TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — After a viral car theft trend caused months of headaches for Kia and Hyundai drivers, some relief is on the way.

According to The National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, the automakers developed theft deterrent software for more than 8 million of its cars free of charge. 

The software makes two critical changes to the Kia and Hyundai vehicles. It updates the theft alarm software logic to extend the alarm sound from 30 seconds to one minute and also requires a key to be in the ignition switch to turn the vehicle on.

This is in response to a recent TikTok trend encouraging people to break into Kia cars, tamper with the steering column, and turn on the vehicles as part of the Kia Challenge.

The vehicles that were targeted were ones without engine immobilizers. Police in St. Petersburg said 41% of cars stolen since July 11 were Kia or Hyundai models. 

For more information on when you can get your free software update, click here.

Kia and Hyundai owners are asked to contact their respective manufacturers for more information:

  • Kia: (800) 333-4542
  • Hyundai: (800) 633-5151