Kia Challenge Viral Youtube Videos Inspire Surge In Car Thefts Of Kias, Hyundais, Which Are Easy To Hotwire, Steal, Without Steering Wheel Locking By Software – Upgrades Available To All Owners

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Hyundai and Kia Launch Service Campaign to Prevent Theft of Millions of Vehicles Targeted by Social Media Challenge

Approximately 3.8 million Hyundais and 4.5 million Kias involved

Hyundai and Kia have developed theft deterrent software for millions of their vehicles that lack an immobilizer and will provide it FREE of charge to vehicle owners. The software updates the theft alarm software logic to extend the length of the alarm sound from 30 seconds to one minute and requires the key to be in the ignition switch to turn the vehicle on.

The effort is in response to a TikTok social media challenge that has spread nationwide and has resulted in at least 14 reported crashes and eight fatalities. NHTSA urges owners of these vehicles to contact Hyundai (toll-free at 800-633-5151) or Kia (toll-free at 800-333-4542) for information on the FREE update.

Hyundai will also provide its customers with a window sticker alerting would-be thieves that the vehicle is equipped with anti-theft protection. Hyundai will send the stickers and roll out software updates in a phased approach beginning later this month, with subsequent phases over the next several months.


Kia is also rolling out its FREE software updates in a phased approach. The company will begin to update vehicles later this month, with ensuing phases throughout the next several months.

Concurrently, the companies have been working with law enforcement agencies to provide more than 26,000 steering wheel locks since November 2022 to 77 law enforcement agencies in 12 states. NHTSA encourages interested vehicle owners to contact local law enforcement to see if a wheel lock is available.

Note to residents of Linden, New Jersey: 

The event giving away steering wheel locks to Linden residents has passed, but they still have some left. Interested residents should contact the Linden Police Dept. Please fill out the form located here and they will contact you to arrange pickup: https://forms.gle/J5sdT7apNcjqmzio8.


Info for Staten Islanders looking for ways to protect their vehicles will be published tomorrow.

Banner Image: Kia Steering Wheel. Image Credit – 𝔑𝔦𝔩𝔰 𝔅𝔬𝔤𝔡𝔞𝔫𝔬𝔳𝔰


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National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is responsible for keeping people safe on America’s roadways. Through enforcing vehicle performance standards and partnerships with state and local governments, NHTSA reduces deaths, injuries and economic losses from motor vehicle crashes.

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