Kia has introduced an additional theft deterrent for its vulnerable vehicles in response to the ongoing issues caused by the notorious Kia Boyz on TikTok and the resulting customer dissatisfaction and legal battles. The latest security feature is an ignition cylinder protector, a specialized modification designed to strengthen the ignition cylinder body and deter future theft attempts.
Unlike the previously released security-focused software upgrade, this ignition cylinder protector is not a universal solution. Kia has chosen to target the models at the center of the security issue with this deterrent, offering it only to owners whose cars are not eligible for the software upgrade. Since December 20, a free dealer-installed upgrade has been available specifically for ignition systems that use keys.
Kia asserts that the ignition cylinder protection is an effective solution that thwarts the tactics commonly employed by thieves, as demonstrated by the TikTok trend. The aim of this enhancement is to make it more challenging and discouraging for thieves to remove or tamper with the ignition cover and cylinder protection.
Additionally, window decals will be applied to every car that receives this modification. These decals serve as a visual deterrent to potential thieves and also indicate the presence of security enhancements. The eligible vehicles for this update include the 2010–2021 Soul, 2014 Sedona, 2011–2016 Sportage, 2011–2016 Forte, and 2011–2021 Rio.
In addition to the software update distributed last year to enhance car security, Kia has implemented a multifaceted strategy. According to the company, this software update was applied to over 900,000 vehicles in 2023. As an alternative security measure for owners whose cars do not qualify for the software upgrade, Kia continues to offer complimentary steering wheel locks in collaboration with local law enforcement. As part of their ongoing efforts to protect vehicles and address security concerns, Kia has committed to providing steering wheel locks, with over 325,000 locks issued to date.