Somebody who knows a lot more than I do has suggested that the
only two ways to get a car stolen from a mall parking lot are to
leave the keys in it or for the thieves to load it on a rollback
He went on to suggest that most of those thefts have their root
in insurance fraud - where the owner intentionally enables the
theft by leaving the vehicle unlocked with keys inside.
Is it really that much harder to start a newer car without a key?
Some new cars don't use a key switch anymore. They have a start button.
The "authorization" to start the vehicle is via a wireless encrypted
And modern cars can have up to 80 separate computer modules in them
running on 3 separate local area networks. It is possible to make none
of those work unless the proper code is used to start the vehicle.
Bottom line: You would need to be *very* smart to bypass such a system.
And very smart people don't need to go around stealing cars for a
Wow!.... I had no idea they had gone that far.
I was thinking just in the context of a recently-acquired 2005
F-150.... and how attentive I should be to locking the doors.
My initial impression was that locking the doors is moot when it
comes to theft of the vehicle. Theft *from* the vehicle
obviously being relevant.... but the vehicle itself sounded like
it was pretty much covered by the ignition safeguard(s).
Am I on the right track?
Right. Also with cars like Volvos, all the electronic modules /
computers have electronic serial numbers and are matched to each other
in each vehicle. You can't take a module from one vehicle, place it in
another vehicle, and have it work. It will not because that serial
number is not registered in the vehicle's other computer modules!
And all major parts on a Volvo have serial numbers etched on them
including all glass. Those numbers can be traced back to the stolen
So no point in stealing a Volvo for the parts either. The electronic
parts will not work on other Volvos and all parts can be traced. Volvos
have *very* low insurance rates!
Note: Replacement electronic parts for dealer service are "virgin" and
can be installed once, then become permanently linked to the other
modules in the vehicle. After a module is installed in one vehicle, it
then will not work in any other volvo.
Close. All you need is the proper code and a good bi-directional scan
tool and you can change any of the coded parts in ANY vehicle that has
Depends also on the actual vehicle model as to how this works to a large
For instance on just about every GM built from 2002 up the factory
stereos are VIN coded. On some you can pull the unit and nothing really
happens. On others you lose the chimes and various other items like
programming controls for other options. On at least a few of the top end
vehicles the ECM and BCM will even keep the car from running right
without the stereo installed !
VIN number stamp/etching has been around a long time. Not really across
the board as far as entire product lines though. For instance the 2002
Blazer I have is etched but the 04 fleet version isn't. The 03 Liberty
has the bolt on panels tagged but the glass is clean.
If the codes are unique to each vehicle and each part AND are
controlled by the vehicle manufacturer and they have a good
security scheme (which Volvo does)...
Then you HAVE to notify the vehicle manufacturer that you want
the part "unlocked". And have to give them the VIN number of the
vehicle, old part serial number, new part serial number, and your
authorized repair facility info.
Then the vehicle manufacturer's computer needs to connect to the
vehicle and "interrogate" the various modules. In the case of
a "rolling code", no code would on any list - rather the vehicle
manufacturer's computer would need to create the new code based
on the current codes of the various modules on the vehicle, etc.
Basically all that leaves a BIG paper trail, something crooks do not
like! Also the new part would have a serial number, both on the
part and electronically encoded - and this would easily be linked
to the stolen vehicle!
And only dealers would be able to do this. Keep in mind they can
tell which IP number is being used when the vehicle is connected
to their computer network. If not a registered dealer repair
facility, then the "alarms" would sound!
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