Are carjackers really using plastic bottles in tires or is it just an urban legend?

A private security company in South Africa shared a post on Facebook in 2018, that is no longer available, claiming thieves were using plastic water bottles to hijack cars.

"The thief puts a plastic bottle without water and sticks it in the wheel. When the driver starts, he hears a very strange sound, it is the noise that is generated when the bottle is crushed. The driver comes out of the car to see what happened and the thieves immediately take advantage of that moment to get into the vehicle and take it in a very easy way."

The post was shared over 300,000 times in 2018 and has started popping up on Facebook again. Several sites have also shared the warning, including Valuable Stories. But is it real?

The FBI hasn't heard about it. "A representative told us they were unaware of any reports of carjackings involving plastic bottles," according to

The Bureau of Diplomatic Security warns of several carjacking tricks, but there's nothing about using plastic bottles.

The Bump: The attacker bumps the vehicle from behind. When you get out, the thief gets in and drives off.

Good Samaritan: The attacker(s) stage what appears to be an accident. You stop to help, they take your vehicle.

The Ruse: The thief fakes a break down or car trouble, or indicates your car has a problem, hoping you'll pull over to help or check.

"If you are bumped from behind or if someone tries to alert you to a problem with your vehicle, pull over only when you reach a safe public place. Think before stopping to assist in an accident. It may be safer to call and report the location, number of cars involved, and any injuries you observed," the report warns.

The bottle in the tire trick doesn't seem to hold any water. But it does remind us to stay vigilant when behind the wheel.

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