximately 10 meters. Therefore, if you are out of this range, your car keys are as good as gone.

RFID Car Key Finders:

RFID stands for radio-frequency identification. RFID car key finders come with a sticker or tag that you can attach to the car keys. Hence, instead of hanging an individual unit with your car keys, you can simply keep track of a soundless sticker.

Other RF Car Key Locators:

If your car key finder does not use Bluetooth, it must utilize some form of radiofrequency technology. Such key finders come with a separate component in place of a smartphone to help you see the location of your car keys.

Generally, these key finders have a much longer range, sometimes reaching up to 60 meters. However, obstructions, like doors and walls, can reduce this range by a great deal.

Furthermore, for anyone who is having trouble holding on to their car keys, holding on to another device to locate them might not be the best solution.

Measures to take if you have lost your car keys:

Here’s what you should do if you have lost your car keys and have no way of finding them back:

  • Inform your insurance company. They might cover the cost of key replacement.
  • Inform the authorities. Your car might be at the risk of being stolen.
  • Contact an auto locksmith if you are stranded somewhere. An auto locksmith can generally replace your car keys.
  • You can also choose to have your car towed to your dealer. Dealers can replace your original car keys but are quite costly compared to an auto locksmith.

Take Away:

Lost car keys can cost anywhere between $50 to $500 depending upon your car model and the person offering you the service. So, if you have a habit of losing them, you might end up with a considerably lighter pocket. Not to mention the time and hassle it takes to have your car keys replaced from a dealer.

So, if you have a habit of losing car keys, a good choice would be to use third-party key locators available online, based on Bluetooth, RF, and RFID technology.

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