Remember the “Kia Boys” challenge that started on social media during the lockdown and has unfortunately continued to this day? No?
Here’s a quick refresher – the “Kia Boys” started as a “hack” that was making the rounds on TikTok. It showed how to tear apart the steering wheel column on certain Hyundai and Kia models manufactured between 2011 and 2021 and how to jump-start the car with a USB-A plugin.
Bored teens would go joyriding in said cars to bolster their social media cred. This social media challenge originated in Milwaukee before spreading to other cities, many of which have filed lawsuits against the Korean automaker, which has unsurprisingly encouraged these lawsuits to be struck down.
Last month, Hyundai attempted to deter some of these thefts by providing customers with free steering wheel locks; however, those steering wheel locks turned out to be more of an unintentional joke than an actual theft deterrent.
They could easily be picked. However, Hyundai now appears to be offering a solution that might actually be a solution.
What Is Hyundai’s Newest Solution for “Kia Boys” Thefts?
Hyundai is offering a free immobilizer kit. What’s an immobilizer kit?
An immobilizer keeps the vehicle from starting by not allowing the starter, fuel pump, or engine ignition to get going unless a unique key is present. By law, auto manufacturers aren’t required to install immobilizers in vehicles in the U.S., hence why this isn’t an issue overseas.
Hyundai is offering a free software fix and a kit with a push-button starter, though the latter costs around $170 and isn’t actually necessary.
Either option can be procured at a Hyundai dealership or one of the mobile pop-up service events the company has going. However, the mobile pop-up service events are limited to just two locations right now, in St. Louis County, Missouri, and Washington D.C. Though Hyundai is reportedly looking to expand these pop-ups to more sites across the U.S.
The Korean automaker recommends checking out their anti-theft website to see when the mobile pop-up service events are coming to a city near you and to check your vehicle’s VIN number to see if it is potentially vulnerable to a “Kia Boys” theft.
Once someone with a vulnerable vehicle goes to their dealership or one of these mobile pop-up events, Hyundai’s fix is surprisingly simple. It’s just a software update that allows your keyfob to immobilize the vehicle via the lock button. When the lock button is pressed, the immobilizer shuts off the starter, fuel pump, and engine ignition, and those can only be reactivated when the lock button is pressed again.
Upon installation, Hyundai dealers will provide customers with a decal to show that their vehicle has been programmed with immobilizer software. It’s a solution so simple – you have to wonder why the Korean automaker didn’t have it installed in the first place.