Remote Silliness

It’s a well-known fact that if a criminal scrote wants to get into your car, he will.  But why make it easier for him?

Got a car with keyless technology? It’s twice as likely to be stolen: Insurer reveals changing face of motor theft as brazen criminals shift tactics.

This is one modern geegaw I’ve never understood the need for, let alone wanted in my car.  What is so difficult about inserting a key into the ignition and turning it, that you have to make it “wireless”?

Of course, there’s this:

  • Price of electronic starter fob when added to your car’s selling price:  > $300
  • Price of metal key:  ~$1.

Fuck ’em.  If I ever get a new car (highly unlikely), the first thing I’ll have done is get the fob disabled.  And if it can’t be disabled and is the only way to start the car, I’ll get another car with a fucking metal key.

This has nothing to do with a resistance to change;  it’s resistance to pointless, expensive and unnecessary change.

Next:  electronic handbrakes.


  1. I’m throwing down the bullshit flag.

    1. Correlation does not equal causation. As a feature becomes more widely adopted it only stands to reason that the theft of cars with said feature also increases.

    2. All the keys I have ever used go into sleep mode after a period of time. My keys don’t start giving off a signal until they are jostled awake (saves on battery). Thus it is perfectly safe sitting in my key drawer.

    If you think you’re annoyed now, just wait until carmakers ask you to subscribe for keyless service. Some are moving toward an annual subscription for included features (heated seats, keyless access, carplay, etc.) to boost their annual revenue stream. So you buy the hardware, but then have to pay them a monthly fee to use it.

    1. The coming subscription model will be more along the lines of — all cars will be manufactured with all the features built into them to save on manufacturing costs. More automated assembly, less variations in the automated processes. But the ” subscription” will “unlock ” them. and for updates.

      But this won’t be done for the lower volume / higher cost model lines where the ability to select from and endless list of options ( a la Porsche ) will double / triple the already high starting price.

      1. Yeah, that’s the point I was trying to make when I said you buy the hardware but then have to pay again to use it.

        I got news for them.. if I pay for heated seats, I’ma hook up my own manual switch to turn them on and off before paying them a dime in “seat heater fees”.

        1. If they are going to charge me to use something I already bought via a subscription service, then I will gladly support any entrepeneur who sells a method to circumvent this nonsense.

          Getting a new car used to be exciting and a positive experience other than dealing with the salesman. Now I dread it. I like my new truck but there are far too many electronic and electrical bells and whistles on it that I will most likely never use at all or simply not use to their most enjoyable extent. Every car and truck I have owned before this one, I could hop in, turn the key, drive off and use the climate control, mirror adjustments, radio, wipers and driving controls with no problem at all. This one, I had to pull over and read the manual in order to get the AC/heater running properly. When we got home I spent about a half hour in the driveway learning how the radio, phone pairing and other controls worked. I miss the tactile controls that I could manipulate while driving without having to take my eyes off of the road.

          Subscription services and automated cars will have me putting new engines and transmissions into older cars.


  2. Personally I think the remote door locking thing is unnecessary, too. Handy, sure, but far from a necessity. The 2017 Tundra that I bought 2 years ago is the first vehicle I’ve owned that had a (working) one. (The one belonging to the 2001 Dodge Dakota that I bought used has always been non-functional, but it never bothered me enough to spend the money to get it fixed.)

    Personally, my preferred setup is the one found in my (former) 1998 Audi A4, and my dad’s 1965 Beetle: metal key, and the driver’s door, can’t be locked using the interior (door) locking mechanism if the door is open. You have to use the key to lock the driver’s door, which makes it almost impossible to lock the key in the car.

    1. My 82 VW Rabbit had the same feature on the driver’s side door. Now that was definitely an asset to a car. Time to bring them back.


  3. Yeah, I have to constantly remind myself that the key in my pocket is NOT waterproof. When wade fishing, kayaking, swimming in the creek, etc., I either have to have a waterproof container for the key or else hide the key near the parked truck and hope no one finds it. Metal keys? Never had that issue.

  4. My wife’s 2015 Kia Sorento’s key fob just died in it’s remote function and we found out all kinds of fun stuff.

    A new fob from the dealer is $500++. A new one from Amazon costs $50 but may not be programmable because “Made in China”. Bought one anyway, we’ll see if it can be programmed.

    The old fob works to start the car, even without batteries, because there’s a chip in it powered by a radio broadcast from the car, just like a credit card chip. Like a credit card chip it must be close – you have press it right onto the start push button nose first.

    We’re cheap so if the $50 Amazonian fob wont work, back it goes and we’ll use the metal key inside the fob.

  5. Well, I can tell you why it’s more likely that *my* car will get stolen. I have to get the fob out of my pocket to unlock the car. Then I get in the car, and it’s a pain to put it back in my pants pocket. So I set it on the console. Then, when I get out, I forget and leave it on the console. It’s not usually a problem when I go out since I use the fob to lock the car, but I live in rural mountains and don’t lock it when I get home. Twice a week I get up in the morning and can’t find my fob — and there it is laying in plain view on the console in the car. If I were still living in town, the car would have been stolen 10 times over.

  6. I’m amazed it’s that low. Wireless has been broken for a number of models, Here is the latest example.
    Vulnerabilities in mobile apps exposed Hyundai and Genesis car models after 2012 to remote attacks that allowed unlocking and even starting the vehicles. BleepingComputer reports: Security researchers at Yuga Labs found the issues and explored similar attack surfaces in the SiriusXM “smart vehicle” platform used in cars from other makers (Toyota, Honda, FCA, Nissan, Acura, and Infinity) that allowed them to “remotely unlock, start, locate, flash, and honk” them. At this time, the researchers have not published detailed technical write-ups for their findings but shared some information on Twitter, in two separate threads.

    Yuga Labs analysts found that the mobile apps for Acura, BMW, Honda, Hyundai, Infiniti, Jaguar, Land Rover, Lexus, Nissan, Subaru, and Toyota, use SiriusXM technology to implement remote vehicle management features. They inspected the network traffic from Nissan’s app and found that it was possible to send forged HTTP requests to the endpoint only by knowing the target’s vehicle identification number (VIN). The response to the unauthorized request contained the target’s name, phone number, address, and vehicle details. Considering that VINs are easy to locate on parked cars, typically visible on a plate where the dashboard meets the windshield, an attacker could easily access it. These identification numbers are also available on specialized car selling websites, for potential buyers to check the vehicle’s history. In addition to information disclosure, the requests can also carry commands to execute actions on the cars. […] Before posting the details, Yuga Labs informed both Hyundai and SiriusXM of the flaws and associated risks. The two vendors have fixed the vulnerabilities.


  7. another thing that drives me nuts about newer cars is that the only key lock is on the driver’s side.


  8. Remote start is so you can get the car warmed up while staying in the house, which is a pretty big deal for many people in northern states during the winter. I’m only slightly more vulnerable to the cold than a polar bear so I get along fine without remote start here in Michigan, but there are many mornings when I could get out of the driveway faster if I didn’t have to wait for the defroster to warm up enough to keep the windshield clear after I wipe it.

    I assume that a Texan never needs his car prewarmed, but wouldn’t it be nice to have the air conditioner cool it down before you leave the house?

    Does remote ignition make car theft easier? First, up here in Michigan car thieves often look for someone without it who starts their car and goes back in the house, leaving the doors unlocked and the key in the ignition. With remote ignition, you get the car warmed up (or cooled down) while the doors are still locked. Even if the thief breaks in, there’s no key so the steering is still locked, and most thieves are too lazy to learn how to break that lock.

    Balance against that the possibility that the system is badly designed enough that remote ignition and remote unlocking of the door can be hacked simultaneously, so a hacker-thief can get in and get it started while you’re sleeping, but still has to physically deal with the steering lock.

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