Your car can say more about you than you think. Besides giving people an idea of your car preferences, your car actually contains your personal data. These include addresses, login credentials, and even your routes to home and work.
If you are planning to give your car to a friend or relative or sell it to a complete stranger, it is actually wise for you to erase your personal data first.
Personal data your car may have
(Photo: Grahame Jenkins on Unsplash)
Before we get into how you can remove all of your personal data from your vehicle, let’s first identify the type of data it may contain to begin with. Knowing what kind of information your car may contain will help you determine the best way to remove it from your vehicle.
According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the entertainment system in particular contains the following personal data that you want to delete before you dispose of your car:
- garage door codes
- Location data – This includes addresses as well as the routes you take to get to home, work and other places you frequent.
- Mobile applications – In particular, the login information you use for your mobile applications may be stored in your car’s entertainment system
- Phone contacts or your address book – These may have been stored in your car’s entertainment system when you synced your phone to your car
Related article: What you need to know about data security and your smart vehicle
How you can remove your personal data from your car
There are many steps you can and should take to permanently erase your personal data from a car you plan to sell or license someone else to use.
HowStuffWorks recommends that you “sign out of any mobile apps that are included with your car or that associate with an app that lives on your smartphone, and make sure your account names and passwords aren’t auto-filling to reconnect”.
You should also be sure “to cancel or transfer subscriptions, such as data plans, Wi-Fi hotspots, emergency communications services, and satellite radio or music streaming services. “.
Don’t forget to delete all data from your car’s phone book as well as the maps that are in the navigation system. Remember to remove all Bluetooth pairings and, if you have an automatic garage door opener, reset it as well.
As for storage devices that may contain your personal data, make sure that your car’s removable data storage is completely empty. If it has a built-in hard drive, delete everything on it as well.
Finally, you can’t go wrong using your car’s factory reset feature if it has one, as it will delete all data and settings stored in the vehicle.
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