Why are Kias Easy to Steal | Kia Anti-Theft Software Update

Kia TikTok Challenge Ignites String of Thefts

In July of 2022 a video was posted to TikTok that demonstrated how you could hot wire a Kia or Hyundai using a USB connector.  This impacts Hyundai and Kia model years sold prior to 2022. These vehicles lack an immobilizer system.  In most vehicles if the key is not present in the ignition the steering wheel will remain locked or the vehicle cannot be started.  Immobilization technology varies by vehicle manufacturer but the lack of this feature makes vehicles manufactured by Hyundai and Kia easy to steal.

What areas of the US are seeing the most Kia Thefts?

According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NIBC) thefts of Kias and Hyundais increased sharply in the later half of 2022.  Missouri was identified as one of the hottest areas for these thefts.  The number of Kias and Hyundais stolen soared from just 1,207 in 2019 to 6,120 in 2022.  Near 5,000 of those thefts occurred in the second half of 2022 after the release of the social media challenge.  The NIBC even recommended that YouTube and/or TikTok take down related 'How to' videos.

Chicago is another area showing a more recent spike in Kia thefts.  According to local law enforcement 613 Kias have been stolen in the first month and a half of 2023.

An announcement by the NHTSA or National Highway Transportation Safety Administration reported that there have been eight known fatalities from at least 14 reported crashes associated with thefts related to the social media challenge.  The stolen vehicles are taken for a joy ride or suspects are getting involved in a police chase.  Both have resulted in crashes with unfortunate harmful endings.

What is being done by manufacturer to protect Kia Owners?

Kia and Hyundai have worked quickly to update the anti-theft software in the effected vehicles.  They plan to provide the upgraded software free of charge to vehicle owners.  The upgraded theft deterrent software will require a key to be in the ignition switch to turn on the vehicle.  They have also updated the alarm software logic to extend the length of the alarm from 30 to 60 seconds.  Both Kia and Hyundai are rolling out the upgrades in a phased approach.  We recommend you call the toll free Kia number below to get all the details.  We expect future improvements to the software that would potentially require additional updating at your local dealership.  
In areas of the country with highest increases in theft, Kia and Hyundai have worked with local authorities to concurrently provide over 26,000 steering wheel locks since November of last year.  That effort extended to 12 states.

How do I get Anti-Theft Software Updates for my Kia?

You can call Kia toll free at (800) 333-4542 and they will provide information on the FREE anti-theft software update.  Kia has also kept their local Kia dealers informed of their anti-theft software developments so you can contact Premier Kia in Connecticut and they can assist you.  Kia and Hyundai are rolling out these updates in a phased approach.  Updates began in February of this year and will continue through the coming months.  You can also contact your local law enforcement and see if a steering wheel lock is available.

When can I get the Kia Anti-Theft Software update?

Efforts to upgrade software in effected Kia models began in February of 2023.  The best way to find out when you can get the anti-theft software upgrade for your Kia is to call the toll free number.  They will confirm if your model needs the upgrade and provide instructions and additional information regarding when and where you can go to get upgraded.

Anti-Theft Software Updates Make Florida News (Watch Video)

Hyundai, Kia launch Software Update

NBC 5 Chicago Reports on Kia Thefts and Crashes (Watch Video)

Hyundai and Kia Thefts Soar

Expert Vehicle Care

Schedule Service

Avoid Theft Purchase A New Kia with Anti-Theft Protection

Explore Your Options