June 12, 2024
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Hyundai and Kia Finally Have Solution To Car Theft Craze

You may have heard about the viral car theft craze targeting older Hyundai and Kia models with turn-key ignitions. It’s gotten so bad that some insurance companies are unwilling to issue new policies to certain models from these brands. In short, it turns out that some models of Kia and Hyundai are extremely easy to hotwire with USB cables.

Kia America Takes Action

Kia responded to the news of an impending class-action lawsuit and insurers taking action against issuing new policies and said that it expects the issue to be temporary. All new Kia vehicles come standard with engine immobilizers, but this is for push-button ignitions. For turn-key vehicles, Kia is working on and testing new security software to roll out to owners of these vehicles. It expects that most affected vehicles should receive the software by mid-2023. Kia is also distributing steering wheel locks to law enforcement agencies to make available to their communities.

Kia has launched a campaign for most of the affected vehicles with the new software upgrade. This upgrade can be done at any Kia dealer and will make applicable Kia models trigger the alarm and ignition kill system when drivers use the key fob to lock the vehicle’s doors.

Hyundai Lineup Also Affected

Not to be left out, Hyundai is taking similar steps to Kia. Roughly 4 million Hyundai vehicles are affected by this issue, including the Elantra, Tuscon, Venue, Sonata, Accent, Kona, and Santa Fe models from between 2011 and 2022. The software upgrade for Hyundai vehicles will first be available for 2017-2020 Elantra models, 2015-2019 Sonata models, and 2020-2021 Venue models. Hyundai assures customers that installation of the new software should take less than an hour.


Vehicles with the new software will also get a window decal to alert thieves that anti-theft technology has been added. The only way to deactivate the new feature is to unlock the vehicle with the key fob. For the models that won’t get the update, Hyundai is working on a program to reimburse customers who have had to buy steering wheel locks to protect their vehicles.

The fix won’t immediately solve the theft problem for Hyundai and Kia customers as it’s slowly rolling out in phases over the next several months, but if you happen to own an affected vehicle, it might help you have some peace of mind that the automakers are working on addressing the problem.

Spike In Car Thefts Continues

Despite the scramble to contain the problem, the spike in car thefts has continued around the country. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, at least 14 crashes and eight deaths have been in relation to Hyundai and Kia car thefts. The cities of Los Angeles, Chicago, and Seattle have reported soaring car thefts of Kia and Hyundai models.

However, over eight million cars should benefit from the new software patch released for 2015 through 2020 Hyundai and Kia models. If you own a Kia or Hyundai model with a turn-key ignition, you should get in touch with your Kia dealer or Hyundai dealer to find out if the software patch applies to your model. If not, then it’s important to get a steering wheel lock.

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