Kia, Hyundai Offer Owners Security Kits, Locks After Targeted Car Thefts (2023)

Kia, Hyundai Offer Owners Security Kits, Locks After Targeted Car Thefts (1)

It’s a tough time to be a Kia or Hyundai owner.

Cars from 2021 and earlier are being targeted, especially in the Midwest in cities like Milwaukee and St. Louis, because of a missing steering wheel component that makes it easy to drive off with a simple hack. The keyless hack is spreading widely on social media to the point that Hyundai is selling an aftermarket security kit and both companies are developing a theft-prevention software update for next year.

These older, lower-cost models like the Kia Rio and Sportage and the Hyundai Accent have a traditional turn-key ignition but no engine immobilizer, which requires a matching chip in a key fob to start the engine. The thieves can quickly hotwire the system with something as simple as a USB cable once the ignition cover is pried off. The carjackings are part of a TikTok trend called the “Kia Challenge.”

Hyundai Motor America responded in a statement, noting, “Unfortunately, our vehicles have been targeted in a coordinated effort on social media.” Kia acknowledged that “no car can be made completely theft-proof,” but the company is concerned about rising thefts in certain areas. Local media reports show that 66% of all cars stolen in Milwaukee in 2021 were Kias or Hyundais.

Ramping Up Security

All Hyundai and Kia vehicles after Nov. 1, 2021 come standard with the anti-theft immobilizer, so many 2022 models and all 2023 units are safe from the brazen thefts. But in 2021 alone Hyundai sold 738,081 vehicles with the Tucson, Santa Fe and Elantra as top-sellers.

For many owners (mostly affected are Kia vehicles from 2011 to 2021 that use a key to start the car and Hyundais from 2016 to 2021: Accent, Elantra, Elantra GT, Sonata, Veloster, Venue, Kona, Tucson, Santa Fe, Santa Fe Sport, Santa Fe XL and Palisade) it’s gotten so bad that Hyundai and Kia have stepped in with a solution.

Starting Saturday Hyundai started offering a Compustar Firstech glass-break sensor security kit at dealerships and Compustar locations, but customers will have to pay $170 for the kit and additional installation fees.

What To Do…For Now

Meanwhile, steering wheel locks can prevent the Tik Tok-fueled thefts. Hyundai and Kia have distributed locks to police departments to offer a free deterrent to Hyundai and Kia owners. Hyundai’s newly available sensor kit is supposed to target how the thieves are gaining access to the cars.

Both Kia and Hyundai said in an updated email statement this week that the companies are looking into updated software to prevent thefts for targeted vehicles. Hyundai estimated the update would be available in certain models in the first half of next year, with others following later in 2023.

Kia, Hyundai Offer Owners Security Kits, Locks After Targeted Car Thefts (4)

The Power of TikTok

The USB carjackings spread over TikTok and other social media channels with a group dubbed the “Kia Boys” claiming responsibility for the spate of thefts in many cities, which has grown well beyond the Midwest. One YouTuber interviewed members of the theft ring, many who are teenagers.

Lawsuits have started piling up for Kia and Hyundai because of the thefts. One class-action lawsuit is looking for vehicle owners to go after the carmakers for “manufacturing vehicles without a ‘car immobilizer system’” and “failing to thoroughly disclose the related safety concerns.” Automotive News tallied 15 suits filed by car owners across 14 states as of late September.


What is Kia doing to prevent thefts? ›

ST. LOUIS – As the number of stolen Kia and Hyundai vehicles has increased, new technology is trying to deter thieves before they steal your vehicle. With just a press of a button, a new device called the “Bluetooth Interrupter” stops thieves in their tracks.

What is Hyundai doing about the car thefts? ›

“In response to increasing thefts targeting our vehicles without push-button ignitions and immobilizing anti-theft devices in the United States, Hyundai Motor America has made engine immobilizers standard on all vehicles produced as of November 2021.

Does a Kia have a anti-theft device? ›

All Hyundai and Kia vehicles after Nov. 1, 2021 come standard with the anti-theft immobilizer, so many 2022 models and all 2023 units are safe from the brazen thefts.

How can I protect my Hyundai from being stolen? ›

If you have a 2016-2021 Hyundai or 2011-2021 Kia model that is started by a key, consider taking the following preventive measures: Purchase a steering wheel lock. These are relatively inexpensive and are an excellent visual deterrent to thieves. Purchase a security kit recently released by Hyundai.

Is there a class action suit against Kia and Hyundai? ›

At A Glance

This Alert Affects: Anyone who purchased or leased a 2011-2021 Kia or Hyundai. What's Going On? A lawsuit has been filed alleging that a defect in Kia and Hyundai vehicles makes them easy to operate without a key.

How much are people getting from the Hyundai settlement? ›

for model year 2011 and 2012 Class Vehicles – $2,000; for model year 2013 and 2014 Class Vehicles – $1,500; for model year 2015 and 2016 Class Vehicles – $1,000; for model year 2017, 2018, and 2019 Class Vehicles – $500.

How do I join a class action lawsuit against Kia? ›

To file a new claim online, please visit Kia's website at You will be asked to provide contact information, information about your Class Vehicle including the VIN and mileage.

Can Hyundai track my stolen car? ›

With Blue Link®, you can locate your stolen car even sooner. Blue Link® has the ability to provide local law enforcement with your car's exact location and can even immobilize the engine until it's been recovered.

What is the number 1 most stolen car? ›

Topping the list of the most stolen cars in America in 2020 is the 2006 Ford F-150. This is the second year the pickup has topped the listing, with over 44,014 units stolen in 2020, 13% higher than in 2019. Pickup trucks are clearly a favorite amongst thieves, especially given their power, reliability and versatility.

Does Kia have tracking device? ›

If your Kia has been stolen, you can use the UVO app to remotely immobilize your stolen vehicle and track its location. Using the app you can set time, area, idle time, valet alert parameters, and speed limits for your Kia.

How do I know if my Hyundai has an immobilizer? ›

If the head of your key is contained in a plastic housing, or you have a fob with buttons to remotely lock and unlock the doors, your car has an immobilizer.

Does Kia have a key tracker? ›

For example, if you can't find your vehicle in a parking lot, the UVO link connected to the Kia Smart Key System will locate the vehicle quickly for you.

Does Hyundai have trackers on cars? ›

The Car Finder feature is accessed through the MyHyundai with Bluelink Mobile App. This feature allows you to locate your vehicle on a map if your GPS signal is within a 1-mile radius of your vehicle, and gives you the ability to save your vehicle's location for future reference.

How do I know if my Kia has an immobilizer? ›

You can read your car's handbook to see if it has a factory-installed immobilizer. This book should have all of the information on your vehicle, including whether or not it is equipped with an immobilizer.

Which Kia models have immobilizer? ›

Engine immobilizers are now standard on all Kia vehicles, according to a statement by the automaker and the company says it has been developing and testing security software for vehicles not originally equipped with an immobilize.

Is there a downside to joining class action lawsuit? ›

One of the dangers of joining a class action lawsuit is that you lose the right to file an individual lawsuit if the class action case fails. In addition, you cannot reject a settlement offer to which the class representatives have agreed.

What cars are affected by the Kia challenge? ›

You Own a Kia or a Hyundai

Thefts of Kia's and Hyundai's have skyrocketed because of the Kia challenge. If you own a Kia manufactured between 2011 and 2021 or Hyundai's manufactured between 2015 and 2021, you may see an increase in your rates.

Is it hard to win a class action lawsuit? ›

It is extremely rare for class actions to actually proceed to trial – the vast majority are settled, while the rest may remain pending or tangled up in litigation for years. To win a class action lawsuit, therefore, you need to hire the best attorney and put pressure on the company to settle as quickly as possible.

How much will I get from Kia settlement? ›

Kia dealerships will provide a free loaner vehicle of comparable value if requested, until repairs are completed. If no loaner vehicle is available, Kia will provide full reimbursement of reasonable rental car expenses up to $40 per day.

Should I join a class action settlement? ›

Joining a class action can be good if you don't have time to fight a case, but You can count on a significantly reduced settlement after a much longer period of time. We're sure you've heard people talking about how much a class action lawsuit is needed for a particular legal problem.

Is Kia engine settlement real? ›

Hyundai and Kia have settled a class action lawsuit involving defects that caused, or could cause, engine failures and fires in several model year Santa Fe, Soul, Sportage, Sonata Hybrid, Sorento, Optima, Tucson, Elantra, Veloster, and Forte models.

How long does it take to get money from a class action settlement? ›

The average time it takes to process a settlement check is between one and six weeks. However, it can take several months for you to receive just compensation. If you hire one of the experienced attorneys from Morgan & Morgan, you should not have to wait six weeks to receive your settlement check.

Should I opt out of a class action lawsuit? ›

There are a number of reasons why you may choose not to participate in a class action: If your losses were significantly more than other members of the class. If the facts of your case were different and you are concerned that the class action might not address all your interests.

Do you get less money in a class action lawsuit? ›

Class action lawsuit settlements are not divided evenly. Some plaintiffs will be awarded a larger percent while others receive smaller settlements. There are legitimate reasons for class members receiving smaller payouts.

Why are so many Hyundais getting stolen? ›

Kia vehicles from model year 2011 to 2021 and Hyundai vehicles from model year 2016 to 2021 are especially vulnerable due to the absence of anti-theft devices that have long been standard for other automakers.

How do you check if your car is being tracked? ›

Use a GPS bug detector to scan the inside and outside of your car. They can detect hidden cameras, audio devices, or GPS transmitters–but only if the bug or tracking device is currently transmitting. To use a bug detector, move the instrument slowly around your car.

Do car dealerships use tracking devices? ›

As a matter of fact, independent statistics indicate that about 70% of car dealerships in the United States already have their vehicles installed with GPS trackers.

Which Kia models are being stolen? ›

The method works on 2011-2021 Kias and 2016-2021 Hyundais that use a steel key, not a fob and push-button start. They are targeting cars that lack engine immobilizers — devices that don't allow the car to start without the correct smart key present, per the automakers.

Which Hyundai models are being stolen? ›

Affected Hyundai models include certain 2016-21 examples of the Accent, Elantra, Elantra GT, Kona, Palisade, Santa Fe, Sante Fe Sport, Santa Fe XL, Sonata, Tucson, Veloster and Venue. All affected vehicles both use a steel key and lack an engine immobilizer.

What is the hardest vehicle to steal? ›

Tesla Model S and Model X

The Model S remains not only one of the best electric vehicles on the market but also one of the safest in 2022. A Tesla Model S's owner can track the car's location using a smartphone, perhaps the biggest deterrent to theft.

What is the Kia owners portal? ›

Once signed up, you can see maintenance milestones, book appointments at your preferred dealer, make car payments (if financed by Kia Finance), access vehicle remote connectivity features (if equipped and eligible), digital owner's manuals and more from your connected devices to get info quickly and on demand.

Which Hyundai models do not have an immobilizer? ›

We're talking about certain 2016-2021 Accent, Elantra, Elantra GT, Sonata, Veloster, Venue, Kona, Tucson, Santa Fe, Santa Fe Sport, Santa Fe XL and Palisade models with a physical ignition key and no engine immobilizer. Those with push-button start are not affected.

Can I sue Hyundai for my car being stolen? ›

The truth is that you can file a lawsuit for just about any theft.

Are push-button start Hyundais easy to steal? ›

Huge Spikes in Car Thefts

All 2011 to 2021 Kia vehicles and 2015 to 2021 Hyundai vehicles (like the 2016 Accent pictured at top) equipped with standard key ignitions that lack an engine immobilizer are vulnerable to theft. Vehicles with a push-button start are not affected.

Can a car with a smart key be stolen? ›

Any vehicle that has both keyless theft and keyless entry is more vulnerable to theft than a vehicle without either. A large number of new cars have keyless entry either as standard or as an optional extra, and there are thousands of used vehicles already on the road with this technology.

What is Kia stolen vehicle recovery? ›

Stolen Vehicle Recovery (SVR) is a Connectivity-based service available for eligible owners through the Kia Connect Ultimate package. Eligible customers can avail this feature by reaching out to the Kia Connect call center and requesting assistance with a stolen vehicle.

How much does Kia charge for key fob? ›

Dealer Price $289.97 Your Price $198.00.

How do I turn off Hyundai location? ›

Press [Blue Link] > [Location Sharing] > [Menu] > [Delete] on the home screen.

Does 2022 Kia have immobilizer? ›

“All 2022 models and trims have an immobilizer applied either at the beginning of the year or as a running change, and all Kia vehicles meet or exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

How do I turn off my Kia immobilizer? ›

To deactivate the immobilizer system

Change the ENGINE START/STOP button to the ON position.

Why are thieves targeting Kia cars? ›

The "Kia Boyz" challenge, as its called, has thieves targeting certain models of 2010-2021 vehicles by makers Kia and Hyundai that use a mechanical key for access instead of a key fob or push-to-start access. The thieves are reportedly taking advantage of a design flaw in those vehicles.

Why are Kia cars being stolen so much? ›

Kia vehicles from model year 2011 to 2021 and Hyundai vehicles from model year 2016 to 2021 are especially vulnerable due to the absence of anti-theft devices that have long been standard for other automakers.

How are thieves stealing Kias and Hyundais? ›

And the automakers say they're not to blame for any of it. Thieves have learned how to steal the cars using USB cords in ignitions built without immobilizers, which prevent engines from starting without computer chips in keys. In St. Louis County alone, almost 1,000 Kias and Hyundais have been stolen so far this year.


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