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Datenkrake Auto: delete private data before sale

Updated 09/05/2022 17:01

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

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If you want to sell your car, 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. “ACE Steering Wheel” magazine (2/2022) drew attention to this.

Some data is collected and stored automatically, for example on the intervention of the assistance systems or on error messages for the workshop. But the users themselves provide a lot of data, for example in relation to the infotainment system.

Make sure you log out and delete the apps

As an example, the magazine cites the contact list with phone numbers when they are transferred from mobile to car. Often not only the numbers but also other information was transmitted. But it also affects other data: such as stored music and access data from subscription services such as music streaming providers or Internet contracts for in-vehicle Wi-Fi or manufacturer services. While not all stored data is immediately visible to the next owner, in theory it can be read.

Since hardly any manufacturer offers a cleanup 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, phone book or navigation destinations and disconnect the Bluetooth connection with the mobile phone.

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

The damage is not only possible for the seller, but also for the buyer

Alternatively, the system can be reset to factory settings. But even in this case, the smartphone must be decoupled from the infotainment and disconnected from their pre-installed app accounts. At the end there should always be a check to see if there is still data in the individual areas.

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

If you want to use a rental car or car sharing, you must refrain from transferring such data to the car system. Alternatively, “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 car technology, but the data would remain on the mobile phone. (sbi / dpa)


The Technical Monitoring Association or TÜV for short vehicle inspections for their technical inspection 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 pass the TÜV? (Teaser image: iStock / GettyImages)

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