Are you concerned about your privacy when you rent a car? You probably should be.
During a recent rental of an Infiniti Q50 through Hertz, we could find no way to disconnect a device and wipe our personal data from the car's memory. What's worse, we could see information stored from five other phones that had been connected to the car by previous renters. Talk about a data privacy nightmare. Every renter should know that when you connect devices to a rental car, your personal data remains visible to the next renter and the rental car company unless you remove it.
Happily, a new, free app called Privacy4Cars can help users wipe devices and data from unfamiliar vehicles like rental cars.
How the Privacy4Cars App Works in a Rental Car
You might think the Infiniti Q50 would offer an easy way to delete a device on the same screen where you can reconnect devices, but no dice.
The app allows 10 vehicle data wipe tutorial downloads for free. You can wipe information such as addresses, call history, text messages, contacts, and garage codes. Instead of locating a rental car's manual—which may or may not be in the vehicle—you can simply scan the VIN or search by year, make, and model. The app also lets you view simple, step-by-step instructions on how to remove data rather than hope you can find the information in the vehicle's manual.
It turns out that, for the Infiniti Q50 we had rented, there's only one way to delete information from a device like a cell phone once connected—and it's not through the in-dash infotainment system. Instead, you need to press a menu button on the steering wheel, then use your voice to select a phone to delete. No wonder the previous five renters still had their personal data listed in the rental car.
Step-by-step instructions walk you through clearing your data.
While 10 free tutorials might only get a road warrior through a season, the average renter will make it through at least a year or more. Remarkably, the app isn't targeted to car renters but instead many other corporate market segments such as rental car companies, banks, car wholesalers and dealers. But gladly there's nothing to keep renters from benefiting.
We love this app because it solves a real problem. When you rent a car and connect your phone or other devices to the infotainment system, you need a way to wipe your data when you return the car—and this app helps you do that quickly and easily.