Jul 27, 2023 - News

Free D.C. clinic will install anti-theft upgrades on Hyundai cars

D.C. officials look over a Hyundai car. Photo: Matt McClain/The Washington Post via Getty Images

D.C. opens a drive-thru clinic Thursday to install free security upgrades on theft-prone Hyundai cars as it tries to get a grip on stolen vehicles.

Why it matters: Motor vehicle thefts in D.C. have so far more than doubled this year, and law enforcement officials nationwide have said design flaws have made Hyundai and Kia vehicles particularly vulnerable.

The big picture: The unusual step to host a temporary public clinic comes after a TikTok challenge showed users how to steal some Kia and Hyundai vehicles.

By the numbers: Among the more than 4,000 cars stolen in D.C. this year, 1,400 of them were Hyundais, DCist reported.

Driving the news: Hyundai technicians at the D.C. clinic will install anti-theft upgrades for eligible vehicles at the RFK Stadium Parking Lot 8. It will be open from 8am to 7pm today through Monday.

  • The software upgrade takes less than an hour, officials said. Appointments aren't necessary.
  • Many models from 2011 to 2022 are eligible. A full list is here.

What they're saying: Some stolen "vehicles are later used to commit acts of violent crime in our city," said acting D.C. police chief Pamela Smith last week.

How it works: The Hyundai fix will modify the vehicle controls so that once its doors are locked with the key fob, an "ignition kill" feature will activate so that would-be thieves cannot start the car, according to the District.

  • Anti-theft decals will be placed on the front windows of the cars to further deter thieves.
  • The software upgrade is available for about 3.8 million vehicles.

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