N.Y. (WETM) — New York Attorney General Letitia James issued a consumer alert about recent car thefts targeting vehicles made by Kia and Hyundai.
According to James’s office, nearly 75% of cars stolen from Rochester this year were made by Kia or Hyundai. The large amount of thefts of these cars has been attributed to viral TikTok videos showing how to hotwire Kias and Hyundais using simple tools and challenging viewers to steal them.
Hyundais and Kias made between 2011 and 2022 are vulnerable to thefts due to safety flaws. These flaws include faulty ignition switches and a lack of engine immobilizers. James’s office says that Hyundai and Kia are in the process of rolling out software patches that would help with the cars’ vulnerabilities, but this is being done in phases and won’t be available to all vulnerable models.
James and 17 other attorney generals are calling for a nationwide recall of these vehicles and for Kia and Hyundai to speed up the software patching process. The attorney generals are also asking these companies to provide free anti-theft steering wheel devices to car owners whose cars aren’t eligible to be patched.
“When we learn about scams and design flaws that harm New York consumers and car owners, it is important that we slam the brakes on these problems,” said James. “Manufacturers have a responsibility to address safety flaws in their vehicles, which is why I am calling on Hyundai and Kia to immediately install anti-theft devices and other safety measures to better protect New York car owners and lessees. I urge all New Yorkers, especially those with impacted Hyundai and Kia vehicles, to remain vigilant and follow our important tips to help keep themselves safe.”
James released some tips for Kia and Hyundai owners and lessees to protect their vehicles from theft until the vulnerabilities are taken care of. People who own or lease Kias can check Kia’s website or call Kia directly at 1-800-333-4542 to check their car’s software upgrade eligibility or for a free steering wheel lock. Hyundai owners and lessees can do the same by visiting Hyundai’s website or calling 1-888-498-0390.
If you have a Hyundai or Kia made between 2011 and 2022 you can also contact your dealer to ask about software upgrades to repair the vulnerabilities. You should also check your mail regularly to see if there are any recalls or additional safety measures.
If your car has been stolen or you think someone attempted to steal your car, you should report this to your local police department.