Securing Your Vehicle to Avoid Theft

Tips for Protecting Your Car from Theft

According to a recent Highway Loss Data Institute (HLDI) study, Dodge muscle cars are particularly appealing to car thieves. The organization published a list that ranks vehicles based on the frequency of theft claims. It showed that the Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat from 2020-2022 was stolen at a rate 60 times higher than the average car. Following close behind is the Dodge Charger with a regular V8 engine at 22 times the average and the Dodge Challenger at almost eight times the average. With car theft becoming increasingly problematic, even more common models are at risk.

Other Common Models at Risk

In 2022, roughly one million vehicles were stolen, as the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) reported. This figure surpasses pre-pandemic levels by approximately 100,000 cars. Industry experts attribute the continued rise in car thefts to economic difficulties, limited public resources, and the influence of social media.

According to law enforcement, many thefts involve older car models lacking advanced anti-theft features or vehicles with keys or fobs left inside. Simultaneously, authorities note that some criminals are employing increasingly sophisticated electronic tools to steal cars without causing any physical damage to windows, locks, or steering columns.

Recent trends in vehicle theft have been significantly influenced by vulnerabilities, notably the Hyundai and Kia models. Online tutorials have revealed methods to steal these vehicles that lack engine immobilizers, a feature that prevents the car from starting without its key. The HLDI found that from 2020 to 2022, three Kia models, Rio, Forte, and Sportage, were among the top 20 most frequently stolen vehicles. According to a 2022 HLDI report, theft claims for Hyundai and Kia models from 2015 to 2019 were nearly double those of other manufacturers.

Free Anti-Theft Software Upgrade

Hyundai offers a complimentary anti-theft software upgrade for over a million vehicles, explicitly targeting the 2017-2020 Elantra, 2015-2019 Sonata, and 2020-2021 Venue models. Kia has also developed a similar software solution and contacted over a million Optima, Sorento, and Sportage model owners to offer free updates. The company mentioned that owners of Kia models can expect this update to become available in the coming months. In June 2023, the software upgrade was extended from specific production years to several models, including the Elantra, Accent, Sonata, Santa Fe, Veloster, and Tucson.

This software update allows the vehicle’s remote keyless entry to trigger an ignition kill function when the car is locked remotely. However, some Hyundai and Kia vehicles made between 2011 and 2022 that lack engine immobilizers are incompatible with this upgrade. Hyundai is finalizing a reimbursement program to purchase steering wheel locks for those customers.

As of the 2022 model year for Kia and post-November 1, 2022 for Hyundai, engine immobilizers have been standard features. Company representatives also stated that free steering wheel locks are being supplied to police departments particularly affected by these thefts. Additionally, Hyundai offers aftermarket security kits via its dealerships to enhance the safety of vehicles at higher risk of theft.

Most Frequently Stolen Vehicles in the US

The prevalence and accessibility of the following models are significant factors in their theft rates. According to the NICB, the most frequently stolen vehicles in the US are:

  • Ford F-150
  • Chevrolet Silverado
  • Honda Accord, Honda Civic
  • Toyota Camry

According to the HLDI, the following vehicles experienced the highest rates of complete theft for models produced between 2020 and 2022.

  • Dodge Charger Hellcat
  • Dodge Charger V8
  • Dodge Challenger
  • Infiniti Q50
  • Land Rover Range Rover Sport
  • Land Rover Range Rover
  • Kia Sportage
  • Kia Sportage AWD
  • Honda CR-V AWD
  • BMW X6 AWD
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