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The Worst Apple Accessory for Your New Car

Believe it or not, one of the worst accessories you can put in your new car is made by Apple.

Is your car worth your life? That is one question a new car owner needs to make today after buying a new car and deciding to place an Apple AirTag on their vehicle as a precaution in case of theft.

What Accessory Should You Never Put in Your New Car?

The Apple AirTag is a popular device designed by Apple that many travelers use to not only successfully keep track of their luggage while flying from one destination to the next, but primarily to eventually locate lost luggage and (with some luck) be able to recover it without too much trouble.

Another use that is growing in popularity is using it to track and recover your stolen car. But is this a good idea?

Related article: The Easiest Way to Steal a Toyota Warning

AirTag Related Vehicle Theft News

In an earlier article, I reported on a case where a man’s motorcycle was stolen, of which he had previously hidden an Apple AirTag on it just in case it should ever be stolen. Through the use of his iPhone, the owner of the motorbike was able to locate it within a general area that included a house, a garage, and a large van all of which could potentially contain the stolen motorbike.

However, upon calling the police and getting them to arrive at the iPhone pinged location, the police refused to do anything about it due to that the Fourth Amendment prevents the police from entering the premises (house, garage, and large van) without what they consider to be probable cause. Only if the motorbike was visible to the public could the police intercede.

A more recent case of a stolen vehicle tracked by its owner is one recently reported by NBC News (Long Beach, California) where the owner after calling the police for help in recovering his car that he tracked at a gas station, wound up taking the matter into his own hands rather than risk the thief driving away before police could arrive.

Here’s a video of the News story about what happened:

California man uses an Apple AirTag to track his stolen car


The Limitations of AirTag Tracking Stolen Items

As reported, the owner of the stolen vehicle confronted the assumed thief at the gas station who then ran away leaving behind the owner’s car as well as the thief’s wallet with his I.D. A slam dunk for the owner not only getting his car back, but also an expected easy arrest of the thief for justice’s sake.

Right? Probably not.

If you follow the comments of several posts from a recent Steve Lehto YouTube channel episode where the lawyer/host discusses the case, you will find that law enforcement rarely ever gets involved in cases involving owners who are telling the police where their car and the perp are thanks to the magic of Apple AirTag.

Why is this? Is it laziness on the part of law enforcement officers? In some cases…perhaps. But the likelihood of law enforcement refusing to pursue an AirTag pinged call to action is due to the unfortunate truth that large metropolitan agencies are strapped with too many other cases to deal with that are of a more serious nature than a stolen car. Call it "law enforcement triage" if you will.

Another valid point is that it has to do with the risk of liability for the officers.

For example, someone falsely pointing a finger at an enemy with a bogus accusation using the police as a dupe. It happens and can cost an officer not only their livelihood, but their life as well should the officer be duped into confronting the wrong person based solely on another person’s word. The potential scenarios are endless.

For more about how Stever Lehto’s take on the recovered stolen car, here is the video posted below:

Man Tracks His Own Stolen Car w/Airtag And Takes it Back


Why the Apple AirTag is Bad for Car Owners

Steve Lehto had it right when he advised viewers that attempting to recover your stolen car is not unlike the idea of citizen’s arrest. According to the host, a “self-help is fraught with peril” notion in the legal sense is akin to taking your life in your own hands when it comes to a crime committed by someone else and attempting to do something about it whether it be to physically stop a criminal from fleeing he scene of a crime or deciding to act on your AirTag info to find a thief and reclaim your stolen car. At gunpoint? With two guns pointed at each other? Is your car really worth risking your life over?!

And what if you are located to the home of someone who unknowingly purchased your stolen car? Can you really take a chance on just getting in the car and driving away when the “new owner” feels justified in stopping you at gunpoint?!

The point I am making is that recovering a car from a thief, a repo man, a tow truck driver, etc., really is a “self-help is fraught with peril” situation that could easily go from bad to worse and is worth reconsidering if you have an Apple AirTag or similar device in your car right now.

The Better (i.e., Safer) Way to Protect Yourself and Your Car

To learn more about better options and accessories for protecting yourself and your car at the same time, here is an informative article titled “Consumer Reports Recommended Anti-Theft Protection for Your Car, Plus a Toyota Tundra Crazy Theft Story and How It Happened.”

For additional car theft related articles, here are three for your consideration:

Timothy Boyer is an automotive reporter based in Cincinnati. Experienced with early car restorations, he regularly restores older vehicles with engine modifications for improved performance. Follow Tim on Twitter at @TimBoyerWrites  and Facebook for daily news and topics related to new and used cars and trucks.

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