In order to avert a problem with their security system, automakers Hyundai and Kia provided a software update for their consumers.
The update was in response to a popular TikTok social media challenge that caused numerous accidents and thefts.
Around 3.8 million Hyundai automobiles and 4.5 million Kia vehicles, according to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United States, would be eligible for a new security upgrade.
Both automakers created theft prevention software for vehicles without an immobilizer system, according to a statement they both made.
The software changes the theft alarm software logic to increase the length of the alarm sound from 30 seconds to one minute, according to NHTSA and makes it necessary to insert the key into the ignition switch in order to turn the car on. An anti-theft sticker, a longer alarm, and the requirement for a real key when starting the car are all part of the upgrade.
Additionally, this will change certain control modules on vehicles that have been patched and have conventional turn-key-to-start ignition systems. When doors are locked using the key fob, the factory alarm is configured to activate an ignition kill feature that stops the car from starting when the vehicle is in theft mode.
Models including the 2017–2020 Elantra, 2015–2019 Sonata, and 2020–2021 Venue were impacted by these issues. Hyundai then issued a statement stating that beginning on February 14th, owners of the aforementioned vehicles can visit a nearby dealership to have the anti-theft upgrade installed. Some models, particularly those without engine immobilizers, won’t be compatible with the upgrade being offered.
While waiting for its vehicles to start receiving updates later this month, Kia is gradually releasing its free software updates. After several months of subsequent phases, the car will be able to receive the complete update by June.
According to the reports, both businesses have been collaborating with American law enforcement since November 2022 to supply more than 26,000 steering wheel locks to 77 law enforcement organizations in 12 states. Vehicle owners were urged by NHTSA to get in touch with their local police enforcement to inquire about the availability of wheel locks.
Also read: Apple Digital Car Key Now Compatible with Hyundai, Genesis
After a TikTok challenge went viral and caused fourteen reported wrecks, eight fatalities, and a spike in car thefts countrywide, Hyundai and Kia decided to take action. Teenagers were urged by the “Kia Challenge” to use USB cords to hot wire cars without engine immobilizers on social media.
According to a report, car owners started suing the automakers for their failure to respond to this issue. According to the reports, certain Kia and Hyundai cars were vulnerable to auto theft. The reported accidents should prompt NHTSA to focus on public safety.