While the Kia Boys may seem like an up-and-coming rap group, they are actually much worse. It’s a trend of TikTok exploiting a somewhat annoying weakness in older Kia (and Hyundai) cars; Thieves can start these vehicles with just a USB cable and a flat head screwdriver. Once they arrive, they go for a walk and either crash or unload the vehicles after they have their kicks. Fortunately, there are more than several ways to protect your vehicle from its antics.
Who influences/how does it work
The hack affects Kia cars from Model year 2011 through 2021 and Hyundai vehicles from model year 2016 through 2021. Within these vehicles, entry-level vehicles with ignition switches are susceptible. More advanced vehicles with keyless ignition use immobilizers, which are a communication device in the fob that allows the vehicle to start only when the key is inside and prevents it from being started if the key is not present. More basic cars that use ready ignition don’t have this safety feature, which means they’re prime choices.
Standardly, thieves are able to break through the rear window without triggering the alarm – giving them relatively easy access to the ignition. There are other ways they can get in too, but for obvious reasons, we won’t give you a detailed breakdown of how a Kia Boys hack works. Once the thieves get into a vulnerable Hyundai or Kia, they can simply remove the ignition cup with a screwdriver and start the vehicle using only a USB cable; The cable doesn’t actually connect to anything but only fits the part where the tumbler turns when the key is inserted. Once they get in, the car starts as normal, and they set out to race.
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How to protect yourself
Fortunately, there are a number of ways to deter Kia boys and they are quick, easy and affordable. Starting with the simplest, you can park your car—essentially cornering your car. Sure, this will be a nuisance to you and your roommates (if you have them), but it might save your Kia or Hyundai from appearing on the front page of TikTok. Other solutions include parking indoors, locking your car (you’d be surprised how many people don’t), or simply buying a third party immobilizer. If you are not comfortable installing one yourself, your local mechanic will likely be able to do it for you relatively inexpensively.
After getting word of the problem, automakers began working with local law enforcement to send steering wheel locks to owners of vulnerable cars. However, Wade Hughes, a mechanic at Sun Devil Auto in Sun Lakes, Arizona, said these things don’t really work. “It looks cool, and you can’t cut the hardware, but the actual steering wheel is just a thin metal rod covered in foam,” says Hughes. “You can literally hack a steering wheel in about three seconds.” Once the steering wheel is cut off, the paddle can be removed, and the car is gone.
Says invest in a lock key It is a more effective and affordable alternative. commonly used in Motorcycles, these devices cut the circuit between the ignition and the battery, which means that the car (or motorcycle) will not start when the lock switch is active. There are a large number available on Amazon For under $60, though we recommend this Flukin.
As of October 1, 2022, Hyundai is reported to have begun selling Compustar Firstech break-glass safety kits (similar to this) to protect customers. The specific system is slated to cost $170 and upwards of $500 to have it installed at a dealer. That’s the $670 that owners will likely have to pay for the simple privilege of not having their car stolen.
You can also consider a file dash cam. One won’t completely prevent your car from being stolen and taken for a ride, but it can capture footage and evidence in case you are targeted.
Even with the automakers’ efforts to save face, lawsuits began to pile up, with owners citing the lack of an immobilizer. This issue is quite surprising, given that our Canadian neighbors have It is legal to use immobilizers In new cars since 2007. While the majority of new Kia vehicles have immobilizers, the device didn’t become a standard option on all vehicles until 2022. Hopefully the Kia Boys trend will pass quickly, but it doesn’t hurt to protect yourself from it if you think Your car may be in danger.
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Matt Cresara is a native Austin with an unbridled passion for cars and motorsports, both foreign and domestic, and as the Auto Editor for popular mechanicsHe writes the majority of auto coverage via digital and print. He was previously a contributing writer for Motor1 after training at Circuit Of The Americas F1 Track and Speed City, an Austin radio announcer focused on the world of motorsports. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Arizona School of Journalism, where he raced mountain bikes with the university club team. When he’s not working, he enjoys sim racing, FPV drones, and the great outdoors.
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