The TikTok trend that saw the rise of the infamous “Kia Boys” is still making headlines, as insurance companies refuse to cover stolen Hyundai and Kia models. Why? Because of the trending of a viral TikTok challenge that hundreds are following. The issue started months ago when individuals on TikTok shared videos of themselves stealing select models from the two Korean car manufacturers. The cars stolen were the ones that lacked push-button ignition, making it possible to start the vehicle with just a screwdriver and USB cable. This is a serious situation and, if you have one of these vehicles, you gotta read this and be prepared just in case.
Although Hyundai and Kia provided software fixes, which have made it difficult for thieves to steal their cars, attorneys general from 17 states believe that the Korean brands have not done enough to prevent further thefts. Many Hyundai and Kia models between 2011-2022 were sold without engine immobilizers, which made them easier to steal. Engine immobilizers are meant to be a standard safety feature and use a chip in the car’s steering column and a separate chip in the key. This communicates with each other when the key is turned, allowing the car to start. The models sold without immobilizers were incredibly easy to steal, to the point where some insurance companies refused to take new policies on such cars. Well, this is all a result of that viral TikTok challenge.
This TikTok Cars Theft Viral Challenge That Is Costing Millions to America –
While social media, like TikTok or Instagram, has been blamed for many issues in society, the rise of the “Kia Boys” challenge on TikTok highlights the need for car manufacturers to prioritize safety features. The fact that teenagers were able to identify security loopholes in cars sold by two of the world’s largest car manufacturers is concerning. Although Hyundai and Kia assure they’re taking bold steps to stop the spread of this viral challenge, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has stated that they cannot implement a federal recall in this situation, as thefts are criminal offenses, which are under the jurisdiction of local police.
To prevent further thefts, Hyundai issued a free software fix that prevents the engine from starting once the car is locked with the key fob. Once unlocked by the fob, the engine can be started again. In addition, Kia models that cannot receive this software retrofitted will be provided with a free steering wheel lock. Despite the software fixes, California Attorney General Rob Bonta believes that Hyundai and Kia have not done enough and has written a letter demanding a recall of affected cars.
Are Kia and Hyundai Cars Being Recalled?
The lack of a federal recall for the affected Hyundai and Kia models means that the software fixes are not monitored in the same way as recalls, making it difficult to determine how many cars are still at risk of theft. Michael Brooks, Executive Director of the Center for Auto Safety, stated that “Hyundai and Kia will not be obliged to notify their owners in the same way they would if it was a recall.” Insurance companies have refused to cover the stolen vehicles, leading to the conclusion that the cars stolen by the Kia Boys are now uninsurable.
So far, there are not any news about Kia and Hyundai cars being recalled for this viral theft challenge, but you have got to stay beware of the resolution of the Justices in the states where this is being discussed. Experts say this viral TikTok challenge could cost up to $600 millions to the insurance companies and the cars’ owners.
What Models of Hyundai and Kia Cars Are Affected?
According to autoweek.com, the Kia Challenge social media trend has led to an increase in car thefts on certain models of Hyundai and Kia vehicles. Hyundai and Kia have issued an update to help protect affected key-to-start vehicles from 2011 to 2022 model years. This update includes a software solution to help stop thieves from taking these cars. The software upgrade will be available first for 2017-2020 Elantra, 2015-2019 Sonata, and 2020-2021 Venue vehicles. The Hyundai brand says 4 million of its vehicles are affected, from 2011 Elantras, Tucsons, and Sonatas to 2022 Accents, Konas, and Santa Fes. Nearly the entire Hyundai lineup is impacted.
The Kia Challenge is a TikTok trend linked to a series of motor vehicle thefts in 2022 targeting Kia and Hyundai vehicles in the United States and Australia. The thefts, mainly perpetrated by teenagers, have resulted in four deaths in the United States and a large increase in thefts of the affected car models. TikTok has committed to removing pertinent videos uploaded by Kia Challenge thieves from the platform.
Free Airtags and Steering Wheel Locks: The “Solution” to Stop Car Thefts
The Atlantic City Police Department is taking action to combat the increasing trend of car thefts involving Hyundai and Kia vehicles. This week, they will be distributing free steering wheel locks to owners of these vehicles to deter thieves. This is a necessary step as these vehicles continue to be the most popular cars and SUVs for car thieves, especially among younger individuals.
Residents who own a Hyundai or Kia can get their free steering wheel lock by bringing their vehicle or a copy of their registration and driver’s license to the Clayton G. Graham Public Safety Building by May 5th. The police have 400 steering wheel locks available for distribution, which will fly away because owners of these brands are super paranoid, and the reasons are valid.
Now, this is wack: to help combat this issue, the New York Police Department is handing out 500 free AirTags to neighbors. These AirTags can be hidden in the car and used to easily locate the car in the event of theft. The police cannot access the location data of the AirTag unless it is reported stolen and the owner shares their data with them.