Kia Thefts Surge 1,000% In Some Cities After #KiaBoyz TikTok Challenge

Texas police are warning Kia owners about a surge in car thefts linked to #KiaBoyz TikTok videos. You may be at risk if you drive a 2010-2021 Kia with a mechanical key (not “push-to-start” or key fob).

What is the Problem?

The #KiaBoyz challenge started in 2021, when a series of “how to” videos went viral on TikTok and taught a new generation of car thieves how to steal a Kia and Hyundai within seconds using nothing but a USB phone charger, knife, or screwdriver.

How Easy Is It to Steal a Kia?

The thieves simply look in the window to see if the Kia’s ignition uses a mechanical key (not a “push-to-start” button). If so, they break into the car, often through the back window to avoid setting off the alarm.

Once the thief is inside the car, it only takes 30 seconds to start the car. They rip off a thin plastic covering on the steering column, flick off another flimsy component over the ignition, and jam a USB phone charger into the hole. The engine starts, and the car thief drives off.

Mayor Calls Kia Thefts a “Public Safety Crisis”

The #KiaBoyz challenge is creating big headaches for Kia owners, and it’s causing a public safety crisis in cities across the U.S., like St. Louis, Missouri, where thefts are up 1,000% in 2022.

Kia Theft Lawsuits & Class Actions Filed By Angry Owners

Lawsuits and class actions have been filed against Kia owners by angry people who said they never would have bought a Kia — or they would’ve paid less — if they knew it was so easy to steal.

These lawsuits accuse Kia of selling vehicles that are “easy to steal,” “unsafe,” and “worth less than they should be” because they lack a simple device called an engine immobilizer.

What is an Engine Immobilizer?

Engine immobilizers are electronic anti-theft devices that will not allow the vehicle to start unless there is an authorized key in the ignition.

Engine immobilizers are now required on all new vehicles sold in the U.S. since November 2021, so all of Kia’s 2022 model-year vehicles are not quite so easy to steal — but there are millions of older Kia and Hyundai vehicles on the road that are highly attractive to thieves.

What Can I Do?

Hyundai, the parent company of Kia, will offer a security kit that owners can pay to install beginning October 1, 2022. The company has not issued any recalls or offered to provide free engine immobilizers. Owners can also purchase a steering wheel locking device like “The Club” or pay a professional to install an anti-theft system.

Kia Theft Class Action Lawsuit Filed in Minnesota

In September 2022, a class action lawsuit was filed by LaShaun J., a man from Minnesota who awoke one morning to find that his 2019 Kia Sportage had been stolen right out of his driveway. Police discovered that thieves used nothing but a flathead screwdriver to start the car.

LaShaun is seeking compensation for his insurance deductible, repairs to the vehicle, loss of resale value on the car, and more.

The Kia Theft Class Action Lawsuit was filed on September 2, 2022 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota — Case Number 0:22-cv-02164-ECT.

Types of Kia Vehicles

  • Kia Forte
  • Kia Rio
  • Kia Optima
  • Kia Stinger
  • Kia Soul
  • Kia EV6
  • Kia Niro
  • Kia Seltos
  • Kia Sorento
  • Kia Sportage
  • Kia Telluride
  • And more


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