The Best Way to Track a Car is with a GPS Tracking Device.
GPS Trackers are small, portable devices that allow a car owner to monitor and locate their car when needed. They also have the potential to offer instant location, speed, and direction data.
This article explores everything you need to know about GPS Car Tracking.
How Does a GPS Car Tracker Work?
In general, GPS trackers for cars use the same technology that your smartphone does to connect to the internet and make calls.
All GPS trackers receive the same data from a network of satellites in the sky, calculate the location of the car, then send the data using the cellular network to a smartphone application or web browser.
Check out our detailed article on How GPS Works.
What Data Can You Get from a GPS Tracker?
A GPS for Car Tracking helps you track your car location by answering:
- Where is my car right now? (GPS Real-time Tracking)
- Where did my car travel? (GPS Logging History)
- Miles my car traveled this week or this month? (GPS Logging Distance)
- Was my car driven excessive speeds? (GPS Logging Speed)
Using a GPS Tracker to Locate your Car
Here are the steps you can follow to track your Car:
a) Buy a GPS car tracking device and install it in your car.
b) Use your mobile device or PC web browser to log in to the app.
c) Finally, click on the map or “Locate” button to see the location of your car or its last known location.
Find Your Parked Car
You can use a GPS tracker or even an old phone as a GPS tracker to find your parked car.
See more details on the best ways to find a parked car.
See Car Location History with GPS Logging?
GPS Logging is a great feature of a tracking device that records or logs a car’s driving location history including location, time, speed, and other data of the car at regular intervals, and stores it in its internal memory.
GPS Loggers are different from real-time GPS Trackers in that they do not transmit or receive the data via cellular signals. Think of it as a GPS Tracker that operates in “stealth” mode.
The data is saved to the device itself instead of being transmitted live (real-time). You can retrieve the logged data for review from your computer or mobile app.
Most GPS loggers make you retrieve the device and plug it into your computer to download the data.
There are very few that automatically upload the data when in range of your home Wi-Fi. For example, when your car pulls in the driveway, so there is no need to take it out of your car and then put it back later. Trakkit GPS does this.
Furthermore, since the data is not being transmitted live over the cellular network, there is no monthly service fee for the transmission of data.
GPS Loggers will Track Where Your Car has Been
GPS Loggers are one of the best ways to track where your car has been.
They don’t need to rely on cellular connections in order to track the car, and some will automatically upload the GPS Logs when back in range of home Wi-Fi.
GPS Loggers (Stealth) vs GPS Trackers (Real-time)
Car GPS trackers are devices that you put on a moving object like a car or bag to track its location in real-time. After connecting to the GPS tracker software such as Google Maps, you will see all the car location data.
On the other hand, GPS data loggers are not real-time trackers, they simply record the location history, where the car/device has traveled. The data collected is typically: date, time, location, heading, and speed, same as a real-time tracker.
You will want a GPS Tracking system that supports a full Logging mode and Real-time Tracking because it does not depend on cellular in the area to track the car’s location.
Benefits of GPS Logging to Track a Car
Compared with Real-Time Trackers, GPS Loggers have a few key advantages:
1. More Reliable (No Gaps in Tracking)
Since they don’t depend on cellular connectivity for operation, GPS Loggers will record the data as long as they are able to receive information from the GPS satellites. Proper installation in the vehicle will ensure this.
2. Works Everywhere (Land or Sea)
GPS is a global technology, so it can work whether on top of a mountain, on a street corner, or hundreds of miles out at sea.
3. Silent (Can’t be Detected)
Since GPS Loggers do not transmit radio signals while tracking, they are undetectable by GPS tracker detection devices or RF Sniffers.
Benefits of a GPS Tracker for your Car
If you are using a GPS tracker for personal use, you might only be interested in Geo-Fences navigation and real-time map display.
However, a business owner can use it to monitor hours of activity, road accident reports, fuel consumption, driving behavior, and much more for tax record purposes.
Here are the advantages that you can expect from a car GPS Tracker:
1. Easy to Use
All the essential information such as location data, vehicle status, etc. can be accessed using GPS software from anywhere on laptops, tablets, or smartphones.
2. Low Cost and Easy Installation
GPS trackers for cars can also be extremely cost-effective. Also, the installation of this device is simple. By tracking your car, you will also be able to calculate fuel consumption and keep a close eye on how many miles it has traveled in a specific time.
Furthermore, by having all the related data on one screen, you will be able to access answers to your questions correctly and speedily.
3. Safety and Security
Did you know 748,841 motor vehicles were stolen in 2018? If your car gets stolen and you installed a real-time GPS tracker in your car, you could use it to find out the exact location and perhaps recover your vehicle.
Also, during these times of the pandemic, it is important for drivers to practice good street parking and safety.
Car tracking devices usually send alerts to the owner if vibration or motion is detected in their car.
Another notification feature available is known as a geofence. It is an invisible perimeter set around the parked car. The tracker then alerts the owner when it moves outside or inside the set region.
This gives the owner of the car time to inform the police of the current or last known location and speed of the stolen car.
4. Lowers Downtime
Real-time GPS tracking allows you to manage route planning with ease. Planning speedy routes and making alterations in real-time helps you to cut fuel costs while saving time.
Moreover, finding the most effective route lowers wear and tear on the vehicle, and helps you to maintain the overall health of the vehicle and increase its lifespan.
5. Remote Disable (Optional)
Another cool feature of some GPS car tracking devices is remote disabling of the vehicle. There are tons of mobile apps available today that you can use to send messages to the car tracker to disable electronics of the car. (Ignition Cut-off)
6. Optimize Resources
GPS tracking solutions allow you to monitor your car 24*7 and get detailed insights on everything in real-time. With this data, you can use the resources efficiently by determining important money-saving areas.
7. Insurance Cost Reduction
A GPS tracking device in the car promotes safe driving. Also, some insurance agencies provide a discount of 25% or more if your car has a tracking or telematics device installed.
8. Easy Maintenance
Some GPS tracking systems are usually loaded with highly advanced telematic features such as fuel level indicators, vehicle diagnostics, and engine temperature indicators.
Using automatic mileage reminders, the owner can prevent time wastage through vehicle maintenance. It also helps you avoid wear and tear issues like flat tires.
This helps to monitor the overall health of the vehicle. Also, you do not need to go to a mechanic and spend money for a routine inspection. The data from the software system helps you determine when an inspection is required.
9. Speed Monitoring
A real-time GPS tracker sends alerts to the owner if the driver exceeds the set speed limit. This can lower the risk of accidents.
10. Track your Car and your Teen Driver
Overprotective and worried parents can put their minds at ease with a GPS tracker. With the right device installed in a teenager’s car, they can monitor his or her car’s location in real-time.
You can get speed alerts if the car is driven too fast.
11. Boosted Productivity
As per the research study by Frost and Sullivan, GPS systems can increase the productivity of vehicle use by 10 to15%.
Vehicle tracking devices are also beneficial for the owner of big fleets of trucks or trailers. Some trackers offer real-time and logging modes. They use technology to keep an eye on where their trucks are at a particular time.
It helps them track mileage, assets, and manage everyday operations with ease while drastically reducing costs. Moreover, it also allows you to increase the number of trips per day. More trips mean more business and better revenue.
Tracking your RV also adds security and trip recording.
12. Maximize Vehicle Use
GPS trackers help you to get the most out of your vehicle. You can use data analysis to lower the vehicle’s idle time. By knowing the location of the car at all times, dispatchers can alert customers in advance.
13. Keep Customers Happy
If you have a business or fleet of vehicles, you will be able to reply to the service calls fast and reach customers on time allowing you to deliver incredible customer service and make customers happy.
In addition to that, for customers who have billed on an hourly basis, exact billing can be generated from GPS data.
14. Reduces Paperwork
Global Positioning Systems GPS helps you to track a car and store every minute detail automatically. It also showcases all the data in a user-friendly digital format whenever required.
Also, you can send reports via email on a monthly, weekly, or daily basis. It lowers the need for unnecessary paperwork and boosts the efficiency of drivers, bookkeepers, fleet managers, and dispatchers.
15. Better Finance Management
Car GPS tracking systems may offer detailed log data. Business owners can use them to prepare loss and profit statements every month using the correct location of financial resources for fleet management and tax mileage calculations.
16. Increase Brand Reputation
Brand image is essential for business owners. With speedy response time, effective service, errorless invoicing, responsible driving behavior, business reputation improves automatically.
17. Helps you Stay Compliant
Catering to every government regulation is a big challenge for business owners. It becomes tougher when all the maintenance, vehicle, and driver data are in diverse spots or spread across different logbooks.
However, the use of GPS car tracking software allows you to generate reports on-the-go and stay compliant.
Track a Car without a GPS or Tracking System
Most cars do not have any tracking devices or GPS installed. Some newer cars do have a tracking system, but you can’t access that information unless you are the car owner and subscribe to their service i.e. Onstar, etc.
However, you can use a cell phone (iPhone or Android) as a free way to track a car without someone knowing.
See the next section for details.
Track a Car for Free with a Cell Phone
You can use a phone as a GPS tracker to easily track a car. You may even have an old phone lying around that you can put to use. You could use your own phone, put it in the car and monitor it from your laptop.
A tablet or iPad could also work as a tracker if they have cellular built-in.
Just install the Trakkit app on the phone and place it in the car secretly.
Here are more details on using a cell phone to track a car.
Where to Buy a GPS Tracker for Your Car?
You can buy cool vehicle tracking devices in Big Box stores, or online from the vendors that deal with electronic items.
Since GPS location data gets transmitted in real-time over a cellular network, the live tracker has a monthly service fee.
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were no monthly fees, and you could have 10 GPS trackers for your belongings i.e. one for each car, one for each bike, kids backpack, etc.
Where to Install GPS Tracking Device in your Car?
You can install a GPS Tracker just about anywhere in your car. This includes:
- Underfloor mats or seats
- In the rear or front bumper
- Wheel wells outside the vehicle
- In the glove compartment or dash
- See a perfect hidden location to install a GPS Tracker
Note: For some tracking purposes, GPS trackers can be installed under the dashboard via onboard diagnostics (OBD) port. However, they are easy to find or can be bumped by drivers’ legs.
Things to Look For in a Car GPS Tracking Device
Car GPS tracking solutions are excellent for both businesses and individuals. However, picking the right kind of device can be challenging, especially if you have never bought one before.
The cost of Car GPS tracking devices ranges from $50 to $150. Also, most of the vendors charge monthly fees for the real-time cellular (sim card), and storing valuable GPS data in Cloud. Thus, you need to ensure that you get the best device while staying within your budget.
b) Special Features
Another important thing you need to consider is the special features in the device like a great mobile and desktop App, downloadable driving reports, etc.
c) Power (Batteries vs Hardwired)
Today you will find tons of car trackers that have durable batteries, while other models directly connect to your car.
If you do not want the hassle of recharging or replacing batteries, hard-wiring, or plugging in the tracker is highly recommended.
How to Find Hidden Tracker on Your Car?
If you suspect a GPS tracker is hidden in your car, follow these steps:
Step 1: Perform Interior Inspection
Best GPS car trackers are usually small, portable, and hidden anywhere on the target vehicle. Thus, it’s a good idea to check every nook and corner of the interior.
Step 2: Inspect Exteriors
Most trackers are hidden on the exterior of the car in easy-to-reach locations. Use a flashlight and mirror to inspect under the vehicle, inside wheels, under bumpers.
Step 3: Use an RF Bug Detector
GPS bug detectors use radio frequency signals to identify a GPS device. It will help you to uncover if someone has placed the hidden tracker in your car.
How to Use an Bug Detector?
a) Turn off all the electronic devices
Switch off all the electronic devices that are within 500 feet range. It includes:
- Cordless Phones
- Wifi Routers
- Portable Wifi Hotspot
- Cell Phones
- Bluetooth Devices
Doing this will help you prevent false signal detections.
b) Move your car to a ball field or park where there are no people or overhead wires nearby.
c) Switch on the bug detector and drive around 15 to 20 minutes slowly but in large circles around the parking lot.
d) Real-time GPS trackers send location signals at a rate of 10, 30, or 60 seconds apart. So if you found that pattern, it is confirmed that there is a Live Tracking device on a vehicle.
Step 5: Seek Expert Mechanic Help
If you see a waterproof back box attached to the vehicle with a magnet. Pull it off and see the GPS car tracker hidden in it.
If you are not able to find it, seek help from a professional mechanic. He or she will dismantle everything to locate the hidden car tracking device.
Step 6: Remove Hidden Car Tracker
Most GPS car trackers are battery operated. If you find one, take out the battery.
However, if the tracker is hard-wired to the car, it’s a good idea to seek expert help. They know which wire to cut to prevent location tracking, and some trackers also have ignition cut-off as part of their operation.
The Downside of GPS Tracking Devices for your Car
Of course, there is a dark side of automobile GPS logging and tracking devices.
1. Privacy Concerns
Some people might want to track a car without the owner knowing. The feeling of being watched continuously leads to embarrassment, low morale, and a feeling of resentment, not to mention the possible illegality of tracking someone. Therefore, it’s best to check your state and local laws before placing a tracking device on a vehicle you don’t own.
2. Battery Usage
As discussed, most car trackers use cell service to offer real-time location data. This will drain the GPS device’s battery very quickly. So, it would need to be retrieved from the vehicle, charged, then put back in.
Although GPS tracker technology was created initially for military applications, it has turned out to be an invaluable tool in people’s daily lives.
The many features of GPS car trackers can give car owners security, and peace of mind that was not available with older technology.
Get a high-quality GPS Tracker today to make your life easier.
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How Can I Track My Car
You can put a GPS Tracker in your Car either on the outside or inside the car to track the current location of your car as well a route history of where it has been.
Can you Track a Car with Bluetooth
Yes, but you would need a bluetooth tracking device in the car and people with special apps installed on their phone. Bluetooth does not have much range.
However, you can use a WiFi GPS Tracker, like Trakkit to track your car.
Can you Track a Car with a Phone
Yes, there are apps for mobile phones that can be a GPS Tracker, the Trakkit app will do this.