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Cars have gone from being simply modes of transportation to rolling personal electronic devices. You wouldn't resell your computer or smartphone with all of your personal information on it, shouldn't your vehicle get the same treatment?

WFMY 2 News in Jacksonville, Fla., investigated what happens to personal information stored in vehicles when they make it back into dealer's hands. Taking a car off of a dealership lot and asking the GPS to navigate to 'home', the GPS gave directions to the home of Tim Jubito, only he no longer owned the car.

"I think that's very bad to have that not have that cleared out when you trade in the vehicle. I would think when you trade that in, they would have that nulled on the vehicle, but undoubtedly, you're telling me it's not being done," Jubito, told WFMY 2 News.

But it's not just the GPS car owners should be concerned about. Personal contact information is also often synced and stored within a vehicle, personal text messages and calls can also be stored via Bluetooth technology in cars. Many cars also have automatic garage door openers synced within the vehicle. Add that feature to the GPS problem, and you've handed the new owner of your old vehicle the ability to break into your garage or home.

How can you protect your information? When reselling or trading in your vehicle ask the dealership what their policy is for removing personal data from onboard computers. If they don't have any policy or process for doing so you can wipe personal information yourself from a vehicle.

Resetting the garage door opener can be as easy as pressing two buttons, and instructions should be found in the owner's manual for each vehicle. You can 'unpair' a Bluetooth phone from a vehicle to remove contacts and messaging information. In a car's touchscreen navigation there is often an option to return the onboard computer to factory settings, which will wipe out all personal settings and information in the vehicle.



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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 77 Comments
      foxylynx
      • 1 Year Ago
      Wow, I'm glad I don't have one - I would never feel safe again.
        IVAN
        • 1 Year Ago
        @foxylynx
        It is simply a matter of clearing such information from the device. You are using a computer to send this reply aren't you ? And if it is "your" computer, then at some time you will have to replace it. when that time comes you will have to "clear" all of your personal info from it. All "modern" conveniences come with such "strings" attached. personally, I like the large magnet set next to the hard drive method best. But not everything gets erased this way.
      xgomazx
      • 1 Year Ago
      The answer is simple. Dont trade it in. Drive it til the wheels fall off and the ony use for it is as scrap
      joehennes
      • 1 Year Ago
      Really?! It's the dealers' responsibility to remove *your* personal information that *you* put in the car?
      rkeeeballs
      • 1 Year Ago
      Device should have a removable SIMS card....just like a phone.
        ascha79846
        • 1 Year Ago
        @rkeeeballs
        People should not buy things they don't understand. Cars, phones, mortgages, PC's, etc
          rjackson2a
          • 1 Year Ago
          @ascha79846
          I will agree with you to a point. But I ask a question. Do you understand how every system on your car works? If not, you should get rid of it today in keeping with your own advice.
      • 1 Month Ago
      Same issue would apply if the car is stolen. Car thief gets GPS directions to your home and opens the garage door to get access.
      Heijnen Silke12
      • 1 Year Ago
      uptil I saw the bank draft four $8311, I didn't believe ...that...my best friend had been actualie taking home money in there spare time from there labtop.. there best friend had bean doing this for only ten months and recently cleared the loans on there apartment and bought a gorgeous Smart ForTwo. read more at............ fox85.com
      • 1 Year Ago
      It goes to show that the dealers do not care. I guess they assume this is your problem, not theirs, and if you do not take care of it , they are not reponsible. Why can't they just remind you to erase your personal data before selling the car. I guess that, like evereything else in the old US of A, this will stop happening after dealers get sued.
        arvig
        • 1 Year Ago
        Although I would hope that car dealers do at least remind a customer with a trade in that they should wipe personal information from the nav system if not go ahead and do it, at the same time people SHOULD take responbility and at least make an effort to do it themselves. Even a dealership with the best intentions may not wipe every bit of data on accident. Or to put it another way, in the end the owner of the car should be responsible FIRST.
        bpante
        • 1 Year Ago
        I don't even trust dealers to work on my car. They all do piecework. The last time they spend the more they make. Leave out a few bolts on everything you took apart saves time.
        jsnowwolf
        • 1 Year Ago
        You, and people like you, are the reason this country is in such a sad condition! Nobody want to take responsibility for their own behavior or action. Everything is handed to you, you are led around by your little hand and as soon as something goes awry you lash out and look for someone to sue. GROW UP!
      impactvqi
      • 1 Year Ago
      i just bought a vehicle and the owners business cards were in the glove box, the garage door button was set to his and the bluetooth had his phone number on it, go figure, lucky for him i erased them and put my own into the system, a lot of people don't think of what could happen
      wwingard
      • 1 Year Ago
      I traded in a van and year later I get a notice from my insurance company about a wreak I was in but I wasn't the dealer left my old regerstration in it and a florist bought and their driver hit another car and he gave the cops my info. It took a while to get it straighten out
        joehennes
        • 1 Year Ago
        @wwingard
        "the dealer left my old regerstration in it " No, YOU left your registration in the car, the dealer just didn't take it out and throw it away for you.
        • 1 Year Ago
        @wwingard
        I hope the florist was charged with ID theft.
        rawkstar4179
        • 1 Year Ago
        @wwingard
        Why didn't you take the registration out of the car before you traded it in? Seems like common sense to me.
          • 1 Year Ago
          @rawkstar4179
          Well, excuse him. We all do things we regret.
      bilhee
      • 1 Year Ago
      Isn't technology great????
        • 1 Year Ago
        @bilhee
        technology so grear lmao
      • 1 Year Ago
      It is surprising how many people don't realize this. It is also amazing to me how many people will leave personal papers in a car when trading in.
      bpante
      • 1 Year Ago
      Buy a used cell phone you get the same thing. Thanks for the pictures.
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