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Selling your car? These are some important things to remember

You may have heard it said that newer cars are like computers on wheels, which means you have to be careful when you’re selling your vehicle or trading it in.

Newer vehicles collect private data that should be wiped clean before your vehicle ends up in someone else’s driveway.

The latest cars, trucks and SUVs have onboard computer systems that track where you go, your home address and can even open your garage doors.

It’s why you should remove apps, phone numbers and other personal information before you hand someone else the keys.

You’ll want to check the trunk, glove box and under the seats for any valuables, loose change and paperwork.

Mike Trapasso cleaned out his car before selling it.

“So we used a diaper box, and got all of our stuff out of the car, and got it pseudo-detailed. We got ‘the works’ at a car wash,” said Trapasso.

Before handing over the keys to a new owner, you’ll also want to clean your car’s internal computer.

“Kind of like a phone, as you use the car, it’s logging data about what you, what features you access and it logs addresses you’ve been to and now there are even things like Wi-Fi hotspots, where you like to log in and all these different connected features you need to remember to log out of before you sell the car” said Alex Knizek, Consumer Reports Auto Expert.

Before saying goodbye to your car, Knizek says also remember to do this.

“One of the big ones is to make sure that you delete Bluetooth connections and make sure that there are no contacts saved on the car, and then you can do the same thing within your phone, and make sure you go in there and delete or and forget the pairing and the association of the phone and the car,” said Knizek.

Don’t forget the hardware and take your automatic garage door opener so the new driver can’t get into your garage in case they find your home address stored in the navigation system, or found on stray paperwork.

If you use a built-in system like Homelink for your garage door, make sure to reset that as well.

“There’s also telematics services which connect you directly to automakers. There usually you can find an SOS or call button on the rear-view mirror, or somethings on the ceiling near the mirror, and those connect you to a live operator and so you can press this button and they will help you remove the vehicle or remove yourself from the telematics account with the vehicle,” said Knizek.

If you’ve installed any apps on your phone that let you connect to your car, make sure to log out of those accounts too. Depending on the automaker, those apps could store driver data, navigation destinations and your driving history.

Many newer cars have an option to return the onboard computer to the original factory settings. Doing this can wipe out all your personal information. You can check the owner’s manual or with your dealer on how to do it.


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