By Allen L Phillips, with information from an article in Consumer Reports October, 2019 issue.
Cars built in the last 10 years have been collecting data about us. (See my blog entitled “Is Your Car Watching You?” posted here April 30, 2019.) Consumer Reports says vehicles collect and store all kinds of personal data – everything from the songs on your playlist to the locations you frequent to how firmly you apply the brakes. And if you’re not careful, that data can travel to your car’s next owner.
Consumer Reports provides a check list of things to do before turning in a leased car, trading in a car or selling it outright. For more detailed instructions, consult your car’s owner’s manual.
UN-PAIR ALL BLUETOOTH DEVICES – By deleting the connection to your smart phone, you protect info routinely shared for contacting friends, listening to music and using GPS directions.
RESET THE GARAGE DOOR OPENER – If you use a universal application, such as HomeLink, for example, you don’t want it to be sharing codes that grant access to your home. To erase them, press and hold the two outer HomeLink control buttons until the red light flashes.
RESET TEMEMATICS SERVICES – Blue Link, FordPass and OnStar can all send data from a car to the cloud, even if you don’t have a current subscription. Look for an SOS or call button on the rearview mirror or overhead console. Press it and you will be connected to a live operator who can help you change the account owner information.
LOG OUT OF CLOUD ACCOUNTS – Exclusive to certain automakers, they store driver data, including preset radio stations, favorite temperature settings, navigation destinations and driving history.
REMOVE TRACKING DEVICES – Auto dealers, banks and insurance companies may attach such devices to vehicles when setting up financing and coverage deals. If buyers don’t read the fine print, they might not realize they’re there. Once the car is paid off, check with your lender or dealer about disabling them.