In the same way that consumer advocates and organizations like Consumer Reports advise wiping a smartphone, tablet or computer before selling, trading in or recycling, it's important to keep in mind that newer cars with sophisticated infotainment systems accumulate much of the same sensitive digital information. This includes credit card numbers and other bank information, account names and passwords, addresses and frequently traveled routes, contacts' names and numbers, and possibly even text messages. If you wouldn't leave your smartphone out for a random stranger to grab and scroll through at their leisure, then it doesn't make sense to leave that same information accessible to the next owner of your car.
If you're selling, trading in, donating, or otherwise getting rid of your car, the onus falls on you to ensure that all of your sensitive private information is wiped out. Even if, for example, your dealership says it'll wipe the car clean as part of the reconditioning process to get it ready for its next owner, you can take some easy (though time-consuming) steps beforehand to ensure your own peace of mind. Let's take a closer look at some steps you can take to guarantee your privacy and safety.