Call Today for a FREE Confidential Case Review
Toll-Free 24/7 (866) 920-0753

Kia & Hyundai Engine Immobilizer Anti-Theft Lawsuit


#KiaBoyz TikTok Challenge Causes Surge in Car Thefts

The #KiaBoyz TikTok challenge was started by a group of young car thieves in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 2021. They created a series of “how-to” videos that showed millions of people how to steal a Kia or Hyundai using nothing but a USB phone charger cord, which is often found inside the victim’s car.

What Happened?

Not surprisingly, the #KiaBoyz videos went viral. By the time TikTok removed the videos, it was far too late. A new generation of joyriders and car thieves had learned how to steal a Kia or Hyundai in seconds. In some cities, car thefts surged over 1,000% and neighborhoods were terrorized by teenage boys driving stolen cars at high speeds.

Millions of Kia & Hyundais Lack Engine Immobilizers

The problem is that from 2010 through 2021, millions of Kia and Hyundai vehicles were sold without a critical piece of anti-theft technology called an engine immobilizer.

Thieves simply look inside the vehicle, and if it uses a mechanical key (not a “push-to-start” button or a key fob), they know it lacks an engine immobilizer and will be incredibly easy to steal.

Starting in November 2021, federal auto-regulators ordered manufacturers to install engine immobilizers, so newer vehicles are less likely to be stolen. Unfortunately, there are still millions of vulnerable vehicles that are incredibly tempting to a would-be thief.

What is an Engine Immobilizer?

An engine immobilizer is a basic anti-theft device that makes it very hard to steal a car without using an authorized key. The engine immobilizer transmits a code to the engine when an authorized key is in the ignition, or a key fob is inside the vehicle. The computer in the car will not allow the engine to start unless it receives this code.

Kia and Hyundai Engine Immobilizer Anti-Theft Lawsuit

In September 2022, a class action lawsuit was filed in Minnesota on behalf of consumers who purchased or leased Kia and Hyundai cars.

The lawsuit claims these “vehicles suffer from a significant defect: they do not have an engine immobilizer. … Thieves only need to gain access to a vehicle, and once inside, strip the ignition column and insert a screwdriver, knife, or even a USB cord to start the vehicle.”

Despite the shocking rise in thefts, Kia and Hyundai have not issued a recall or offered to install engine immobilizers in the affected vehicles.

The lead plaintiff is LaShaun J., a man from Minnesota who paid around $22,000 for a 2019 Kia Sorrento. Less than a year later, his Kia was stolen by thieves who used a screwdriver to start the car.

He got his car back, but couldn’t drive it for months until it was repaired. He also had to pay a $750 insurance deductible. He is seeking compensation from Kia because he believes he over-paid for the car, suffered a loss of resale value, and other damages.

The Kia & Hyundai Engine Immobilizer Class Action Lawsuit was filed on September 2, 2022 in the U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota — Case Number 0:22-cv-02164-ECT-DJF.

Free Case Evaluation

The Schmidt Firm, PLLC has been recognized as one of the nation’s leading plaintiffs' law firms and handles cases in all 50 states. We are very proud of our legal achievements, but equally self-respecting of our firm's reputation for providing personal attention to each and every client we represent.

No matter what type of case you have, you may contact us with confidence by filling out the email contact form below or calling us directly by dialing toll free 24 hrs/day (866) 920-0753.