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8 Best and Worst Places to Hide Your Spare Car Keys

At one point or another, you might’ve had the misfortune of stepping out of your car for a moment and, upon returning, realized that the doors have locked on you—and the key is inside. 

Very little in life can be described as quite so annoying, but having a spare car key is a handy way to avoid getting locked out of your car. Keeping the spare key in the same place as the main one would be a little counterintuitive, so it’s important to know some of the more reliable ways to hide it, whether that’s on your property or elsewhere.

Read on to discover some of the clever ways you can hide primary and spare car keys without compromising the security of your vehicle. 

How Do Car Thieves Target Cars?

Keyless cars, or cars that use fobs or mobile apps to unlock, are at significantly higher risk of being targeted by thieves. 

The good news, then, is that keeping spares really isn’t going to be of any increased detriment to the security of your vehicle.

What is Relay Theft?

Credit: Scotty Kilmer

Traditional Keys

Older cars with regular key locks, on the other hand, are made more vulnerable with the existence of multiple spares, since these are more likely to be stolen in order to facilitate vehicle theft.

If you were wondering how to hide a key in or on your car, forget about it: thieves will target cars which have keys or fobs left inside the vehicle. 

Old versus New Vehicles

Of course, profit can be made from scrap from older vehicles, too, and a conventional forced entry (smashing the window) will be more likely if the car is already old and not especially valuable in its present state. 

a green car parked on the street has been broken in through a smashed window

Not to mention, older vehicles with compromised security, like doors hanging off hinges and broken windows, are much easier to steal.

While it’s easy to imagine that parts theft is far more likely for newer vehicles, there’s no reason to assume you’re ‘safe’ from vehicle theft because of the state of your vehicle, or how desirable it’s perceived. A vulnerable, easy catch is just as likely to be targeted as an expensive vehicle.

Clever Ways to Hide Your Car Keys (And Where to Avoid)

With modern vehicles exhibiting a worrying degree of security vulnerabilities thanks to relay theft, knowing how to go about concealing and storing your car keys, be it spare or primary, is crucial in helping protect your vehicle. 

Find out the best and worst places to have your car keys, including where to hide car keys in the house.

Best Places

1. Your bag/pocket

As obvious as it is, having a spare key on you at all times is among the more useful places to ‘hide’ it. 

Ideally, you need to keep the primary key and the spare one separate, so if the main key were to be kept in your handbag or backpack, the spare might be kept in the pocket of your trousers or jacket. 

A backpack rests on a rock

And since fobs invite relay attacks, it’s much better to have it move around with you rather than to leave it in one place.

As annoying as it is initially, getting into the habit of having your keys separated in general is a good idea, including not keeping house keys and car keys on the same keychain. 

In the event of being locked out of your car, you’ll instantly regret keeping spares and house keys on the exact same chain, and the convenience of it suddenly won’t seem so necessary.

2. In aluminum foil

Wrapping electronics up in aluminum foil is probably something you would associate with juvenile thieves stealing clothes or video games from a store. But it’s actually a tried-and-true way to reduce the capacity of wireless signals through interference. 

Aluminum foil

Essentially working the same way an RFID bag does (see below), it’s a decent way to protect your fob/keyless vehicle from being opened during the night if you don’t want to part with the money for a dedicated signal blocker, particularly if your vehicle is parked in close proximity to your home.

Simply place the fob inside a small container that is wrapped in ample amounts of foil. Be very liberal with how much you use.

The metal will cause interference with signals, but it’s not nearly as reliable as a dedicated RFID bag, which is made with far denser materials that distribute electrostatic radiation. Pile on as many layers as you can, making sure not to leave significant gaps.

Camera setup provided by one of the AlfredCamera users

3. In an RFID bag, case, or wallet

RFID, or radio frequency identification technology, is the name given to various types of wireless communication readers and trackers. There’s plenty of uses for it on the right side of the law, like tracking animals in the wild, and, more annoyingly, in car locking systems. 

Credit: SLNT

What does an RFID bag do? RFID bags (or wallets, cases, boxes, or other similar objects) are the more sophisticated version of smothering your devices in foil. 

Using a Faraday cage, they block RFID signals by distributing electrostatic radiation around whatever’s inside it, so that external electromagnetic fields are blocked out. 

As you might imagine, keyless fobs aren’t the only thing susceptible to attacks; credit cards, for instance, can be kept safe by being stored in a Faraday cage. So maybe it’s time to upgrade that little tray by the front door with your wallet and keys in it! 

Note: Looking for RFID bags/Faraday cages? Scroll down to find some of our picks.

4. Hide-a-key

Traditional keys ultimately pose less of a security threat than buttonless fobs, so more conventional ways of hiding them can be beneficial. We’re fans of hide-a-keys, objects disguised as everyday items, like rocks, in which you can hide keys. These can then be distributed subtly around the outside of your property, depending on what object it’s attempting to look like.

Keys alongside a bowl of apples, juice, and a carton of eggs in a fridge

Of course, some of these can be hit and miss, and the success of it depends on how convincing and discreet the hide-a-key is. The best hide a key for cars will be made out of a durable type of plastic, so they can withstand the elements. 

5. Among plants

It’s no use having a fake rock to hide your key in if the area around your property has no rocks. Placing a key among potted plants is a nifty way to get around this. 

For regular keys, place them inside a small zip lock bag and insert them deep into the soil. Turn them horizontally in the soil so there’s no chance of them sticking out, and cover them with ample soil. 

Green sprouts grow from wet soil

For fobs, you could try the same but with a small-sized RFID bag in order to block potential relay attacks. Having it both physically and electromagnetically concealed will greatly decrease the chances of falling victim to such a theft.

Worst Places

1. In your car

License plate hide a keys can be tempting, or even just attaching the key discreetly inside the hubcap of one of your wheels can seem like a wise idea. But we’d recommend proceeding with caution if you do opt for one of these methods. 

Certainly, if the key in question is a fob, don’t even think about it.

The key to a Mini is held up to a red car light

Even though it’s not nearly as convenient as having a spare on the vehicle itself, it’s much safer to have any spares around the outside of your property. 

Either in soil bedding, deep within potted plants, hide-a-keys, key safes, or, for fobs, inside a RFID bag, where they will be better concealed and further away from your vehicle if a car key is uncovered. 

3. Alongside other keys

Wherever you decide to keep your primary car key or hide your spare car key, it’s important to create a habit of separating all of your keys. Though keeping your keys on a single keychain or in a keycase is undeniably more convenient, losing or, worse still, having them stolen, puts your security at a very high risk.

To start with, try separating house keys (front and back door) from car keys if they aren’t already. Then try keeping spare keys and on separate keychains and in places that are decidedly far from the original cut of the key. 

real estate, homeownership, homebuying-6688945.jpg

If you keep your original keys in your coat pockets, for instance, you could try keeping the spares in your bag, or otherwise in a hide-a-key. 

Note: If you do happen to lose or have stolen a keychain, immediately replace all locks on your home, vehicles, and any other objects or places that the chain held keys for. Do not wait for the keychain to be returned to you.

Prevent Keyless Car Thefts with These Tips

Button fobs aren’t affected by relay theft

Keep keyless fobs on the move with you

Faraday cages

RFID Bags and Faraday Cages

Amazon

Hodufy Faraday Bags 9.8 x 11 Inches, Fireproof & WaterproofTICONN Faraday Bag for Key Fob (2 Pack)Simliang RFID & NFC Blocking Card (4 Pack)

Image via Amazon

Image via Amazon

Image via Amazon
‘I was a little skeptical at first. I placed my mobile phone in the bag and asked someone to call me – nothing – it is as if my phone was not in service. Perfect.’ – Mr Warren N Keir on Amazon.‘I have a 2017 Honda Civic. I put the key fob in the correct pocket while sitting in the car and held the bag up to the push button start and the car wouldn’t do anything, so worked as advertised.’ – STZ on Amazon.‘Can’t find a problem with this blocking and it really works perfectly straight away. It’s just a plain card but it manages to transform my wallet into a contactless blocking machine. The card is the same size as a bank card and it just slots into one of the card slots in my wallet.’ – Cesar Hernandez Castaneda on Amazon.
From $15.79From $14.95From $8.30

Walmart

Alpine Swiss Mens Genuine Leather Bifold WalletViugreum Key CaseIaowalm PU Leather Faraday Cage Protector Box

Image via Walmart

Image via Walmart

Image via Walmart
‘It has EVERYTHING! RFID protection, which is key, also very soft supple leather. This held good amount of cash, all the cards, and has a flip out double-sided picture window (drivers license or ID) for ease and visibility. ‘- Quality4Me on Walmart.‘I have a 2017 Honda Civic. I put the key fob in the correct pocket while sitting in the car and held the bag up to the push button start and the car wouldn’t do anything, so worked as advertised.’ – STZ on Amazon.‘Can’t find a problem with this blocking and it really works perfectly straight away. It’s just a plain card but it manages to transform my wallet into a contactless blocking machine. The card is the same size as a bank card and it just slots into one of the card slots in my wallet.’ – Cesar Hernandez Castaneda on Amazon.
From $19.99From $9.29From $25.58

Best Buy

Swissdigital Design Katy Rose BackpackSamsonite Classic 2 RFID CrossbodyNite Ize Financial Tool RFID-Blocking Wallet

Image via Best Buy

Image via Best Buy


Image via Best Buy
‘This Swissdigital backpack is great! Such fine quality and so many pockets!! The big surprise was how light weight it is and comfortable to carry because it is well balanced!! I feel safe using with my wallet safely in the RFID pocket!!’ – 65NRockinit on Best Buy.‘Light weight with plenty of room to hold your items’ – Renee S. on Samsonite.com‘Great tool to have just incase. Money clip and used as multiple tools. I can’t complain.’ PEEJ37 on Best Buy. 
From $99.99From $29.99From $15.99 

FAQ

Where is the best place to keep car keys?

Avoiding keeping your car keys in one single place means that actually keeping them on you may be among the best places to keep them. Spares can be kept inside hide-a-key objects around your property, while fobs should be kept inside RFID/Faraday bags.

Where do you put your car keys at night?

Putting the keys near you at night, rather than the front door, is best. Keyless fobs should be placed into an RFID/Faraday box. 

Does putting car keys in a tin block the signal?

Putting car keys into a regular tin will likely not block the signal, though it may interrupt it to a minimal degree. By wrapping the tin up in plenty of aluminum foil you can improve the effect. Otherwise, buy a dedicated RFID/Faraday box to store it in for total peace of mind.

What does an RFID bag do?

An RFID bag blocks radio frequency signals used by radio frequency identification devices by utilizing a Faraday cage. This stops electromagnetic fields from reaching whatever is inside the bag, therefore making it useful to protect keyless fobs, credit cards, and other objects.

Why would you wrap your car keys in foil at night?

Wrapping your car keys in foil at night mimics the effect of a Faraday cage, an object which shields whatever is inside it from electromagnetic fields. By doing this, you can prevent relay attacks, an increasingly common way to unlock and start cars by tricking the car into thinking the keyless fob is nearer than it actually is. If the keys are in foil, it may increase interference and block some of the electromagnetic waves from reaching the key, though it is not as reliable as a dedicated Faraday cage.

Are push start cars easier to steal?

Yes, push start cars are significantly easier to steal than ordinary key turn cars. Any vehicle with onboard computing is susceptible to hacking. Cars that don’t have computers in them are not. A relay attack can be used to open and start the car by tricking the car’s system into registering the key as nearer than it actually is.

Can someone steal my car without the key fob?

Yes, someone can steal your car without the key fob by using a relay transmitter and an amplifier. So long as the perpetrator is within reasonable distance of the fob (for example, outside your home), the signal can then be relayed and amplified to trick the car into detecting it as closer than it actually is.

Conclusion

One can hope that within the coming decades, car manufacturers will be able to successfully bolster keyless car security systems (and their onboard computing more generally), as they are very clearly susceptible to being unlocked and started through relay theft. And with many cars now having tablets and other smart devices built into them, there is more at stake than ever.

For the time being, following our tips and tricks on hiding and storing primary and spare car keys will help significantly reduce the risk of your vehicle being stolen.