David VandeLinde, vice president of after-sales for Hyundai Motor America, demonstrates the new anti-theft software to be installed in hundreds of cars at Guaranteed Rate Field this weekend as part of the car company's efforts to curb auto theft. Credit: Jamie Nesbitt Golden / Block Club Chicago

BRIDGEPORT — Hyundai owners hit hard by car thefts can get help as the automaker will install anti-theft software in cars this weekend at Guaranteed Rate Field.

The mobile clinic, a collaboration between Hyundai, police and the Cook County Sheriff’s Office, is 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday-Sunday at the ballpark’s Parking Lot G, near 33rd Street and Normal Avenue.

The event will further efforts to address a loophole that allows thieves to start Hyundais without a key. Engine-immobilizing software — standard for cars made outside of the United States — wasn’t installed in older American-made Hyundai vehicles, making them particularly vulnerable to theft. The issue affects 4 million car owners nationwide. The city filed a lawsuit against the auto company this summer over the issue.

That suit was filed days after a federal judge declined to approve a class-action settlement that would have offered financial compensation to owners of the cars.

“These partnerships are not only appreciated but absolutely necessary, making special events like this weekend’s immobilizer clinic possible,” David VandeLinde, Hyundai’s vice president of after-sales, said at a press conference Thursday. “These nationwide clinics are just one of the many measures Hyundai has initiated to combat the theft of our customer’s vehicles and to support local communities and police departments.”

VandeLinde said the car company took “immediate action” to fix the problem after seeing viral TikTok videos of the “Kia/Hyundai Challenge,” engineering a software upgrade to help those affected. The mobile clinics — launched earlier this year — are for those who are unable to go to the dealership to receive the software, VandeLinde said.

In addition to the software upgrade, Hyundai has distributed hundreds of steering wheel locks to drivers for another layer of security.

The installation will take about 15 minutes per vehicle, and customers can treat themselves to snacks and refreshments while they wait, VandeLinde said. He told Block Club they expect to help 500 customers a day through the weekend.

Chicago is the latest stop for Hyundai as they try to reach as many customers as possible before winter approaches. VandeLinde said he and his team will head to Minneapolis, St. Paul and Rochester, New York, to host mobile clinics in those respective cities.

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