Social media challenges, which have steadily increased since 2020, range from silly and benign to downright dangerous and harmful. One of the latest harmful challenges to hit social media this summer is the “Kia Challenge”—and it continues to gain momentum across the country.
The Kia Challenge is a TikTok trend that encourages social media users to steal Kias manufactured between 2011-2021 and Hyundais made between 2015 and 2021. These models are being targeted because they don’t come with an engine immobilizer, which is a piece of hardware that prevents the engine from starting if the matching chip in the key fob isn’t recognized. Fortunately, all Hyundai and Kia vehicles manufactured after November 1, 2021, come with an anti-theft immobilizer.
Many times, these thefts (which are mostly perpetrated by teenagers) can be done in a matter of minutes using only a screwdriver and a USB charging cable. Instructions on how to hack these models have spread so widely on the internet that Hyundai has started selling an aftermarket security kit at its dealerships. Both Kia and Hyundai have theft-prevention software updates in the works, which are expected to be available next year.
How to Protect Your Vehicle
Until the software update is available, there are a few things you can do to protect your Kia or Hyundai from theft. Installing an antitheft device, like an alarm system, can make it harder to steal your car and potentially decrease your insurance premiums. Alarm systems automatically turn on when you shut off your engine; the loud noise and lights may be enough to deter a would-be thief who’s expecting to make a quick and stealthy getaway. Some alarm systems also come with engine immobilizers. Another option is to use a steering wheel lock.
Other safety measures you can take to prevent becoming a victim of the Kia Challenge include:
- Park in well-lit areas
- Park in secure structures whenever possible, such as a garage or parking structure
- Make sure to lock the doors and close all windows
- Take your keys with you and don’t leave a spare set in or on the car
- Don’t leave valuables or other things that might attract thieves to your car
Having a GPS tracking device or vehicle recovery system in your car can also help the police locate it if it gets stolen. Unlike other types of auto theft, Kia Challenge thieves tend to use the cars for joyrides, so there’s a higher chance of recovering the stolen vehicles—although they’ve often sustained some damage.
Unfortunately, no vehicle is completely theft-proof, but taking precautions to protect your Kia or Hyundai is a good idea. There’s been a rise in vehicle break-ins in our area, and we receive several calls about it daily. Since the Kia Challenge has become so popular, the stolen parts have become very scarce, and in most cases, replacements aren’t available. If your Kia or Hyundai has been broken into, or worse, stolen and damaged, Lucky Dog Auto Glass is here to help! Contact us at (253) 569-9403 for a free estimate or schedule an appointment online.