Datenkrake Auto: Delete private data before selling

Datenkrake Auto: Delete private data before selling
Written by insideindyhomes

Updated on 05/09/2022 17:01

  • Modern cars collect a lot of data, some automatically.
  • You should also keep this in mind when the car is offered for sale.

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If you want to sell your car, you should remember to delete all private data for modern models. This also applies if a car is to be returned as part of a rental or sharing. The magazine “ACE Steering Wheel” (2/2022) drew attention to this.

Some data is collected and stored automatically – for example about interventions by the assistance systems or error messages for the workshop. But the users themselves provide a lot of the data, for example in connection with the infotainment system.

Be sure to log out and delete apps

As an example, the magazine cites the contact list with telephone numbers when transferred from the cell phone to the car. Often not only the numbers but also other information were passed on. But it also affects other data: such as stored music and log-in data from subscription services such as music streaming providers or your own Internet contracts for on-board WiFi or services from the manufacturer. Although not all stored data is immediately visible to the next owner, it can theoretically be read out.

Since hardly any manufacturer offers a deletion routine for this, this is often only possible “with annoying detailed work”. You should delete all subscription services and log out of all apps separately. It is also better to clear the call list, the phone book or navigation destinations and disconnect the Bluetooth connection with your cell phone.

Sometimes the garage door can also be opened automatically by the vehicle – in this case the function should also be deactivated.

Damage is not only possible for the seller – but also for the buyer

Alternatively, the system can be reset to the factory settings. But even then, the smartphone has to be decoupled from the infotainment and logged off from your own accounts of pre-installed apps. At the end there should always be a check to see whether there is still data in the individual areas.

If you do not delete, you risk that personal data can be passed on. This can also have a negative effect on the buyer. For example, when the location of the car can be determined or, in the worst case, certain vehicle settings can be accessed.

If you want to use a rental car or car sharing, you should refrain from transferring such data to the car system at all. As an alternative, “ACE Steering Wheel” recommends using connection solutions such as Android Auto or Apple Carplay. For example, the hands-free system or other functions would be used via the car’s technology, but the data would remain on the cell phone. (sbi/dpa)

The Technical Monitoring Association or TÜV for short checks vehicles for their roadworthiness in this country. If a vehicle passes the test, it receives a corresponding sticker and can usually be used on the road for two years. But what actually happens when you overrun the TÜV? (Teaser image: iStock/GettyImages)


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