Some Area Kia, Hyundai Owners May Face Theft Threat

HARRISBURG PA – Owners of some Kia and Hyundai vehicles in western Montgomery, eastern Berks, and northern Chester counties face a new threat, the state Attorney General’s office warned Thursday (March 16, 2023). It’s currently possible to steal certain models without a key, the office reported.

“Numerous thefts” across Pennsylvania have already occurred, Attorney General Michelle Henry said, as the result of a challenge that encourages users of the social media platform Tik-Tok “to steal a Kia or Hyundai … using household items.”

At greatest risk are vehicles missing a software upgrade that prevents keyless starts. Affected vehicles include 2017-2020 Hyundai Elantras, 2015-2019 Hyundai Sonatas, and 2020-2021 Hyundai Venues, the AG’s office reported. It did not mention which specific Kia models were affected.

Hyundai and Kia are already “pushing out software updates that resolve this issue,” according to Henry. Many affected vehicles should have the update by June, she added. However, owners may need to bring their vehicles to a car dealership for its installation.

Until then, Henry said, Hyundai and Kia are providing free steering wheel locks to owners of affected vehicles, under a partnership with local law enforcement agencies. The attorney general recommended affected owners call local police departments to determine if they are eligible for a free lock.

Vehicle owners can contact Hyundai at 800-633-5151 and Kia at 800-333-4542 for more information on the software update.

Photo by Adeel Shabir on Unsplash, used under license