Kia and Hyundai are rolling out a free software program replace for automobiles that could be targets of the “Kia problem” — a viral TikTok problem that has impressed automobile thefts nationwide. The software program replace might be free for tens of millions of Kia and Hyundai homeowners, the US Nationwide Freeway Visitors Security Administration (NHTSA) mentioned Tuesday.
The problem went viral in 2021, in keeping with CNBC, encouraging younger folks to steal sure makes and fashions of 2010-2021 Kia and Hyundai automobiles. The focused vehicles lack an immobilizer — an digital safety system that stops somebody from beginning a automobile engine with out the correct key. Movies on TikTok and different social media channels show how one can successfully hotwire considered one of these vehicles with a USB twine.
In Los Angeles, the viral problem led to an 85% year-over-year enhance in Hyundai and Kia thefts in 2022, CNBC reported. Thefts of Kias and Hyundais skyrocketed in different elements of the nation as nicely, whereas the thieves posted movies of themselves stealing the vehicles. Tags like “Kia boys” raked in tens of tens of millions of views on TikTok, although the social media firm mentioned it might take away any such content material that it discovered.
The problem has resulted in no less than 14 reported crashes and eight fatalities, in keeping with the NHTSA.
With the software program replace, you will should put the right key within the ignition to activate the car, the NHTSA mentioned. The replace may also lengthen the size of the alarm sound from 30 seconds to at least one minute.
The NHTSA mentioned homeowners of those automobiles ought to contact Hyundai (toll-free at 800-633-5151) or Kia (toll-free at 800-333-4542) for data on the replace.
Hyundai mentioned in a launch that the free software program improve might be obtainable to almost 4 million automobiles, beginning with greater than 1 million mannequin yr 2017-2020 Elantra, 2015-2019 Sonata and 2020-2021 Venue automobiles. The remaining eligible vehicles ought to be capable of get the improve by this June.
Automobile homeowners should take their car to a Hyundai dealership to get the improve. The set up ought to take lower than an hour. The Hyundai set up additionally comes with a window decal alerting would-be thieves that the automobile is supplied with new anti-theft expertise.
At www.hyundaiantitheft.com, Hyundai clients can enter their car’s Automobile Identification Quantity (VIN) to search out out when it’s eligible for the software program improve.