There’s a rare glitch in the key security of older car models, one that many a mechanic in Southport and Queensland aren’t really aware of. One that resulted in a Queenslander’s car to be taken in without his knowledge.
Josh Bingham, a brewery worker, thought that his Toyota Hilux ute had been stolen. According to him, he was leaving work for the night at a Noosaville craft brewery when he noticed that his ute was gone, resulting in him frantically looking for his car, and said that he couldn’t find it anywhere in the area, which led to him turning to the police.
At that stage, his hope that his car could be found before any potential thieves had the chance to deal substantial damage to it; he had no idea that it was sitting in a mechanic’s workshop just a few doors from his house.
The mechanic that brought in the car was recruited in order to service another Hilux, and received that vehicle’s keys, with instructions to pick it up from the side of the road around the corner. Their apprentice went to collect the car, with Mr. Bingham’s Hilux being the first vehicle encountered.
The part that got vehicle owners and many a mechanic in Southport and across Queensland raising their eyebrows, is that the keys for the other Hilux managed to unlock Mr. Bingham’s car and started the engine, which resulted in his Hilux being brought to the shop for service.
According to RACQ Principal Technical Researcher Russell Manning, it was a rare issue, for a key to fit another person’s car, but not unheard of. He says that the lock’s design means that there’s a finite number of key combinations for any particular lock, and that will depend on the lock’s design, meaning that there is a chance, however slim, that if one tries enough keys, one will find one that is either the same or close enough to start another car.
Manning says that the odds of this happening are, at best, thousands to one, and the odds of finding yourself near someone with a matching lock are even slimmer. He adds that this glitch was only present in older model vehicles, with more recent models relying on more secure electronic methods to ensure security.
Mr. Bingham was fortunate to find his ute, thanks to support from Facebook and other people in the local area. In return, the mechanic that accidentally grabbed his car gave it a free service, including new brakes, for free.