Study: Loaned Car Provides License to Snoop
Do you think your neighbor is nosy, checking in when you're building something in the garage or when guests arrive at your home? Then you might want to have a good excuse ready in case they ask to borrow your car.

According to a study by, 72% of participants who borrowed a neighbor's car admitted to poking around inside to see what they could find. Neighbors weren't even the most-frequent offenders; that dubious honor goes to your co-workers, who snooped 79% of the time, followed by the person you're dating, snooping 77% of the time.

Still, of the 1,500 surveyed snoopers, neighbors, co-workers and romantic interests each comprised less than 10% of car borrowers. The ones you've really got to watch out for are your relatives and friends. The study found that 52% of participants had borrowed a relative's car and, of those, 56% had snooped. Among friends, 26% reported borrowing a pal's car and 67% of those snooped.

Men were more likely to snoop than women, with 77% of men owning up to it versus 44% of women. So what were they after? The most-frequent excuse — given by 41% of respondents — was that they were storing their own belongings. Other explanations included "looking for music" (22%), "just curious" (20%) and "searching for the vehicle's insurance card" (17%). The most-popular search spots were the center console (52%), the trunk (39%) and the glove compartment (35%).

So, what incriminating evidence or embarrassing artifacts did the snoopers uncover? Study participants — 72% of whom also said they reported their discoveries to the car owner — found:

  • Cell phones (27%)
  • Surprising photos (26%)
  • Liquor (23%)
  • Expired registration (23%)
  • Expired insurance (19%)
  • Medicine (18%)
  • Illegal substances (17%)
  • Guns (15%)
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News Editor Matt Schmitz is a veteran Chicago journalist indulging his curiosity for all things auto while helping to inform car shoppers.  Email Matt