There are a lot of fun TikTok videos out there.  The challenges can be amusing and harmless.  Some can be dangerous.  There is a recent TikTok challenge that has become very costly for Kia and Hyundai owners worldwide.

It's called "The Kia Challenge" and it shows auto thieves how to circumvent the ignitiion on Kia and Hyundai vehicles using a screw driver and a usb cord. That's right.  That's all you need to steal KIAS manufactured from 2011 to 2021, or a Hyundai made from 2015 to 2021.

It is getting so bad that Kia and Mitsubishi thefts in many major cities have hit unbelievable levels.  Law Enforcement agencies that deal with car thefts are overwhelmed.  In fact, the City of St. Louis, which has become particularly hard hit is threatening to sue Kia and Mitsubishi to force them to repair the effected vehicles.

In Milwaukee, "The Kia Boys" a band of mostly underage guys are posting numerous videos on social media while stealing and joyriding in Kias that they have stolen.  The vehicles are usually abandoned, some with catastrophic damage, when they run out of gas.

The problem with the affected vehicles is that they don't have engine immobilizers. The issue has already prompted a class-action-lawsuit against Kia and Hyundai. Two Iowans , Ann Brady of Polk County and Leah Price of Decatur County are suing Kia America, Inc., Hyundai Motor America, and Hyundai Kia America Technical Center. They allege these companies produced a defect in their vehicles that makes them “easy to steal, unsafe, and worth less than they should be.”

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The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Iowa, claims the  companies “admit there is a theft and safety problem with these vehicles but refuses to fix them, compensate consumers or otherwise take actions” to address the issue.

So, what can you do if you have one of these vehicles to protect yourself? Most experts agree the best way to avoid the theft is to install a steering wheel lock on your vehicle.  It is a visible way to let "The Kia Boys" and others who wish to steal your KIA or Hyundai that you have taken precautions to make the vehicle difficult if not impossible to drive, even if they manage to start it.

You can also invest in the immobilizer and try to park in well lit areas and with surveillance. Auto theft rates in San Angelo are generally above Texas and U.S. averages, according to insurance company stats. As of now, a quick scan of auto theft police reports in San Angelo do not seem to indicate disproportionate rises in KIA and Hyundai theft rates.  Authorities here and across the country continue to be aware of the situation.

In the meantime if you have the affected KIAs or Hyundai's, it's better safe than sorry. It might be a great idea to take precautions now.

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