The best way to track where your car has been is with a GPS Tracking Device.
GPS trackers are small, portable devices that allow a vehicle owner to monitor and locate their vehicle at all times. 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 Vehicle Tracker Work?
As a general thought is that Car GPS tracking devices typically use the same technology that your smartphone does to connect to the internet and make calls.
It means all GPS trackers share the data by broadcasting the coordinates of the vehicle periodically using a network of satellites to a smartphone application or web browser.
Check out our detailed article on How GPS Works.
What Information Can You Get from a GPS Tracker Device?
GPS for car tracking gives you detailed information about:
- Where is my car right now?
- Where did the car travel?
- How many miles has my car traveled this week or this month?
- Was the car driven excessive speeds?
Using a GPS Tracker to Locate your Car
Owners can use GPS devices to locate their vehicle in two ways:
Here are the steps you can follow to track your vehicle:
a) Buy a GPS car tracking device and place it in the vehicle.
b) Now use your mobile device or PC web browser to log in by filling your username and password.
c) Finally, click “Find my Position” or “Locate” button to see the location of your car, or its last known location.
What is GPS Logging?
A GPS Logger is another type of tracking device that records the location, time, speed, and other data of the vehicle at regular intervals in its internal memory. It may either have an internal flash memory card, USB port, or memory card slot.
They 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 “silent” mode.
So, the data is saved to the device itself instead of being transmitted live (real-time). You can retrieve the logged data to download into the computer or import it into GPS software to be viewed on a Map.
Most GPS loggers make you retrieve the device and plug it in 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, no need to take it out of your car and then put it back later.
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 Data Loggers versus GPS Trackers
Car GPS trackers are the electronic devices that you put on the 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 get all the data.
On the other hand, GPS data loggers are not real-time trackers, they simply record the location where the device has traveled. The data collected is typically: date, time, location, heading, and speed.
Benefits of GPS Logging
As with most technology, real time trackers and GPS loggers have both positive and negative sides.
Here are the benefits of GPS Loggers:
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
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.
Since GPS Loggers do no transmitting, this makes them undetectable by GPS tracker detection devices or RF Sniffers.
The Downside of GPS Tracking Devices
Of course, there is a dark side of automobile GPS logging and tracking devices.
1. Privacy Concerns
Some people might use trackers without alerting the vehicle owner. 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 someone’s vehicle.
2. Battery Usage
As discussed, most of the GPS car trackers use cell service to offer real time location data. This can drain the gps device’s battery very quickly. So, it would need to be retrieved from the vehicle, charged, then put back in.
Benefits of a GPS Tracker for your Car
If you are using a GPS tracker for personal use, you might only be interested in Geofences navigation and real-time map display.
However, a business owner uses it to monitor hours of activity, road accident reports, fuel consumption, driving behavior, and much more. It helps them improve their customer service and make better decisions.
Here are the advantages that you can expect from 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 vehicles 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. Boosted Safety and Health
Did you know 748,841 motor vehicles were stolen in 2018? If your car gets stolen and you had installed a tracker in your car, you could use it to find out the exact location and recover your vehicle instantly.
Car tracking devices usually send automatic alerts to the owner about any suspicious behavior via SMS text or email.
This notification feature is available via a function known as a geofence. It is an invisible parameter set around the parked car. The car tracker alters the owner when it moves outside the set region.
It gives the owner vehicle time to inform the police. Also, by seeing the location on the app using the data for GPS vehicle tracking device offers excellent peace of mind.
4. Lowers Downtime
Real-time GPS tracking allows you to manage route planning with much ease. Planning speedy routes and making alterations in real-time helps you to cut fuel costs while saving time.
Moreover, hunting the most effective route lowers wear and tear on the vehicle helps you to maintain the overall health of the vehicle and increasing its lifespan.
5. Remote Disabling
Another cool feature of a GPS car tracking device is remote disabling of vehicles. There are tons of mobile apps available today that businessmen 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 vehicle 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
GPS tracking device in the car promotes safe driving. Also, most of the insurance agencies provide a discount of 25% or more when they spot a tracking device fitted in the vehicle.
8. Easy Vehicle Maintenance
GPS tracking systems are usually loaded with highly advanced telematic features such as fuel level indicators, vehicle diagnostics, and engine temperature indicator.
Using automatic mileage reminder, the owner can prevent time wastage through vehicle maintenance. It also helps you avoid penalties for problems like flat tires.
It helps you 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 of the driver exceed the set speed limit. It lowers the risks of accidents.
10. Track where your Teens Are
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 locations in real-time.
11. Boosted Productivity
As per the research study by Frost and Sullivan, GPS systems can increase productivity and vehicle use by 10 to15% and 15 to 20%, respectively.
Vehicle tracking devices are also beneficial for the owner of big fleets of trucks or cars. Some trackers offer real-time and logging modes. They use technology to keep an eye on where their vehicles 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.
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
Your fleet will be able to reply to the service calls fast and reach customers on time. It helps 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 help you to track and store every minute detail automatically. It also showcases all the data in the 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 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.
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.
Where to Buy Car GPS Trackers?
You can buy cool vehicle tracking devices in Big Box stores (such as Best Buy, Walmart, Amazon, etc.) 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. Yuk!
Wouldn’t it be nice if there were no monthly fees, and you could have 10 gps trackers at your disposal 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
- In the glove compartment
Note: For fleet tracking purposes, install GPS trackers on the dashboard via onboard diagnostics (OBD) port.
Things to Look For in a GPS Tracker for your Car
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.
Cost of Car GPS tracking devices ranges from $25 to $150. Also, most of the operators 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 in 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, everyday driving reports, etc.
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 a highly recommended.
How to Find Hidden GPS Tracker on Your Car?
If you find a GPS tracker hidden in your vehicle, follow these steps:
Step 1: Perform Interior Inspection
Best GPS car tracking is usually small, portable, and hidden anywhere on the target vehicle. Thus, it’s the best idea to check every nook and corner of interiors.
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 and wheels.
Step 3: Use 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 a 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 vehicle to all ball fields or parks where there are no people and 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) Live GPS vehicle 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 GPS Car Tracker
Most GPS car trackers are battery operated. If you find one, take out the battery.
However, if the tracker is hard-wired into ground or power, 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.
Although GPS tracker technology was created initially for the military application, it has turned out to be an invaluable tool in the life of people.
The many features of GPS car trackers can give car owners security, and piece of mind that was not available with older technology.
Get a high-quality car GPS tracker today to make your everyday life easier.