Hyundai will install anti-theft software in Rochester on Friday and Saturday

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Hyundai owners can get an upgrade to their car’s anti-theft software on Friday, Nov. 17 and Saturday, Nov. 18 at a free event near Innovative Field in downtown Rochester.

The Rochester Police Department and Hyundai officials say the goal of the event is to combat a rise in car thefts. In the city alone, there have been more than 3,500 car thefts so far this year, which more than three times last year’s total, according to the RPD Open Data Portal.

The event will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Friday and Saturday at Lot D across from Innovative Field at
131 Verona Street. Hyundai is also handing out anti-theft steering wheel locks. It’s part of Hyundai’s nationwide push to upgrade anti-theft technology in some of its car models.

Technicians will be at the event to complete the software upgrade, which should take less than 30 minutes. No registration is required and there will be a customer lounge. If you have an old-school blade key that goes into the ignition, your car may need an upgrade. If you just have a key fob, you don’t need the upgrade.

Here are models that qualify for a software upgrade. You can learn more from Hyundai’s website:

Local leaders have raised alarms about an increase in thefts for Kia and Hyundai models because of how-to videos circulating on social media such as TikTok. Leaders also say the two automakers failed to add proper anti-theft technology to many of its models, making the cars easy to hotwire with a USB cable.

Dave Vandelinde, VP for After Sales Hyundai said the software aims to make the customer feel more secure in a time where car thefts have been rampant.

“In 2021 we noticed the social media videos popularized on TikTok, showing how to steal the vehicles, so at that time we made the decision to develop a unique software situation, for our vehicles that would add that immobilizer technology,” said Vandelinde.

The immobilizer is activated once the driver locks the car. Vandelinde said it took several months to develop to security software upgrade. Along the way, other options were offered to customers.

“We engaged with local police departments and started handing out steering wheel locks. So to date, we’ve handed out over 125,000 steering wheel locks,” he said. 

Stolen Hyundai crashes on Owen Street on Sept. 1 (Credit: Andy Heinze / WHEC)