Trade Vans & Tool Theft Prevention

Tool Theft from vans

Tool Theft Prevention

How safe are the tools in the back of your van?

Tool theft prevention is a must for any self-respecting tradesman. I’d hate to think how much it would cost to replace the equipment I keep in my van or how much time and hassle would be involved sourcing new ones should I lose them.

Sure I’ve got insurance but many of my tools come from overseas and it would take some time before I would be able to resume work.

Tool theft can be devastating for a business owner

What security does your van have?

Whilst nearly all new vans come with a factory immobiliser most are lacking an alarm. The ones that do have an alarm tend to be very basic without load area movement sensors so remain vulnerable to break-ins. Do not assume that the manufacturer’s system will protect your tools. Having keyless entry does not mean that your van has an alarm!

Get an alarm with movement sensors

I highly recommend an alarm system with Ultrasonic Internal movement sensors and an additional PIR sensor for vans that have a solid partition between the cabin and the load area.
Do not rely on the factory door switches alone as these will not trigger the alarm if a door is peeled open, or access is gained via a window.

Below is a list of the most common vans in New Zealand. Click on the link to get a detailed overview of what each van comes with and what upgrades I recommend.

Security advice for Work Utes found here…

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Honda Civic Type R Upgrade Alarm

Honda Civic Alarm Installation

Two weeks I got my hands on a very tidy 2010 Honda Civic Type R FD2

(The FD2 is the Asia Pacific sedan version of the Civic).

There are not many in NZ and it was the first one I have worked on. It was booked in for a Cobra AK4615 CAN-BUS alarm, I was hoping that it would be the same as the European FN2 Hatchback model electrically to make for an easier installation. Sadly it was not so and I had to learn the car and wire it up the old fashioned way!

Not that it’s really a problem, it just takes more time and becomes one of those jobs that not many people can do well these days.

Finding out how the car works and locating all the required wires needs much more skill and knowledge than simply following an instruction manual for a 6 wire CAN-BUS alarm installation!

Honda Civic Type R FD2 2006-2011 Cobra AK4615 works in PLIP mode

Below: Photo of the Euro hatch version of the Type R which is the model covered by the Cobra AK4615 in CAN-BUS configuration.

Cobra AK4615 works as a CAN-BUS alarm with the FN2 Type R Euro Spec

Here are some shots of the car after the installation

Cobra LED Control Panel next to the push to start button

Honda Civic Alarm Ultrasonic Sensors

Ultrasonic Sensors fitted in the Civic

The car only came with one Honda remote so I supplied a Cobra Remote to go with the plain transponder key. This is far more cost effective than purchasing a second Honda remote key.

Honda Civic Alarm in a Type R

AK4615 works with both the Factory Honda Remote as well as the Cobra Padlock Remote

The Cobra AK4615 also works with the standard version of the Honda Civic

Gen 8 Honda Civic

Gen 9 Honda Civic

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Subaru Impreza Upgrade Alarm

The 3rd generation Subaru Impreza was released in 2007. It addressed most of the security vulnerabilities of the previous generation car.

All models now come with a factory immobiliser and the pillar-less windows are gone. Some models even have a basic alarm.

It’s worth noting that Subaru did not offer an immobiliser on any model until March 2003. Even then this only applied to models sold in New Zealand. More details of which can be found here…

Subaru Impreza Security

Subaru Impreza Security

Generation 3 Subaru Impreza 2007-2011 (WRX >2014)

Upgrade Alarms

The CAN-BUS system on the Impreza is interesting as locking and unlocking it with the switch on the driver’s door generates the same data as a remote lock/unlock.

This is a problem for most aftermarket CAN-BUS alarms as they can be tricked into arming/disarming, which is also an issue with most Nissan’s and some Mazda’s as explained here…

The good news is that the Cobra AK4615 has this covered so has a switch inhibit built into the alarm to prevent the vulnerability. Whereas nearly every other brand of alarm I’ve looked at is compromised by this so be warned!

The Cobra AK4615 in action on the Impreza:

Some photos of the details:

Impreza Alarm Sensors

Ultrasonic Sensors painted black to match the STi trim

Push to start Subaru Security with Cobra LED in the traditional key location

I recommend an ADR card for models with the smart key and push to start to protect against key cloning.

How to change the Remote Battery on the Smart Key

First, remove the key blade section of the remote, then use a small flat blade screwdriver and prize open as shown in the photo below.

Subaru Smart Key

How to open your Subaru Smart Key

Inside you’ll find a CR1632 battery.

Subaru Remote Battery

Smart key takes a CR1632 Battery

Gen 2 Impreza Security

WRX alarm options

Late Model Generation 2 Impreza

Subaru Factory Security

As of March 2003 all NZ new Subaru models come with Datadot Security and an Immobiliser

Own a Gen 2 Impreza made after March 2003? If so the Cobra AK4615 can be made to work in PLIP configuration from the factory remote.

Should you have a Jap import or an older model including the Gen 1, then I’d suggest an insurance standard immobiliser as a minimum level of protection.

This blog post explains if your Subaru has an immobiliser or not…

Ultrasonic Sensors are highly recommended for cars with pillarless windows. If it’s a WRX then I highly recommend the Cobra AK4138.

March 2003-2007 NZ New Impreza came with a remote and immobiliser

Gen 2 Impreza with ultrasonic sensors installed

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Fraudulent Alarm Installations!

2nd hand car alarm story

If there’s one thing worse then having your car or possessions stolen, it has to be getting ripped off by the person you pay to protect it for you.

This morning I got a phone call from a gentleman who had a 2005 Subaru Legacy. He had paid $523.25 for an alarm that he felt was not working correctly.

I suggested that he should take it back to the installer. It was under a year old and therefore still under warranty with them. He said he found them very hard to deal with and was intimidated by them, so I reluctantly agreed to give it the once-over.

Over $500.00 for a 2nd hand car alarm

Edited invoice to hide installers and customers details.

What I found was shocking, he thought he had a Cyclops P775 alarm/immobiliser. He is what I found:

Under the Bonnet

Secondhand Remac siren (Remac went out of business years ago!)

Under the bonnet was a super old siren made by Remac who are no longer in business, my guess is that the siren is well over 15 years old. There was no bonnet switch fitted either.

Behind the Dash

2nd hand car alarm

A Dynatron alarm module dated 2006

No effort to hide the alarm (not that many installers actually bother) and an alarm dated 2006. The unit is clearly second hand and is missing a screw in the case.

Inside the alarm module

Super old circuit board and missing immobiliser connections

2nd Hand Car Alarm!

Upon opening the alarm module I found that there was no glass break sensor connected and only one immobiliser cut (note the red ring highlighting the terminals. I also noted a super old circuit board which was so old that it had no provision for the transponder module. I think the internals pre-date 2006 but I’ll have to do some homework to confirm.

Super lazy effort fitting the LED!

I’ve suggested that the customer should go back to the company that “Supplied and installed” his alarm and demand a full refund. If they refuse then I’ve recommended taking them to the small claims court.

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Keyless Car Theft & Remote Hacking

Keyless Car Theft

Smart Proximity Key

Smart Keys or proximity remotes offer the convenience of being able to lock/unlock and start your vehicle without having to touch the key.

The downside to this easy to use system is that they are far more vulnerable to hacking than your traditional remote and key.

Since Immobilisers became standard equipment back in the mid-1990’s (OK maybe 2000’s and later for some models in NZ) the easiest way to steal a vehicle has been by taking the keys. Now, however, the key does not even need to be taken to gain access to a vehicle and it’s becoming a big problem.

What is Relay Attack?

A Relay Attack normally requires two people. Typically one person stands by your vehicle, whilst the other stands near the front door of your house with a device that can pick up the signal from your key fob.

The fob signal is then relayed to the vehicle and it unlocks like it would when the fob is in range!

The video below shows a car being stolen whilst parked in the owners drive.

What can be done to protect against this?

  • Don’t leave your car keys by the front door or a window. Consider putting them inside a Faraday bag when not in use. You can get one for under $10.00 on Ali Express
  • Always make sure your car is locked (Check that the doors lock with the remote or look for the hazard lights to flash or you are giving someone easy access your vehicle).
  • Some people have suggested using an old-fashioned steering lock, but let’s face it, you’d rather have a normal key and remote than faff around which makes your smart key somewhat pointless!
  • Consider the Cobra AK4615 CAN-BUS upgrade alarm with ADR card

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Mitsubishi Outlander Upgrade Alarm

The Mitsubishi Outlander is now in its third generation. It comes with keyless entry and factory immobiliser as a standard but lacks an alarm.

My recommendation is the Cobra AK4615 CAN-BUS upgrade alarm which works flawlessly with the Outlander.

It works with all models including the Outlander PHEV (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle).

Mitsubishi Outlander Alarm Options

Mitsubishi Outlander GEN 3 2013 >

Here are some photos of what the alarm looks like installed:

Movement Sensors fitted in the Outlander

Cobra Ultrasonic Sensors in the Outlander

Here is how they look when back in the car:

LED Over-ride in the Outlander

Cobra LED over-ride switch in the Outlander

Gen 2 Outlander 2006-2012

If you have the Older GEN 2 Outlander then the AK4615 is also a great option as shown below:

Mitsubishi Outlander Alarm Ultrasonic Sensors

Outlander GEN 2 Ultrasonic Sensors

Cobra LED in GEN 2 Outlander

GEN 1 Outlander (Airtrek 2001-2008)

The Airtrek can also use the Cobra AK4615 in PLIP mode or a remote alarm.

Mitsubishi Outlander Alarm

The alarm works using the factory remote controls or Smart Key

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Obsessive Birthday and Holiday 1st May – 12th May

Obsessive Holiday

Happy Obsessive Day

First off Obsessive Vehicle Security is now 10 years old. The official incorporation date was the 14th April 2008. I was too busy to post anything that day but did have a beer to celebrate (Well it happened on a weekend!)

A big thank you goes out to everyone who has supported me over the last ten years. I still love doing this and look forwards to securing vehicles properly for many more years to come.

Holiday Dates:

I’m away on Holiday for the first 12 days of May. (1st to the 12th May)

The plan is to fly down to Queenstown and explore some of the majestic South Island scenery.

My phone will be off so please use the Contact form if you have an enquiry and I’ll respond when I return.

I’ll be back to work on the 14th May.

Cheers Julian

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Ford Transit Custom Upgrade Alarm

The Ford Transit Alarm is Joke!

The factory alarm on the Ford Transit and Transit Custom is woeful.

It has no internal movement sensors and will disarm with both the driver’s door lock, which can be picked easily! Even the unlock switch on the inside door card disarms it.

In other words, the alarm disarms when the van is broken into using some of the most common methods!

So what does the Ford Transit alarm do?

The Ford alarm only has door, boot and bonnet protection. Assuming it is not tricked into being disarmed will honk the alarm horn if triggered.

It’s worth pointing out that the alarm horn is not actually as loud the as main vehicle horn, it makes me wonder why Ford even bothers? On the bright side having two remote keys is better than nothing!

Factory alarm is terrible!

Making the Ford Transit Secure

The good news is that the Cobra AK4615 works with the factory remote and can’t be tricked into disarming without the remote.

Fortunately, the wiring can be modified so the back of the van is not unlocked if the driver’s door lock is forced or picked.

The AK4615 comes with Ultrasonic movement sensors as standard which protect the cabin area of the van.


Cobra Ultrasonic Sensors in the Ford Transit

I recommend adding a PIR sensor to the back of the van to cover the load area.

Flimsy Doors are super vulnerable!

The doors on the transit are very flimsy and there is a big problem with them being peeled open in the UK right now.

I don’t think it’s an issue in the NZ as yet but I’m assuming it’s only a matter of time before it is!

Cobra LED Over-ride button in the Ford Transit

I would also suggest that internal sirens are a good idea in the transit. Micro-switches on the rear doors are also worth considering.

For anyone who has a Ford Transit as a courier van, I have a nice alarm option for that too.

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SsangYong Actyon Sports Upgrade Alarm

The SsangYong Actyon was probably one of the ugliest vehicles ever made until it received a face-lift in 2012. Well, that’s my humble opinion and it offends me enough not to put a photo up, but feel welcome to do a Google search if you have a sick bag handy!

Anyway, it’s a Ute that comes with an immobiliser, keyless entry, and factory alarm. The thing is the factory alarm is rather basic and can be improved.

SsangYong Car Alarm

Facelift Actyon Sports Ute

The factory alarm has door and bonnet protection and a rather muffled horn. The following video shows it in action.

I highly recommend the Cobra AK4615 which gives you a hidden battery back-up siren, a louder horn, and Ultrasonic Sensors. Optional Reed Switch or PIR Sensor can be added if the Ute is fitted with a hard lid or a canopy.

It’s one of the more interesting vehicles electrically and took some cunning (head scratching and cussing) to make the Cobra function as it should do. Still with all struggles comes the satisfaction of knowing the alarm work flawlessly, plus it is another vehicle added to my ever-growing database.

Here are some photos of the install.

SsangYong Car Alarm

Alarm works with the factory remote controls

Alarm LED Over-ride pin Switch

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Cobra ADR (Automatic Driver Recognition)

Automatic Driver Recognition – Protect against key theft

New Zealand Product Range

Cobra Product Range

Cobra ADR Cards by Vodafone Automotive work with the Cobra AK4615 protect your vehicle from theft by key cloning. This way if a remote key gets cloned the car remains immobilised.

The Cobra System provides the original vehicle keys with an additional passive digital signature. Preventing cloned keys from starting the vehicle without the ADR card being present directly combating the “Hi-Tech” theft of a vehicle via key cloning.

Here is how it works:

Three Levels of Protection

The ADR card can be programmed to work on a number of levels. You can choose which options you prefer depending on your requirements.

    • The first level prevents the vehicle from starting unless the card is detected.
    • The second prevents the alarm from disarming with the factory remote unless the card is detected within 15 seconds.
    • The third is an Anti Hijacking option. All are explained below:

Passive Start Inhibition

The vehicle will automatically immobilise 115 seconds after the engine/ignition is turned off. The Passive Start Inhibition will be deactivated upon detecting the ADR card, or if the correct emergency PIN code is entered. The car will then start as normal.

High-Security Disarm

When the factory remote unlocks the car the alarm system enters a 15-second stand down period where it waits to detects the ADR card. If the ADR is not detected within this time the alarm will remain armed and becomes fully active.

Anti Hi-Jacking

The Anti Hijacking feature monitors to see if the ADR card is in the vehicle.

Each time the ignition is turned on, or the driver’s door is opened whilst the ignition on the alarm will look for the ADR card. If the card is not detected within 60 seconds the alarm LED will flash for 30 seconds to warn the driver and give them time to enter the over-ride pin number.

If the PIN number or ADR card are not detected then the alarm will go off. Once the ignition is turned off the car is then immobilised.

Ideally, the ADR card will be kept with the driver if Anti Hi-Jacking is required.

Automatic Driver Recognition Card

Cobra ADR Card protects against Key theft and OBD-II Key Cloning

Turning the ADR Card on and off

Press the button until the LED turns off (about 10 seconds).

Press it for 1 second to turn it back on.

ADR Card: $100.00

Leather Case: $30.00

Battery: CR2032

Optional Leather Case:

I recommend keeping your ADR card in your wallet or your house keys. I have leather cases available for $30.00 to protect your card.

Leather Case for ADR card protects it from damage

Note: Features vary depending on the alarm. The link below  covers how it works with the AK4198, AK4138, and AK4147

Cobra Drivers Card

ADR Card works with the following alarms:

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