Hyundai Motor Co. will distribute free steering-wheel locks in the US and upgrade anti-theft software on 4 million vehicles after a spate of TikTok-inspired car thefts.

The viral videos target Hyundais and Kias that lack an electronic-security feature — called an engine immobilizer — that keeps the car from being started without a key. So far this year, New York police have arrested 109 suspects for thefts of certain models of Kia and Hyundai cars.

*The South Korean carmaker said engine immobilizers have been standard on all Hyundai and Kia cars since November 2021. A free software upgrade to prevent the method of theft involved in the viral videos has been rolled out to 1 million customers, and a further 3 million drivers will be eligible for the upgrade in coming weeks, Hyundai said in a statement Friday.   

It will also reimburse customers who have bought steering wheel locks and continues to provide steering locks to law enforcement agencies to distribute to local residents who own or lease affected models, it added. More than 23,000 locks have been distributed, Kia said in a separate statement. 

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