<img src="https://data.adxcel-ec2.com/pixel/?ad_log=referer&amp;action=lead&amp;pixid=b719b86c-f9d4-4c28-a8a8-135a5ff2099d" width="1" height="1" border="0">
  • News
  • Hyundai
  • Kia
  • Hyundai, Kia Will Offer Free Anti-Theft Software Upgrade

    Hyundai, Kia Will Offer Free Anti-Theft Software Upgrade

    Good news for owners of certain older model Hyundai and Kia vehicles that have been the recent targets of theft on social media.  As we shared last week, some insurance companies have dropped coverage of some models following an uptick in thefts of certain Hyundai and Kia models with “turn-key-to-start” ignitions that don't have theft preventing immobilizers.  

    New Anti-Theft Software Upgrade

    Today, the National Highway Transportation Administration announced Hyundai and Kia will now offer new, free theft deterrent software for millions of their vehicles that lack an immobilizer.  Federal safety regulators say the service campaign involves approximately 3.8 million Hyundais and 4.5 million Kias.

    According to the NHTSA: "The effort is in response to a TikTok social media challenge that has spread nationwide and has resulted in at least 14 reported crashes and eight fatalities."

    The NHTSA says the software updates the theft alarm software logic to extend the length of the alarm sound from 30 seconds to one minute and requires the key to be in the ignition switch to turn the vehicle on.

    In its own press release, Hyundai says the software upgrade modifies certain vehicle control modules on Hyundai vehicles equipped with standard “turn-key-to-start” ignition systems. As a result, locking the doors with the key fob will set the factory alarm and activate an “ignition kill” feature so the vehicles cannot be started when subjected to the popularized theft mode. Customers must use the key fob to unlock their vehicles to deactivate the “ignition kill” feature.

    Hyundai - 4 Million Vehicles

    Hyundai says the update will be offered for a total of almost 4 million of its vehicles, some of them beginning today, February 14th.  The upgrade will be offered in two phases.  The first includes more than one 1 million model year 2017-2020 Elantra, 2015-2019 Sonata and 2020-2021 Venue vehicles.  The software upgrade is scheduled to be available for the remaining eligible affected vehicles by this June.

    “Hyundai is committed to ensuring the quality and integrity of our products through continuous improvement and is pleased to provide affected customers with an additional theft deterrent through this software upgrade,” said Randy Parker, CEO, Hyundai Motor America. “We have prioritized the upgrade’s availability for owners and lessees of our highest selling vehicles and those most targeted by thieves in order for dealers to service them first.”

    Hyundai says the software installation will take less than an hour and will be performed at Hyundai dealers.   

    Window decal stickers

    So how will would-be thieves know the vehicle is anti-theft ready? Hyundai says updated models will get a window decal stating the vehicle is equipped with enhanced anti-theft technology.

    Not all vehicles can accommodate upgrade

    Note: Hyundai says there are some model year vehicles from 2011-2022 with engine immobilizers that CAN NOT accommodate the upgrade. Hyundai says for those customer's it's finalizing a program to reimburse them for their purchase of steering wheel locks. 

    Owner Notification

    Customers will be notified about the anti-theft service campaign, by mail, email, and phone. Hyundai says they'll receive instructions to bring their vehicle to the nearest Hyundai dealers for the free update. For more info and to input your vehicle’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) to find out the date it's eligible for the upgrade, visit www.hyundaiantitheft.com

    Hyundai Service Campaign Rollout Schedule



    Software Availability


    • 2017-2020 Elantra
    • 2015-2019 Sonata
    • 2020-2021 Venue

    February 14, 2023


    • 2018-2022 Accent
    • 2011-2016 Elantra
    • 2021-2022 Elantra
    • 2018-2020 Elantra GT
    • 2011-2014 Genesis Coupe
    • 2018-2022 Kona
    • 2020-2021 Palisade
    • 2013-2018 Santa Fe Sport
    • 2013-2022 Santa Fe
    • 2019 Santa Fe XL
    • 2011-2014 Sonata
    • 2011-2022 Tucson
    • 2012-2017, 2019-2021 Veloster

    June 2023


    Kia - 4.5 Million Vehicles

    We don't have as much info yet about Kia's timeline for specific models but we do know that Kia will also roll out its free software updates in a phased approach. The update begins later this month, with ensuing phases throughout the next several months.

    Other Anti-Theft Efforts

    This is the latest effort by the automakers to combat the theft issue in certain models.

    As we shared last week, Hyundai has previously identified an anti-theft security kit that owners could purchase. 

    Hyundai and Kia are also providing free steering wheel locks to law enforcement agencies that can be distributed to owners.  The NHTSA says concurrently, the companies have been working with law enforcement agencies to provide more than 26,000 steering wheel locks since November 2022 to 77 law enforcement agencies in 12 states.  

    Newer model year Hyundai and Kia vehicles also now have immobilizers:

    • Immobilizers are standard on all Hyundai vehicles built after Nov. 1, 2021
    • Immobilizers were installed on all 2022 Kia models and trims either at the beginning of the model year or as a running change.

    For More Info

    The NHTSA urges owners of these vehicles to contact Hyundai (toll-free at 800-633-5151) or Kia (toll-free at 800-333-4542) for information on the new free, software update.

    Get access to our network of certified CarPros and enjoy your next car buying experience! Find a CarPro

    Logo Credit: Hyundai/Kia.