Could another key start my car?

A driver on the Sunshine Coast has been left confused after his car was accidentally “stolen” when the key of an almost identical vehicle was used to unlock and drive it away.

car keys

ABC Sunshine Coast reported an apprentice mechanic had unwittingly picked up the wrong Toyota Hilux for a service using the keys of a different car.

RELATED: Qld one of nation’s car theft hot spots

RACQ Principal Technical Researcher Russell Manning said while it wasn’t a common occurrence, it also wasn’t unheard of.

“There’s a finite number of key combinations for a lock, so there’s the possibility that if you try enough keys, you’ll find one that is close enough to start the other car,” Mr Manning said.

“If you have an older car with worn locks, they’re also probably a bit more susceptible to accepting the wrong key.”

Mr Manning assured car owners it was uncommon to see a vehicle being started using the wrong key.

“Newer cars, those made since the mid-nineties, and commercial vehicles such as utilities, built in about the last 10 years, have another layer of electronic security,” he said.

“With these you not only need a key that will turn the lock, but you also need to satisfy the security system that it’s the correct key for the car before it will start. That makes it extremely difficult for a thief to steal the car unless they have the right key for it.”

Mr Manning reminded drivers the best way to secure their vehicle was to keep their keys in a safe place.

“That means not leaving your keys anywhere thieves may be able to easily see it, like next to the front door or on a table visible from the outside.”