Why Hyundai, Kia owners should be especially concerned about car thieves

As the weather gets colder, you may be tempted to leave your car running in the driveway or outside a convenience store when you go indoors.

But Maryland State Police say that practice increases the chances that your car will be stolen (something that happens every 49 minutes in Maryland) — and it’s illegal in the state.

Leaving a car running and unattended can land you a $70 fine and one point on your license in Maryland. If the car rolls away and causes an accident, you can get a $110 fine and three points on your license.



Hyundai and Kia owners need to be extra vigilant, too, because those cars are being stolen at higher rates nationwide and in Maryland.

Nationally, almost 60,000 Hyundai and Kia vehicles have been stolen this year through Aug. 31. That’s more than the nearly 59,000 stolen all of last year, according to the National Insurance Crime Bureau.

The Maryland Vehicle Theft Prevention Council has tips for drivers of 2016-2021 Hyundai and 2011-2021 Kia models:

  • Buy a steering wheel lock. They don’t cost much, and they do a lot to visually deter thieves.
  • Contact a dealer to buy a security kit recently released by Hyundai and Kia.
  • Take general steps to prevent car theft, such as parking in a secure lot or personal garage.

Finally, a little common sense can go a long way toward ensuring a car thief doesn’t make off with your car.

Maryland State Police remind you to park in well-lit areas, make sure no valuables are visible, close and lock all windows and doors, and don’t leave your key or key fob inside the car.

Of the more than 10,600 cars stolen in the state in 2020, the Maryland Vehicle Theft Prevention Council said 60% were left unlocked, and 50% had the keys inside.

Michelle Basch

Michelle Basch is a reporter and anchor at WTOP.

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