Guess what? Thieves steal thousands of cars, trucks and motorcycles every day. The National Insurance Crime Bureau reports that more than 1 million cars were stolen in 2022. Many of those vehicles are shipped overseas, never to be seen again. Others are taken for joyrides or used as transportation for other crimes. Here’s where things get ridiculous: Videos on social media demonstrating how to steal specific makes and models have made those types of vehicles prime pickings for amateur thieves. Certain videos show a relatively simple process to start the engines in Hyundai and Kia vehicles, making their theft a significant issue.
Hyundai and Kia Vehicle Thefts
Most cars and trucks sold in the United States have some form of immobilizer. In most instances, an immobilizer is a security system in the vehicle that checks a transponder chip in the car key to ensure authentication before allowing the vehicle to start. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 96% of new cars since 2015 include an immobilizer. Transport Canada, that country’s agency regulating all things transportation, mandated that all new vehicles produced after September 2007 include an immobilizer, so these simple thefts are much less of an issue in Canada.
Beyond the chassis, drivetrain and interior, a significant portion of the cost of a new car or truck depends on the accessories added at the factory. If you want a sunroof, that will cost more. Want power seats with heaters built in? Yep, more money. Parking sensors, backup cameras, blind spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking safety systems are increasingly common. Each one adds to the cost of the vehicle.
Hyundai and Kia decided they would forego the expense of including an immobilizer on many of their entry-level vehicles. This omission made them much easier for amateur thieves to steal.
How Does a Factory-Installed Immobilizer Work?
Vehicles with factory-installed immobilizers have a security module integrated into the vehicle data network that communicates with the engine control module. Just after you turn the key to the start position and then back to run, the security module checks the code of the key against a table of devices programmed into the vehicle. If the code checks out, the engine starts and runs. If there is no code or the code from the key doesn’t match the code database, the security module will prevent the engine from starting or shut it down after a few seconds. Because all the communication between modules is digital, it’s reasonably impossible to “hot wire” the vehicle.
Early anti-theft solutions like General Motors’ Vehicle Anti-Theft System used a key with a built-in resistor chip. If the resistance didn’t match, the vehicle would not start.
Preventing Hyundai and Kia Vehicle Thefts
Anything that presents a roadblock to stealing a vehicle is a wise investment. If you’re on a budget, consider a steering wheel lock like The Club. This mechanical device attaches to your steering wheel, making it impossible to turn it fully while someone is in the driver’s seat. Yes, these devices can be cut off the steering wheel, or the lock can be picked. However, the presence of the lock itself dramatically increases the complexity of the theft process. Chances are, thieves will bypass the vehicle if they want a quick joyride.
Premium Anti-Theft Solutions
We should make it clear that a thief can steal any car or truck they want to. No matter how elaborate the security solutions are, your vehicle can be dragged onto a flatbed and carted away in minutes. The issue with current Hyundai and Kia vehicle thefts is that the process of stealing them is simple. Your goal should be to make stealing the vehicle as difficult as possible.
If you want a premium solution, add an aftermarket car alarm with a starter-kill system to the steering wheel lock. The alarm will sound if a thief breaks a window and opens a door. This is likely enough annoyance to cause them to move on to another potential victim. If they want to proceed, the starter kill circuitry will prevent manual attempts to bypass the key cylinder from starting the engine.
Monitor Your Vehicle from Anywhere
While Hyundai and Kia vehicle thefts are an issue, the Chevrolet Silverado remains the most stolen vehicle in the United States. Ford F-Series trucks, the Honda Accord and Toyota Camry also top the theft list. A key factor in the theft rate is the vehicles’ popularity. It’s easy to dismantle and sell the parts, making the process profitable for chop shops. If you want to know what’s going on with your car or truck at any time, we suggest adding a GPS monitoring solution to a security system.
Everyone here at BestCarAudio.com has a DroneMobile telematics system installed in their vehicles. We can look at the exact location of our cars or trucks using the smartphone app or by logging in at www.dronemobile.com. The DroneMobile system includes several vital features regarding vehicle theft alerting and recovery. The first is the Curfew Alert feature. If the ignition turns on between set hours, the owner will get a notification on their smartphone. These alerts happen even if the vehicle is unlocked with the key or a relay attack.
Security Alerts are another important notification feature of DroneMobile. If the DroneMobile unit is integrated into a premium Compustar alarm system with a security sensor, then alerts from the sensor will be displayed on the smartphone. You’ll get notified if someone tries to jack up a car to steal the wheels. You’ll get notified if someone crawls underneath to cut off the catalytic converter. If a door opens, you’ll get a message.
Locate Your Vehicle in Seconds
All DroneMobile systems include an option for GPS-based alerts and tracking. If a thief drags your car or truck onto a flatbed, you can call the local law enforcement agency and give them the exact location of your vehicle. Because DroneMobile uses premium AWS servers, you can obtain the location and speed/heading information in seconds. With DroneMobile onboard, getting your car, truck or SUV back in the driveway in a matter of hours is a probability rather than a possibility.
Protect Your Vehicle from Theft
While the incidence of Hyundai and Kia vehicle thefts has risen dramatically, they don’t make list of the top 10 most stolen vehicles in the U.S. Full-size Chevy, GMC and Ford pickup trucks and the Honda Civic and Accord are a much bigger issue. Whatever you drive, many options are available to help safeguard your investment. Drop by a local specialty mobile enhancement retailer today to discover the Compustar car alarms and DroneMobile vehicle tracking systems that can help protect your pride and joy.