What does it mean when you see a plastic bottle on your car tire?

I came out of the store and noticed a plastic water bottle jammed in between my front tire and the wheel well. I just took it out and drove off. I’m just now vaguely remembering something about that being some kind of bad sign. Is that true?

Patrick Price · Updated on
Reviewed by Shannon Martin, Licensed Insurance Agent.
Yes—a plastic bottle on your car tire can be a very bad sign. You should be very cautious, lock your car doors immediately, and contact the police. Do not park or idle in any out-of-the-way streets or parking lots.
When you see a plastic bottle on your car tire, it can sometimes indicate that you’ve been targeted by a carjacker.
Most of the time, people will not notice the bottle. They’ll simply get in their car and drive away with the bottle still jammed in there. This won’t damage your car, but it will make a very loud rattling sound that’s impossible to ignore.
The idea behind the trap is this: when the driver notices the extremely loud sound, they’ll pull over and investigate it, at which point the carjacker (who has been tailing them) will pounce. Depending on the perpetrator, the resulting confrontation could be nothing more than a startling inconvenience—or it could be a life-threatening situation.
The key right now is to remain calm. It might have simply been someone’s idea of a prank, or the would-be carjacker might have moved on to another target when they saw you remove the bottle. It’s unlikely they would have continued following you once they knew their trick had failed.
And, if you’ve driven a good distance away already, there’s a chance that you’re out of the woods. Even still, it’s best not to take any chances. Contact the police and let them know what’s going on. You’ll obviously want to give them your precise location.
Good luck! Stay safe and stay aware! Once you know the coast is clear, you can always download **
licensed insurance broker
car insurance savings
—to find the best insurance rates to boost your safety on the road.
View full answer 
Jerry partners with more than 50 insurance companies, but our content is independently researched, written, and fact-checked by our team of editors and agents. We aren’t paid for reviews or other content.

Join 4M+ members in lowering their car insurance

Easiest way to compare and buy car insurance

No long forms
No spam or unwanted phone calls
Quotes from top insurance companies
Find insurance savings — it's 100% free