New details on security fix for Hyundai vehicles

Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 7:07 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS (KMOV) -- Debbie Wiegand has owned a Hyundai Tuscon since 2018 and loves it but she’s worried it might get stolen. Many Kia and Hyundai owners feel the same way.

“Everybody who owns one wants to know what is actually going on,” said Wiegand.

Most car keys have a chip in them that the ignition must recognize in order for the car to start. A device called an immobilizer prevents the car from starting if it doesn’t recognize the chip. But some Kia and Hyundai models don’t have an immobilizer and thieves have taken advantage of that, leading to a rash of car thefts.

Hyundai announced it’ll offer an immobilizer-like device next month as a security fix. News 4 spoke with the Suntrup Hyundai service department to get new details on the problem and the security fix.

The security fix will be for 2016-2021 models including the Accent, Elantra, Venue, Kona, Tuscon, Sante Fe, Sante Fe Sport, Sante Fe XL and Palisade. The device is identified as a Firstech/Compustar security kit which will act like an immobilizer and includes an alarm as well as a glass break, tilt and impact sensor.

Currently, a similar product is sold online by Best Buy but installing that device will void a car’s warranty. The device that’s expected to be available next month will be a new product and won’t impact a vehicle’s warranty.

The Firstech/Compustar device will be available for sale and installation at Hyundai dealerships and Compustar authorized installers. Hyundai expects the device to be available starting October 1.

A price hasn’t been announced yet but is expected to be around $200 and will be the responsibility of the vehicle owner to purchase and pay for the installation.

Although Compustar products are sold on Amazon, Hyundai says the unique Firstech/Compustar device coming out next month won’t be sold on Amazon. Installation is expected to take 2-and-a-half hours, depending on the vehicle.

Kia is not offering a device to install on models that don’t have an immobilizer. Instead, the company is giving out steering wheel locks for police departments to distribute and believes the locks are strong anti-theft devices.

Kia’s Head of Corporate Communications James Bell told News 4 “we believe the deterrence that’s part of the steering wheel lock is very, very effective.”