Kia, Hyundai reach $200 million settlement over theft issue
Hyundai and Kia have reached a massive settlement as 9 million of their vehicles are particularly prone to thefts.LEARN MORE
A free repair will prevent cars from being stolen.
By now you may have heard about the increased risk of certain Hyundai and Kia models being stolen, as a result of a viral social media challenge.
But millions of owners are still driving around or parking outdoors at night without the free fix that's now available.
Starlet Tolbert is one of the many victims. She recently showed us the empty parking spot where the Kia she bought just one week earlier vanished.
"I came out one morning and it was gone," she said.
One month before that, Carmen Ellis's Hyundai was stolen. Police recovered it, but the damage was extensive.
"I'm out of pocket over $4,000," she told us at the time.
We have been reporting on this issue for more than a year now after social media videos popped up, showing how to steal certain vehicles that use a metal key, and don't have push-button ignitions.
Hyundai and Kia are now offering free software updates to lower the risk of theft.
They extend the alarm sound to a full minute, and require the key to be in the ignition to start the car.
Still, CARFAX recently found nearly five million vehicles in the U.S. still need the fix.
Patrick Olsen of CARFAX says owners may be accidentally ignoring notifications that arrive by mail or email.
"People might think it's a marketing scam, or they might think it's an extended warranty offer," he said, "Unfortunately, that's not the case."
So, CARFAX has announced that it is taking action with its popular auto reports.
For the very first time, automakers will highlight the issue on vehicle history reports. That way you will know for sure if your car, or a Hyundai or Kia you're about to buy, has been repaired.
"We will tell you very clearly, very loudly, whether or not that car has had the fix implemented," Olsen said.
Many police departments will give Hyundai and Kia owners a free steering wheel lock. You just have to ask.
So get the software fix, or pick up a wheel lock, so that you don't end up like Starlet Tolbert and so many others.
"It's terrible what's happening," she said.
That way you don't waste your money.
This story was originally published by John Matarese at Scripps News Cincinnati.
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