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Inside Toyota Tundra Theft and What You Can Do to Prevent It

Every 45 seconds, a car is stolen somewhere in the U.S, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). You don’t often hear of a Toyota Tundra being stolen and becoming a part of this statistic, however, that does not mean it is impossible for it to happen to you.


Toyota Tundra Engine Immobilizer Security Feature.

One of the reasons you scarcely hear of a Tundra being stolen is because of the Anti-Theft Engine Immobilizer feature installed in your vehicle. According to a Toyota dealership, this feature is a “state-of-the-art security system that will stop bad apples in their tracks. If you opt for a vehicle with the Toyota Smart Key system, the key fob comes with an electronic transponder. When you put your key in the ignition, the transponder sends an electronic code to a corresponding transponder that operates the engine immobilizer unit. Your engine will only start if the signal sent by your key matches that of the engine immobilizer. If you grabbed the wrong key or a car thief tries to start your car without that signal, the engine immobilizer will lock down the engine.”

Sounds like a good deal, right? No key, no stolen truck! Or so you thought.

Thieves Bypass Engine Immobilizer System to Hijack Tundras

In the few cases I have heard of someone’s Tundra being stolen, it was clear by the owners that they were still in possession of their keys when the incident occurred. Well how can this be? It’s impossible to hot-wire most cars these days because of newer technology with microchips embedded in keys. You can only use YOUR specific key to start YOUR Tundra, right? Wrong. Thieves today seem to be getting smarter as time progresses. They are now using hacking technology to break into vehicles and drive away without any trace of evidence. One may believe that someone just towed their truck, but stealing? Let’s see how it can happen.

Hack-in-the-Box: The Mystery Hijacking Device

This mystery device, a “little black box”, that leaves law enforcement officials stumped at how one’s truck can be stolen (unless there’s security footage), comes as a two-piece set. One device picks up a signal from a vehicles key fob that can range from 10 to 300 feet away, which then transfers data to a smaller “relay box” that can unlock and start your truck- overriding your alarm. Your keys can be merely anywhere for someone to hijack your data; on your nightstand, in your purse, your pocket, you can be in the grocery store or someone can even just walk by you to access that information, much like with your credit or debit cards.

Laptops Used to Highjack Tundras

Laptops are other devices that can be used to steal your Tundra. The way this can happen is a hacker could break into a database (or even an employee could have easily sold/used access to the database) holding codes that pair key fobs to vehicles, and create their own working fob or “ghost key” for your truck after accessing your VIN number. They can also plug a laptop straight into your OBD port, manipulate your truck’s computer, and have full control of your Tundra.

What You Can Do to Prevent Theft

It’s scary to realize that anyone can simply steal your car without your knowledge, without a trace. There are several ways of preventing this from happening to you. Some experts say putting your keys in a metal box, a wallet designed to thwart your passport or card information, or even the freezer or refrigerator is a sure way to prevent hackers from stealing your data. You could also buy a kill switch to prevent your truck from traveling anywhere or hide a GPS system that can help you and the police to track and recover your Tundra.

At times, no matter what you do, some thief will have the ability to steal your car. These crooks always seem to stay one step ahead of car manufacturers’ safety features, but it’s important for you to always stay alert and take additional precautionary measures so it doesn’t happen to you.


Ang (not verified)    April 22, 2022 - 4:12PM

My 2021 Tundra sport was just stolen. Both my key fobs were disabled and in my house. They were not transmitting a signal. My camera shows the theives worked on my truck for 1 hour and eventually were successful, how I don't know. So much for the immobilizer!!