(KMID/KPEJ)- A social media challenge encouraging young people to break-in and steal certain Kia vehicles has prompted the car maker to issue an anti-theft software upgrade for vehicles equipped with a steel key and a “turn-to-start” ignition system.

In a message to Kia owners, the manufacturer said it will provide steering wheel locks to interested local law enforcement agencies in certain affected areas that can be given to concerned Kia owners at no cost. Additionally, Kia now has a software upgrade that can be installed on vehicles to restrict the operation of the vehicle’s ignition system should a locked vehicle be involved in a break-in and attempted theft without the key. 

The software upgrade will be provided free of charge until August 1, 2024. Kia said once the software upgrade is complete, window stickers will also be added to the vehicle to discourage a break-in. The upgrade is available to some models with a turn-to-start ignition built between 2011 and 2021. Beginning with the 2022 model year, all Kia models have an immobilizer and newer models are not affected. To check if your Kia is eligible for the upgrade, click here and type in your Vehicle Identification Model. Kia said it takes about one to two hours to complete the upgrade.

The news comes as a relief to several Odessans who said they were recently the victims of an attempted car theft involving their Kias. The thefts were stopped by witnesses and Odessa Police were called to investigate the crimes.