Steering Wheel Lock Giveaway

The Fairfax County Police Department is partnering with Hyundai Motor Co. on a steering wheel lock giveaway at the McLean District Station on Saturday, March 4. Police are holding the event in response to an increase in thefts targeting Hyundai and Kia vehicles, which are now getting stolen at nearly twice the rate of the rest of the auto industry. The increase in thefts is partly due to a “TikTok challenge” that shows how to steal cars using a USB charging cord, according to police. Thieves are targeting the Hyundai and Kai models without push-button ignitions and immobilizing anti-theft devices. These electronic immobilizer features are standard equipment in most other vehicles.

At the event in McLean, police said priority for the steering wheel locks will be given to residents who own or lease a Hyundai and Kia vehicle. The event will take place on Saturday, March 4 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the McLean District Station at 1437 Balls Hill Road in McLean.

Earlier this month, Hyundai and Kia began offering a free software update for about 1 million vehicles that will prevent the vehicles from starting using the method of theft popularized by the TikTok challenge.The software updates will prevent thieves from breaking in and bypassing the ignition. The February rollout of the free software update was for the model year 2017-2020 Elantra, 2015-2019 Sonata and 2020-2021 Venue vehicles. The software upgrade is scheduled to be available for the remaining eligible affected vehicles by June. The free upgrades are performed by Hyundai dealers and take less than one hour for installation. Following completion of the upgrade, each vehicle will be affixed with window decals to alert would-be thieves that the vehicle is equipped with enhanced anti-theft technology.

However, some 2011 to 2022 model year Hyundai vehicles without engine immobilizers cannot accommodate the software upgrade. For these customers, Hyundai is finalizing a program to reimburse them for their purchase of steering wheel locks. The car company also is working with local police department like Fairfax County to distribute steering wheel locks.

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