Wait! One major thing to do before you return your rental car

Hand over the keys, not your personal information.

Hand over the keys, not your personal information.

The newest models of rental cars have state-of-the-art Bluetooth technology feature that makes driving safer, easier and more entertaining. But there's also a huge risk involved.

While you can’t beat the convenience of pairing your smartphone to your rental car system for hands-free navigation, calls and music, this information actually gets stored in the rental car's system.

But it gets personal. All of your phone's transferred information, like contacts and call logs, are also stored inside the car’s system. And if you use the car’s navigation, even your locations are locked in the mix.

The thought of the next renter having access to all of this is terrifying, yet easy to avoid. Just budget 10 extra minutes to remove your personal data before you return your car.

To wipe your call logs and contacts, access the car’s settings and delete your phone from the list of previously paired Bluetooth devices. If you used the car’s navigation system, enter the settings and clear your location history. You can always get help from the car rental employees if you have trouble.

To avoid this issue altogether, you can try a third-party Bluetooth device for hands-free calling, charge your phone through the cigarette lighter adapter instead of the USB port, or use an auxiliary cable to connect your phone’s headphone port to the audio system directly.

Safe, happy travels!