Lost Connection: Kia Tech Gets Shut Down in 1 State

Most cars made by Kia are very reliable and don’t require much maintenance outside of general oil changes and inspections. Additionally, models like the Telluride boast promising safety ratings and come decked out with plenty of Kia tech. Owners can also take advantage of Kia Connect, a service that provides drivers with extra features controlled by their smart devices.

We’re all for more convenience and safety tech in our vehicles, but not every driver will be able to use this service. According to recent news, one controversial law is making automakers shy away from offering connected services in Massachusetts.

What is Kia Connected Services?

Kia tech shut down due to Massachusetts' Right to Repair law
Kia logo | Getty Images Photographed by Maksim Konstantinov

Kia explains that this service has many features, including the ability to use your smartphone as a car key. If you forget to lock your car at night, you can do so from the Kia Access App. The app also lets you remotely start your vehicle and activate climate settings. 

If you can’t find your Kia in a crowded parking lot, the app can locate it with accurate GPS tracking. It also comes with an intelligent navigation system that receives two updates each year. Additionally, the app acts as a mobile rear-seat reminder and will contact 911 if it detects that the airbags have been deployed.

If you have a Kia EV, you can check its battery level and estimated recharging times through the app. Specific Kia models promise a Wi-Fi hotspot included with Connected Services. The Kia Access App will also give you regular maintenance reminders.

Every new Kia comes with five years of Connected Services for free. After that, it costs around $6-$20 per year, depending on how many features you want.

Kia is at odds with a local ‘Right to Repair’ law over Kia tech

Automotive News reports that Kia Connected Services have been disabled in Massachusetts due to Right to Repair law revisions. Kia says this applies to every vehicle from the 2022 model year and above. The features likely won’t be reactivated again until automakers can reach an agreement with MA Attorney General Maura Healy.

These new stipulations would require all automakers to share data from connected services on an open-access platform. However, National Law Review tells us that the revisions have been blocked for nearly two years thanks to a lawsuit. In the suit, Kia says that such a platform doesn’t even exist and thus can’t be implemented.

It’s not just Kia that opposes the law: it’s the entire Alliance for Automotive Innovation against the MA Attorney General. Members believe that the revised law would come into conflict with the Data Access Law. They believe that vehicle telematics information should stay private and only accessible to certified technicians employed by the automakers.

Right to Repair would allow MA drivers to service a Kia car and any independent auto shop. Right to Repair activists argues that, on average, repairing your car at a dealership is 36% more expensive. The law would make vehicle maintenance more affordable and accessible.

For example, drivers could get their cars fixed at a local mechanic rather than driving several miles away to a dealership. Gatekeeping repairs exclusively to dealerships might also negatively impact the job outlook for independent repair shops.

Subaru withdraws its connected services

According to CarScoops, Kia isn’t the only automaker willing to take drastic action over the lawsuit. Massachusetts drivers also can’t use Subaru’s STARLINK Connected Services at this time. STARLINK offers many of the same features as Kia Connected Services, along with 24-hour roadside assistance. 

Subaru was actually the first automaker to revoke such services in November 2021. As the lawsuit stays in limbo and the MA Attorney General continues to pressure certain automakers, more brands might take similar action.

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