by: Zaneta Lowe
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Car thefts are on the rise across Memphis, and certain Hyundai and Kia vehicles have been a major target for thieves, specifically models without what’s called an “engine immobilizer.”
The car makers are offering free, anti-theft repair, but NewsChannel 3 uncovered numbers showing millions of owners have yet to take advantage of the free fix.
The manufacturers are offering a software fix that extends the alarm sound from 30 seconds to one minute and requires a key to be in the ignition.
Owners can also get a free wheel lock.
However, according to CARFAX, there are millions of unfixed vehicles still on the road, including thousands in the MidSouth, making them a target for thieves.
“We crunched the numbers at Carfax and discovered there are 4.9 million of these cars unfixed in the US, including 116,000 right here in Tennessee,” said CARFAX Spokesperson Patrick Olsen.
The anti-theft repair is for certain Hyundai and Kia models made from 2010 through 2022 with keyed ignitions. If your vehicle is included, the manufacturer should have sent you a notice in the mail.
Olsen says if owners receive a notice, they shouldn’t ignore it or throw it away.
Olsen explained, “So if you own one of these cars currently, the first thing you should do is call a local Hyundai or Kia dealership. It does not need to be the dealership you bought the car at. Give them your vehicle identification number, and they will let you know if your car still needs a fix. And if it does, they can schedule it for you right away. The process takes about an hour to upgrade the software, and it’s absolutely for free.”