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Home Unsubstantiated Are Criminals Putting Magnets on Brake Discs to Hijack Cars?

Are Criminals Putting Magnets on Brake Discs to Hijack Cars?

by Brett M. Christensen

According to a warning message that is currently circulating via social media, criminals are using a new carjacking method which involves placing a magnet on one of the targeted car’s brake discs. 

Supposedly, the magnet will make a “huge noise” when the car is driven so that the driver will stop to investigate. The criminals can then attack the driver and take the car.

The message features an image showing what appears to be a small magnet on a brake disc.

However, at least so far, I can find no credible reports of such crimes occurring. If criminals were really using this technique, then there would almost certainly be police and news reports warning drivers about it. In fact, the only mention of the alleged crimes is in the circulating social media posts.

Moreover, the carjacking method described seems highly implausible.

Such a small magnet would almost certainly either fall off or be scraped off by the calliper within just a few meters. So, any noise would stop almost immediately and many drivers would continue their journey without stopping to investigate.

And, after placing the magnet, the would-be carjackers would need to wait around, possibly for long periods of time until the car owner returned and departed.

Moreover, even if the vehicle did make a loud noise, the driver might not be able to pull over immediately due to traffic or other factors. So, to complete their carjacking, the criminals would probably need to follow in another vehicle and hope that the driver did not pull over in a crowded location such as a service station where the planned attack would not be possible.

Plus, given that the criminals are apparently willing to brazenly attack drivers in open places, and patient enough to wait around for the drivers to return, why would they need to use the magnet method at all?  They could simply attack the driver when he or she returned to the vehicle, obtain the car keys and drive off.  Job done, no magnet necessary!

Certainly, drivers need to remain vigilant when returning to their vehicles,  especially if the vehicles are parked in isolated locations away from other people. And, if it does become necessary to pull over to deal with a problem, drivers should do so in a safe place near other people whenever possible.

But passing on unsubstantiated and implausible “warnings” such as this is unlikely to help keep anyone safe.

The message is reminiscent of the long-running “paper in the rear window” urban legend and other carjack “warnings” that have circulated via the Internet and word of mouth for decades.

An example of the message:

For everbody’s information! This seems to be a new trend to high jack cars. They put a magnet on your brake disk and when driving it makes a huge noise what would seem to be a problem with your car. When you stop get out and check they attack you. Please share this with your friends and family. Stay safe everyone.

Magnet on brake disk warning

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Brett Christensen