Hyundai And Kia Reveal Solution For TikTok Theft Problem

Industry News / 8 Comments

Want to keep an influencer from stealing your Kia/Hyundai? Here's how you do it.

Hyundai and Kia owners are facing an astonishingly ridiculous problem. Even though its cars meet Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, they are stupidly easy to break into. You can teach a five-year-old to break into one of these Korean cars using nothing more than a USB and a screwdriver.

To date, Kia and Hyundai haven't said much about the situation, despite threats of a lawsuit from the city of Milwaukee in late 2021. The two Korean manufacturers have broken their silence after Carscoops reached out for comment following a recent spate of thefts.

The two companies are working with law enforcement to stop the spread of thefts. The LAPD encouraged owners to use a steering wheel lock, install a tracking device, or even fit a kill switch in late August. Kia and Hyundai provided steering locks to customers free of charge.


"Hyundai Motor America is concerned about the recent rise in auto thefts of certain Hyundai model vehicles," a spokesperson said. "While all of our vehicles meet or exceed Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards, unfortunately, our vehicles have been targeted in a coordinated effort on social media. Criminals are targeting our vehicles without engine immobilizers. Immobilizers became standard on all vehicles produced after November 1, 2021."

The engine immobilizer is the key to this problem. Certain models made from 2010 to 2021 were not equipped with an engine immobilizer, and the exterior locks are not hard to bypass. This problem does not apply to cars fitted with a push-button start system.

Thanks to an online trend, this information spread like wildfire and went well beyond good-natured pranks, like moving a teacher's Kia Sportage three parking spaces to the left.


The common practice these days is to steal the car for a few days, drain the tank, and then vandalize it when you're done. If you're wondering, this craze started on TikTok and spread like wildfire. TikTok has since removed all posts by the so-called Kia Boyz and all related content, but the damage has been done.

The information is out there, and all kinds of criminals can now easily get into Kias and Hyundais. You can no longer leave valuable items in the trunk, and you might wake up one day and find out that somebody erected a meth lab in the back of your Kia Soul.

"In order to assist customers with earlier model year vehicles without an immobilizer, Hyundai has been working with and will continue to support local police departments to make steering wheel locks available for affected Hyundai owners," said the spokesperson.


The above is a short-term solution, however. A steering lock may dissuade a thief from taking the car, but not what's inside. That's why Hyundai worked on a more comprehensive solution to keep thieves from gaining access in the first place. "Hyundai has identified a Firstech/Compustar security kit that targets the method of entry thieves are using to access these vehicles," the spokesperson said.

"Beginning October 1, 2022, this security kit will be available for purchase and installation at Hyundai dealerships and Compustar authorized installers across the country," the spokesperson said.

From the statement, it's apparent that Hyundai/Kia wants affected car customers to purchase the kit, but the price has not been revealed. We browsed the catalogs and found systems that match the description retailing from $70 to $120.

Hopefully, Kia/Hyundai is planning on buying bulk and will offer these products at cost price to its customers.

Source Credits: Carscoops

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