Dealer Develops Home-Brew Fix for TikTok-Inspired Hyundai and Kia Thieves
Owners of older Hyundai and Kia models have had a rough go over the last few months. A TikTok video made them the targets of thefts and break-ins after it was discovered that the vehicles didn’t have electronic immobilizers. Some have sued, some are resorting to old-school measures like “The Club,” and others are looking to dealers for help. A dealer service director in St. Louis came up with an answer.
Elliot Silk from Suntrup Automotive Group said he had dozens of Hyundais and Kias in the service lot, waiting for repairs from damage caused by break-ins. He and a service tech took matters into their own hands with an in-house-developed Bluetooth immobilizer. After three months of work, Silk said his device prevents the engine from being started until the driver has pressed a button on a key fob.
Silk thinks the device will stop everyday thieves from nabbing a car with one of his devices. He’s also confident the installation will prevent the removal of the device, as the vehicle would need some rewiring work done afterward.
The immobilizer is available for $200 installed at Silk’s dealership, and he’s also offering it online for $99 plus shipping. Hyundai and Kia told Automotive News they haven’t studied the device but say they “continue to review and evaluate options. Both automakers state that their 2022 and newer models come with immobilizers, but that’s little consolation to the millions of owners without. There may be an official solution in the future, but this is a solid alternative for now.
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