High theft risk amongst some KIA, Hyundai vehicles; changes coming this year

Published: Jan. 30, 2023 at 10:33 PM PST
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LAS VEGAS, Nev. (FOX5) - Some KIA and Hyundai models from 2011 up until 2021 are missing a key anti-theft feature that prevents thieves from breaking in and bypassing the car’s ignition.

The key used to start the ignition on some KIA’s and Hyundai is now making them a target for thieves.

“We have had a couple of customers come in here and complain about the vehicle being stolen,” said Midas Auto Shop worker Steven Dudley.

Steven Dudley with Midas in Henderson said it all comes down to one key part these cars are missing.

“Vehicles that are older, don’t have immobilizers,” said Dudley.

Without the immobilizer, thieves can take control of the car and with one simple tool.

“The USB chord is bypassing it,” said Dudley. “They are able to start them, trick the vehicle into realizing there is a key in there and then it is just gone.”

A representative from Towbin Auto Group where KIA’s are sold in Las Vegas said solutions are coming.

“A software update will go in model by model this year and certain owners are being contacted now for dealer appointments,” said the representative who did not want to be identified. “The update will essentially make the vehicle inoperable if there is an attempt to start without the official steel key.”

Dudley said in the meantime, to always keep your car in a secure spot.

“Probably talk to your neighbors and friends,” said Dudley. “Find out people who have different work schedules. have them keep and eye on your car and you keep and eye on theirs.”

The representative from Towbin Auto Group also said all KIA cars that are sold at that dealership have GPS systems and are also installing complementary alarm systems for people buying pre-owned KIAs.