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2016 Sorento LX 3.3L V6 AWD, 2012 Soul !
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Here in the midwest, there's been an ALARMING uptick in thefts of newer Kia vehicles. It's so bad that I am quite worried I may be next. MPD even put out a bulletin.

I'm wondering what others have done with regard to an EFFECTIVE alarm/immobilizer system, or?

In the short term, I've acquired (and religiously use) a heavy-duty steering wheel lock, but I don't think that's enough.

 

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2017 Kia Sorento LX AWD
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343 Posts
This doesn't surprise me at all. I bet if someone were to dig a bit deeper into the theft data, they would find that it is mostly the models that have a regular keyed ignition rather than the push-button start system. The reason is, on the US models with the regular keyed ignition, our Kia's and Hyundai's DO NOT have immobilizers with a chipped key. Apparently, Kia's and Hyundai's built for the Canadian market do get the immobilizer with a regular keyed ignition. I just find this very odd that Kia and Hyundai would cheapen out on that since immobilizer systems have been in place on some cars for decades. I found all of this out when talking to a very reputable locksmith about getting a regular key (without the keyless entry fob) cut for my 2017 Sorento. So all the thief has to do is break out the ignition lock cylinder and start the car.
 

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2018 Sorento LX 2.4 FWD; 2009 Borrego LX V6 RWD
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The reason is, on the US models with the regular keyed ignition, our Kia's and Hyundai's DO NOT have immobilizers with a chipped key.
This was true on my last Kia. It made it really simple to install an aftermarket remote starter.
 

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2019 Kia Sorento EX 3.3L V6
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205 Posts
Here in the midwest, there's been an ALARMING uptick in thefts of newer Kia vehicles. It's so bad that I am quite worried I may be next. MPD even put out a bulletin.

I'm wondering what others have done with regards to an EFFECTIVE alarm/immobilizer system, or....?

In the short term, I've acquired (and religiously use) a heavy duty steering wheel lock, but I don't think that's enough.

You could always go old-school and get The Club steering wheel lock. lol
 

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2019 Sorento EX
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124 Posts
Here in the midwest, there's been an ALARMING uptick in thefts of newer Kia vehicles. It's so bad that I am quite worried I may be next. MPD even put out a bulletin.

I'm wondering what others have done with regards to an EFFECTIVE alarm/immobilizer system, or....?

In the short term, I've acquired (and religiously use) a heavy duty steering wheel lock, but I don't think that's enough.

I wonder if hidden switch connected to the electric fuel pump power lead might work. Pretty sure there is a access panel under the rear seat. I don't think it would run very long if it starts at all. Not sure if there would be any problems if the owner forgot to switch it on before trying to start the vehicle. I don't know if there is any possibility a setup like that could damage any of the electronic controls. Might be able to connect a red LED to the pump power if the switch is in the off position. Years ago, I had a Ford product that was equipped with a rollover disconnect switch for the fuel pump. I just tapped into that for my "immobilizer" switch. Someone with access to the elecrical diagrams might be able to give advice.
 

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2013 Kia Rio Sedan Auto 1.6 Turbo // 2020 Sportage LX FWD
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527 Posts
I can verify of all models I am aware of there is only an immobilizer on the pushbutton start. (USA).

A fuel pump ground disconnect, toggle, hot wire toggle ect would be an easy fix.
 

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2018 Sportage LX AWD
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33 Posts
Here in the midwest, there's been an ALARMING uptick in thefts of newer Kia vehicles. It's so bad that I am quite worried I may be next. MPD even put out a bulletin.

I'm wondering what others have done with regards to an EFFECTIVE alarm/immobilizer system, or....?

In the short term, I've acquired (and religiously use) a heavy duty steering wheel lock, but I don't think that's enough.

Perhaps this video will help:

 

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Sorento LX V6 2018
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1,028 Posts
If they only made a manual transmission Sorento,it would never be stolen since driving a stick is becoming a dying art. I don't understand why Kia doesn't use a immobilizer system - they are dirt cheap now, easy for the manufacturer to install and a decent protection against theft of mundane vehicles like the Sorento (a Corvette they just winch it up onto a flatbed in about a minute and gone and then figure out the bypass for all the systems back at the chop shop).
 

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Sorento LX V6 2018
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1,028 Posts
I have a pushbutton start; how do I determine if I even HAVE an "immobilizer"?
I believe all the pushbutton start cars have an immobilizer as part of their system since it has to read the code from your fob to activate the start system.
 

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Per this story:

Wauwatosa police: People stole six vehicles from Russ Darrow Kia (jsonline.com)

the stolen vehicles all appear to be lower line Kias with non-pushbutton ignition (gunrunnerjohn nailed it). Most were not new vehicles, but the 2021 K5 and Sportage LX models noted in the story are not factory equipped with pushbutton start. I wonder if the K5 LXS listed as an attempted theft in that story was a "whoops, that's got pushbutton start" mistake.

It does speak to the value of Kia/Hyundai vehicles in a roundabout way. The cars and parts now fetch prices that make them attractive. Part of this is likely the tight car market overall and unusually expensive used car inventories.

Always a good idea to be aware of surroundings, lock doors, hide valuables, and properly insure your ride. Review your coverage from time to time with your agent or provider too. Make sure you have good coverage in case something bad like this does happen.

And if you feel it necessary, invest in a club, brake to steering wheel lock, or other device to make your car less attractive to potential baddies.
 

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2016 Sorento LX 3.3L V6 AWD, 2012 Soul !
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163 Posts
Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Well, as I said in my OP, I do have a heavy duty club-style lock I now religiously use. Given the thefts of so many Kias here, I'm of course a bit paranoid now.

I did however just come up with a brilliant addition to my car now-- a cell phone! T-mobie gave away extra lines as a promo once, and I have had an extra sim card laying around forever, unused.

I just yanked an old phone out of my drawer, hooked up an extra battery to it, and it's now well hidden in the car where a typical thief would not look or find it easy at all. At any time I can now locate my car on a map (thanks Google!). I haven't let it fully drain yet, but based on the fact that the phone has zero software running on it, it shoukd last at least a week between charges. Clearly that won't prevent a theft, but it just might help me locate the car in the event it happens somehow.
 

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2016 Sorento LX 3.3L V6 AWD, 2012 Soul !
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163 Posts
Discussion Starter · #18 ·
From what I understand, the thieves bypass the immobilizer somehow; I believe they rip the steering column open.
 

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2013 Kia Rio Sedan Auto 1.6 Turbo // 2020 Sportage LX FWD
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527 Posts
From what I understand, the thieves bypass the immobilizer somehow; I believe they rip the steering column open.
The immobilizer is behind the dash. The steering column only bypasses the key switch (ignition)
 
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