Motorists are advised to keep their vehicle software up-to-date with manufacturer recalls, to protect themselves against the growing trend of key code hacking.

The advice, from vehicle data experts HPI, comes as recent reports show that keyless entry has driven a rise in car theft. With a simple piece of equipment available online, thieves can intercept the code sent out by the key and create an unlocking code for which allows them to gain access and drive away.

In fact, according to research by the RAC, car thefts in England and Wales increased from 65,783 in 2013 to 85,688 in 2017. The data was gathered after a Freedom of Information request was made to police forces in England and Wales.

“Car manufacturers take security seriously and issue software updates that can be performed by your local dealership – or in some cases wirelessly over the internet,” Fernando Garcia, Consumer Director at HPI, said. “It’s important to check if your car is subject to a recall that will cover not only security but also safety upgrades.”

In a typical year, more than 1 million cars are affected by a recall, with over 150 recalls issued.