This new software upgrade should stop Kia and Hyundai vehicle thefts

Much-needed relief is on the way for thousands of Kia and Hyundai vehicle owners. What started out as a social media challenge, left many car owners with stolen vehicles. Now there is a simple, free fix that should keep thieves away.

TikTok videos showed tutorials on how to steal certain model Hyundai’s and Kia’s made between 2015 and 2019. Criminals were able to do so because these vehicles lacked an engine immobilizer. That is the electronic security feature that stops thieves from breaking in and bypassing the ignition.

"You could just break a window, get inside the car, put the key in or break the ignition and turn it," Shop Foreman Reinaldo Davila of City Kia said.

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This year, Kia and Hyundai developed a theft-deterrent software for vehicles that were not equipped with the immobilizer. 

Davila took FOX 35 inside the shop to give us a closer look at the new software updates for affected vehicles that will stop the thefts from happening. "So now, even if they break the window, they’ll break the window, let’s say I’m going to put in the key. But as soon as I put in the key, alarm goes off. There’s no way to start the car unless you unlock the car," he said. 

Owners of these vehicles FOX 35 spoke with in Central Florida said the new updates are bringing much-needed relief. 

"If somebody steal my car I’m going to be mad! So the more updates they can come out with to protect us, I’m really excited about it," Ednichelle Scott of Orange County said.