Camper Tech

Keyless Tech Warning For Truck Campers

Truck Camper Magazine discovers a potential safety and security risk to keyless technology in modern pickup trucks.  All truck camper owners should read this article, and take precautions.

Keyless Entry Truck Camper Warning

For years I have kept my truck key fob next to me in the cabover at night.  In the case of an emergency – break-in, fire, knuckleheads carving their initials in our truck, etc. – I could hit the panic button on the truck’s key fob.

Hopefully, the resulting alarm and lights would (a) scare away the trouble makers and possibly (b) get the attention of others in the immediate area.  From our conversations with fellow truck campers, having the key fob in the cabover is a common practice.

Well, that may need to change.  Our new 2018 RAM 3500 came with a feature called “Keyless Go”.  Essentially, our new truck key fob allows for keyless entry, keyless start, and keyless remote-start.

Key Fob 1

Above: Our 2018 RAM key fob (left) and our 2014 RAM key fob (right)

With Keyless Go we can literally walk up to the truck with the key fob in our pocket, touch the door’s handle, and the truck doors automatically unlock.  With the key fob still in our pocket, we can then start the truck with the push of a button.

Key Fob 2

RAM promotes these features as “safety enhancements” as they allow you to get into your truck and start it faster than might be possible with traditional keys.  Honestly, we would have never ordered a truck with this feature, but it came with the best truck (for our requirements) available after our truck camper accident in July.

It took some time to get used to the truck doors automatically unlocking, not to mention starting the truck with a button.  I kept thinking, “What’s wrong with a proper key?”  Two months later, we’re accustomed to it.  And we all slide down the the slippery slope of technology…

A week ago I was in the cabover getting ready for bed when I looked over and saw my truck key fob.  And then it hit me.

Is the key fob close enough to the cab (immediately beneath us) to render the door locks unlocked – for anyone?

Then I really freaked out.

If the key fob was close enough to the truck cab under me to allow the doors to automatically unlock, might it also allow someone to start the truck?

Could somebody just walk right up, open our truck, start the truck, and drive away with us in the camper?  Holy crap!

The next morning Angela and I ran some tests.  I stayed in the cabover with the truck key fob and Angela attempted to open the truck and start it.

Angela was immediately able to open the truck.  With the key fob in the cabover anyone would indeed be able to get into our truck.

Key Fob 3

Fortunately, she was not able to start the truck.  The truck display said the key fob was, “not detected”.  This was good news, but hardly comforting.

From our test, we are very concerned that some truck and camper combinations with keyless technology may be able to open and start the truck.

Maybe if the camper was closer to the truck cab, or if our camper had different construction materials, or if our truck was a Ford, GM, Nissan, or Toyota product with this technology, it would work.  It’s something to be aware of and test if you already have a truck with these features.

Needless to say, we have not kept our key fobs in the cabover since our test.  Doing so renders our truck unlocked for anyone to enter.  They can’t start our truck, but they can get into it.  Be careful.


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