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Buyers Guide & Information

Best Hidden GPS Trackers for Cars Reviewed

Find where your car is in real-time with these highly-rated and reliable tracking GPS devices.

by

Buyers Guide & Information

Best Hidden GPS Trackers for Cars Reviewed

Find where your car is in real-time with these highly-rated and reliable tracking GPS devices.

by PITeam

by PITeam

Keeping a car safe from theft is not something that all drivers worry about, but it should be. Just as you keep your home safe from theft, the same should be done for your vehicle. Installing a GPS tracker within your car can help with this by providing you with your car’s location at all times.

The best GPS tracker for cars isn’t just meant to protect a driver from crime, though. This little device provides real-time tracking, so it is perfect for keeping tabs on loved ones. It also gives fleet managers the ability to monitor their employees. Top GPS tracking models offer everything from live speed alerts to detailed route history. Not only is this helpful for keeping your car safe, but also anyone who is behind the wheel.

If you’re on board with taking anti-theft measures and ensuring that loved ones remain safe and sound behind the wheel, follow this guide on the best GPS tracker for cars. All of the reviews mentioned here cover high-quality magnetic GPS devices for real-time tracking.

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Product

Battery Type/Life

Memory/Storage Capacity

Check Price

MasTrack- Premium Car GPS Tracker W/No Monthly Fee...

MasTrack Premium

OBD-II

Historical Time/Unlimited

AMERICALOC 300 Mini Portable Real Time Personal...

AMERICALOC GL300W

Rechargeable, 14 Days

Historical Time/1 Year

GPSit1000BZL LTE Vehicle Tracking Device with 1...

GPSit1000BZL

OBD II or Hardwired

Historical Time/Unlimited

Automatic PRO AUT-350  Connected Car OBD II...

Automatic AUT-450C

OBD II

Historical Time/Unlimited

GPS Tracker - Optimus 2.0 - 4G LTE Tracking Device...

Optimus 2.0 

Rechargeable, 14 Days

Historical Time/Unlimited

Spytec STI 2019 Model GL300MA GPS Tracker- 4G LTE...

SpyTec STI GL300

Rechargeable, 14 Days

Historical Time/1 Year

bouncie - Connected Car - 15 Second Updates -...

bouncie

OBD II

Historical Time/Unlimited

MasTrack - Hardwired Live GPS Vehicle Tracker -...

MasTrack MT-131

Hardwired

Historical Time/Unlimited

LandAirSea 54 Waterproof Magnet Mount Real Time 4G...

LandAirSea 54

Rechargeable, 14 days

Historical Time/Unlimited

GPS Tracker Vyncs No Monthly Fee OBD, Real Time 3G...

Vyncs

OBD II

Historical Time/Unlimited

How Car GPS Trackers Work

Similar to a phone’s Google Maps app or your vehicle’s built-in navigation system, a GPS tracker works by using a series of government-operated satellites. A GPS tracking device uses these satellites to determine its location in real-time. The difference between a navigation app or built-in car maps is that a GPS tracker does not provide guidance or direction. It simply monitors and records driving habits and vehicle location.


Benefits of Using Car GPS Tracker

Knowing exactly where your vehicle is at all times is the main benefit of using a car GPS tracker. As long as the device is hidden within your car, you'll be able to track the vehicle wherever it goes. If your vehicle is ever stolen, you'll be able to inform law enforcement of the vehicle's exact whereabouts. Of course, it isn't recommended that you track down your car on your own in a situation like this.

If you’re the parent of a new teenage driver, you might be on the fence about installing a tracking device within the car that your child will be driving. But as long as you legally own the vehicle, you absolutely have the right to do this as a parent. Parents can check on their child's location, monitor driving habits, and, overall, ensure that their child is safe.

An owner of a large vehicle fleet can also greatly benefit from GPS tracking technology. This allows a fleet owner to manage daily operations better while the vehicles are on the road. GPS trackers are extremely useful for tracking mileage, which makes bookkeeping and reimbursement to the drivers much simpler.


Choosing High-Quality Hidden GPS Trackers

Construction & Design

Since this device will be kept within a vehicle, considering the durability of a GPS tracking model is essential. You’ll need a tracker that is shock and abrasion-resistant, resistant to both hot and cold weather, and water-resistant. Although a hidden GPS tracker for car is small, it must be durable.

As far as design goes, you don’t want anything too flashy. Remember, this device is meant to remain hidden, which is why manufacturers create these devices to be small and inconspicuous. Most hidden GPS trackers for cars come in black or a dark shade of grey.

Display

In most cases, a GPS tracker does not actually come with a screen on the device. All of the information tracked and logged by the device can be readily accessed by a smartphone, tablet, or computer, so there’s really no need for a screen on the actual tracker. However, there are some models that do contain a small LCD screen to help with setup and functioning.

If you do wish to have a display screen on the device, you’ll want to choose one that is high in quality and easy to read. Some trackers come with a small touchscreen while others come with buttons; the one you choose is just based on personal preference. But keep in mind that a display screen is not necessary. In fact, most of the best GPS trackers for cars have no screen.

Location Update & Live Speed Alert

Considering how often a location is updated is a huge factor in the buying decision. Ideally, your GPS tracker will update location constantly, so you can literally track the vehicle in real-time as it moves. Unfortunately, there is a downside to constant location updates. Most of these devices require a monthly subscription, and regular location updates typically require a higher monthly fee.

If you invest in a device that offers live speed alerts, you’ll be alerted when the driver is excessively speeding. Some monthly providers allow you to set this alert for 5 or 10 MPH over the speed limit because let's face it; even the best drivers have a habit of driving a few miles per hour over the limit.

Geofencing/Safe Zones Alert

Geofencing is the practice of setting specific geographic boundaries with the help of the Global Positioning System. If you wish for your car to stay within certain boundaries, you’ll want to invest a tracker with geofencing capabilities. You can set the “virtual boundary” to be as large or small as you’d like. When the car goes out of the set boundaries, you’ll be sent an instant alert to your mobile device.

Battery

A GPS tracker without a proper battery is rendered useless. Modern GPS trackers for cars are often equipped with a rechargeable Lithium battery. This means you will have to remove the device from the car now and then to recharge. Most internal batteries can last between 1 and 2 weeks before needing a recharge. Of course, battery life depends on how often the tracking device is used.

If you’re not on board with removing the tracker from the car every week to recharge, you’ll need to consider an alternative power source. Some GPS trackers can plug into a vehicle’s onboard diagnostics connector, which is located under the dash where the driver’s legs extend. The other option is to use a tracker that hardwires directly to the vehicle. This isn’t ideal for some since it takes more time to install.

Wireless & Radio Capability

Since a GPS tracker is meant to broadcast location in real-time, there needs to be some sort of connectivity. These days, most trackers are designed to provide a wireless connection, typically using 2G or 3G networks. This is the main reason that these handy devices require a monthly fee.

The less advanced option is to use a radio-capable device. This type of tracker utilizes radio transponders to transmit exact location information, and it is more common among government agencies. This is the old-school way of doing it, so it is much more likely for your tracking device to use a wireless connection.

Reception Quality & Ease of Use

The quality of reception depends on the GPS technology provider you choose. Real-time tracking won’t be possible without decent reception. This is why reading reviews on the device, as well as the provider, is essential. Another aspect that challenges how well a user can track a vehicle is the device's ease of use. Choose a tracker that you actually understand and feel comfortable with.

Versatility/Extra Features

Versatility has a lot to do with a GPS tracker’s specific software. Some manufacturers have created their own software and even designed their own mobile applications. Other companies only offer the ability to view tracking data from the official company website. Having the ability to view and supervise your vehicle from a smartphone app is extremely convenient, so it’s something you should consider.

Some GPS trackers offer only the basics, while others go all out in terms of extra features. Geofencing capabilities is a cool bonus, but there's a lot more that a tracking device can offer. If you want as many features as possible, look for functions like detailed driving history reports, vehicle maintenance alerts, and towing alerts.

Dimensions & Weight

Since this device is intended to be hidden, it needs to be small. Dimensions of the best GPS trackers for cars vary, but they should always be able to fit in the palm of your hand. Weight isn’t as much of a concern as dimensions, but opting for a lightweight tracker is aways the more convenient choice.

Price & Warranty

No matter what you're buying, price should always be a concern. This is especially true for GPS trackers since, more often than not, they also require a monthly operation fee. Depending on the provider you choose, paying for the tracking service each month can add up. This is why there’s no need to pay hundreds of dollars for the device itself.

There are, however, exceptions to this rule. Some GPS trackers require no monthly fee, and some providers offer the service for free for the first year of operation. In this case, you might be willing to pay a bit more for the tracking device. Whatever your budget may be, look for a device that comes with warranty coverage. Most tracking devices offer a warranty period of at least 1 year.


10 Best Hidden Car GPS Trackers Reviewed

1. MasTrack Premium

Our Top Pick

Dimensions

1.8 x 1.5 x 1 in

Weight

2.08 oz

Battery Type/Life

OBD-II

Memory/Storage Capacity

Historical Time/Unlimited

Warranty

1 Year

Our top pick for a hidden car GPS tracker is the MasTrack device, and it’s not just because MasTrack is offering 1 year of premium service to customers. Sure, one year without fees is a huge perk, but it’s not the only benefit. In addition to 12 months of prepaid real-time tracking services with 1-minute updates, MasTrack has created a product that requires no installation whatsoever.

This means that as soon as you receive your new car GPS tracker, you can start using it instantly. As soon as you plug in the device to your vehicle’s OBD-II port, you’re ready to begin tracking, no tools required. Once plugged in, the device will automatically start tracking. It will alert you every time the vehicle is turned and make reports based on your preset preferences.

Like all GPS trackers, the MasTrack is capable of tracking speed and location, but it does so much more than that. A user can also set speed thresholds, monitor harsh braking and rapid acceleration, receive maintenance alerts, and be alerted in the event of towing. The premium membership that comes with purchase includes live map updates, 24/7 access, and unlimited reporting/alerts.

Many MasTrack accessories can be used with the car tracker, but it's not necessary to purchase any additionally. You'll be able to access all the information mentioned above with whatever device works for you. If the high price tag isn't for you, you have the option to purchase the tracker without the Premium subscription. However, doing this will cost you more in the long run because you'll have to pay a fee each month.

Pros

  • No installation required
  • 12 months of Premium service
  • Geofencing and speed alerts
  • Easy-to-schedule maintenance reminders

Cons

  • High cost
  • MasTrack app needs improvement

2. AMERICALOC GL300W

Runner Up

Dimensions

2.7 x 1.51 x .92 in

Weight

2.24 oz

Battery Type/Life

Rechargeable, 14 Days

Memory/Storage Capacity

Historical Time/1 Year

Warranty

1 Year

The Americaloc GL300W car GPS tracker deserves our recognition as the runner up for the best GPS tracker for cars. This device doesn’t just help to enhance the safety of a vehicle, but also the safety of the people and assets within the car. You can engage in real-time tracking from a computer, tablet, or phone in almost any country around the world, including the US, Canada, and Europe.

Unlike the MasTrack, this tracker is portable and does not need to be connected to a power source. It does, however, need to be charged before using. This shouldn’t be a problem since it has an impressive battery life with extended multicarrier coverage. Battery life is measured in days and even weeks rather than hours.

Depending on the settings you choose with your Americaloc subscription, you’ll receive alerts for speeding, vehicle on/off, geofencing, and low device battery. Of course, you’ll also have access to real-time tracking with 1 year of tracking history. While a vehicle is moving, tracking updates happen every minute, but it can be configured to update every 30 or 10 seconds instead.

When you read about Americaloc, it becomes obvious that the company's primary goal is to make your life easier. This is why they have created an easy-to-use product that requires no installation. Just charge the device, and it's ready to provide you with real-time alerts and updates. The only negativity is that the device needs to removed from the vehicle to be recharged.

Pros

  • Battery life up to 2 weeks
  • 1 year of tracking history
  • No contract, no cancellation fee
  • Free 10 or 30-second updates

Cons

  • Must remove for recharging

3. GPSit1000BZL

Best No Monthly Fee Model

Dimensions

4 x 2 x .07 in

Weight

1.92 oz

Battery Type/Life

OBD II or Hardwired

Memory/Storage Capacity

Historical Time/Unlimited

Warranty

1 Year

If you’re trying to avoid paying a monthly service fee for your car tracking needs, you'll want to invest in the GPSit1000BZL. This is the best no-monthly fee model on the market right now. It's perfect for keeping track of your teenage driver, checking in on your elderly parent, and preventing vehicle theft. The GPSit is highly accurate, especially since the company’s new 1000BZL model was released.

This device does not run on a rechargeable battery, so you have 2 separate options for installation. The first is to hardwire the device, which takes a bit of knowledge of car mechanics. The simpler installation method is to use the OBD adapter, but you’ll need to purchase this separately. Whichever installation method you choose, you’ll love this tracking device as soon as you start using it.

In terms of functionality, the GPSit includes mobile access for iOS, Android, and Windows devices. It is the most affordable fleet tracking solution on the market, mainly thanks to the fact that there are no hidden fees and no contract requirements. If you’re not thrilled with the performance of this device or you decide that you no longer need vehicle tracking, you can cancel at any time with no fees.

So far, the only negative feedback regarding this device is that the OBD adapter must be purchased separately. You can either make this purchase on Amazon or go directly to the GPSit online store. You don’t necessarily need this extra adapter, but for the simplest installation process, it will definitely prove to be helpful.

Pros

  • Newer LTE model
  • No contract and no monthly fees
  • 2 installation options
  • Turn-by-turn location updates

Cons

  • Separate OBD adapter
  • Larger than the rest

4. Automatic AUT-450C

Best for Real-Time Car Tracking

Dimensions

1.75 x 2 x 1 in

Weight

1.2 oz

Battery Type/Life

OBD II

Memory/Storage Capacity

Historical Time/Unlimited

Warranty

18 Months

Pretty much every car tracker on the market these days provides users with real-time tracking. But some GPS trackers are better than others when it comes to real-time location and speed updates. For the best of the best when it comes to tracking in real-time, you’ll want to use the Automatic AUT-450C tracking device.

The highly-accurate tracker offers real-time insight for car tracking, roadside assistance, and vehicle diagnostics. Many AUT-450 reviewers claim that this device saved them in the embarrassing event of losing the car in a huge parking lot or garage. The parked car locator is one of the all-time favorite features of this tracker.

If you’re wondering how it works, it's relatively simple. The device features an OBD plug-in installation, so it takes less than a minute to set everything up. Just download the free Automatic app and start using your 6 months of Premium service. Not only will you receive 6 months of Premium access, but you’ll receive the Automatic Select Service for 3 years - all for free with purchase. You can visit the Automatic website to see what’s included with each of these membership packages.

Pros

  • Up to 3 years of free services
  • Easy-to-track driving history
  • Provides vehicle diagnostics
  • 24/7 roadside assistance

Cons

  • Not suitable for pre-1996 vehicles
  • No international service

5. Optimus 2.0 

Best Cheap GPS Tracker for Car

Dimensions

1 x 1.5 x 3 in

Weight

3.36 oz

Battery Type/Life

Rechargeable, 14 Days

Memory/Storage Capacity

Historical Time/Unlimited

Warranty

Limited Lifetime (with active subscription)
90 Days (without a subscription)

Anyone on a tight budget will love this next reviewed product. The Optimus 2.0 may be the best cheap GPS tracker for car, but there’s nothing cheap about the performance of this device. This battery-operated tracker utilizes 4G LTE connectivity and offers customizable report frequency every 30 seconds while a vehicle is in motion. If you’d like upgrades every 10 seconds, you’ll have to pay an additional fee.

Users can download the Optimus iPhone or Android app for easy and fast-tracking. There's even a unique routing feature meant for private investigators. Choose between email or text message alerts for vehicle movement, speeding, leaving or entering an area, driving reports, and low device battery. The tracker comes with a SIM card and data plan included, and you’ll just have to pay $19.95 per month, which is fairly average compared to other GPS tracking providers.

Since a rechargeable battery powers this, it can be placed anywhere in a vehicle. This is an essential feature for anyone wanting to keep this device as inconspicuous as possible. Securely place the device in the trunk or under the driver’s seat while never worrying about it being found. Recharging the battery only has to be done twice a month thanks to the impressive 2-week battery life.

All in all, the low cost but high performance of this GPS tracker makes it a top pick. Just remember that you will have to pay for the tracking services with a monthly $19.95 fee. This adds up to nearly $240 each year, but it is worth every penny. If you’re not happy with the service, you can cancel at any time with no contract and no cancellation fees.

Pros

  • SIM and data plan included
  • Displays battery percentage
  • Free 30-second tracking updates
  • Alerts via SMS or email

Cons

  • Limited to the US
  • $240/yr in subscription fees

6. SpyTec STI GL300MA

Best Portable Option

Dimensions

3 x 1 x 1.5 in

Weight

2.11 oz

Battery Type/Life

Rechargeable, 14 Days

Memory/Storage Capacity

Historical Time/1 Year

Warranty

Limited Lifetime

Want to track your property as discretely as possible? You’ll want to invest in the best portable option, which is without a doubt the SpyTec STI GL300 tracking device. Even though this device is small, it is powerful. It’s the perfect solution for tracking vehicles, teens, spouses, elderly drivers, and assets. The compact size means that it will go undetected.

Users are required to pay $25 per month for accessing the tracking features, but this is a fair price for all that you get in return. You’ll be able to track and map in real-time over the internet and receive geofencing alerts when a person leaves a "virtual boundary." The battery is rechargeable and can last up to 2 weeks, depending on the amount of use. There is also the option to upgrade to a 6-month battery pack.

To start tracking, follow these 3 easy steps: (1) secure the device discretely within the vehicle, (2) activate the device by visiting the SpyTec website, and (3) start tracking from a phone, tablet, or computer. Tracking works with almost any device, so you’ll never have to worry about being disconnected. If you’re unable to engage in real-time tracking, simply refer to the stored data reports.

The magnetic waterproof case surrounding the tracker allows this device to be placed under a vehicle by attaching it to the metal frame. Any negativity from reviewers has to do with SpyTec customer service and support center, not so much about the device itself. The tracking device works flawlessly, but the company’s customer service could be improved.

Pros

  • View tracking in Google Maps
  • Magnetic case for discreet attaching
  • Motion-activated to save battery
  • Tracking for all situations

Cons

  • Poor SpyTec support
  • Limited to the US

7. bouncie Connected Car

Best Car OBD GPS Tracker

Dimensions

1.75 x 1.87 x 1 in

Weight

1.28 oz

Battery Type/Life

OBD II

Memory/Storage Capacity

Historical Time/Unlimited

Warranty

Limited Lifetime (with active subscription)

A rechargeable GPS tracking device isn’t for everyone, mainly because the battery only lasts for a maximum of 2 weeks before needing to be recharged. If you’re looking for something more convenient, it’s best to start shopping around for the best car OBD GPS tracker. The bouncie Connected Car tracking device uses an OBDII adapter for easy installation and convenient tracking.

Installing this tracker is as easy as plugging it into your vehicle’s OBD II port. Once you’ve spent the 30 seconds it takes to install the bouncie, you’ll need to sign up for your monthly subscription. Most GPS tracking providers offer services for $20 or $25 per month. At bouncie, it’s just $8 per month, and you can cancel any time with no penalties. If you buy 3 or more devices, you’ll save even more on your monthly fees.

The bouncie is used by parents all over the world to track the driving habits of their children. The device is so small and compact that the chances of it being noticed are slim to none. The vehicle’s owner can receive alerts on location, driving habits, speed, and even when a teenage driver breaks curfew. It also sends vehicle diagnostic notifications and maintenance reminders.

The “smart” nature of this device is what most bouncie users love most. The bouncie can connect to a variety of smart devices, including Amazon Alexa, IFTTT, and Google Home. In other words, you’ll be able to ask Alexa about the goings-on reported by bouncie. Whether you plan on using this to track teen drivers, senior drivers, or to improve your own driving habits, the bouncie GPS tracker for car is a fantastic investment. 

Pros

  • Low monthly fees
  • Easy installation with OBD adapter
  • Improves driving habits
  • Connects to smart devices

Cons

  • Lacks detailed trip history

8. MasTrack MT-131

Best Hardwired GPS Tracker for Car

Dimensions

1.8 x 1.5 x 1 in

Weight

2.08 oz

Battery Type/Life

Hardwired

Memory/Storage Capacity

Historical Time/Unlimited

Warranty

1 Year

We’ve already reviewed one MasTrack product on our list of reviewed and rated GPS trackers for cars. But there’s another product offered by the MasTrack company that is worth talking about. The MasTrack Hardwired MT-131 device is the best hardwired GPS tracker for car. Not every driver wants to use a vehicle's OBD II power source, and having to recharge a battery every 2 weeks isn't ideal. The best alternative is to choose a hardwired device. 

Hardwiring is by no means the simplest installation process, but certain perks come along with it. Hardwiring provides the most discretion and it works in any make, model, or year vehicle. It allows the device to connect directly to your vehicle, and once connected, it will automatically start reporting. You’ll receive alerts every time the vehicle is turned on and will send notifications and reports based on your specific MasTrack subscription plan.

Device users receive unlimited 24/7 reports and live map updates. Real-time location updates take place every minute, but this can be upgraded for a higher monthly cost. The basic subscription costs $10.99 per month, but for all the bells and whistles, you’ll want to upgrade to the next level.

You have the option to purchase the device only and pay the fee each month or pay for everything at once (device + 1-year Premium membership). Of course, paying the all-in-one price costs more initially, but it will actually save you money in the long run. The only less-than-glowing feedback has to do with the somewhat confusing installation instructions.

Pros

  • Accurate nationwide tracking
  • Live map updates
  • Unlimited 24/7 reporting
  • Compatible with any vehicle

Cons

  • Hardwiring not for everyone
  • Confusing installation instructions

9. LandAirSea 54

Best Magnetic GPS Tracker for Car

Dimensions

2.2 x 2.2 x 0.8 in

Weight

4.8 oz

Battery Type/Life

Rechargeable, 14 days

Memory/Storage Capacity

Historical Time/Unlimited

Warranty

1 Year

The perk of choosing the best magnetic GPS tracker for a car is that the device can easily attach to the underside of the vehicle. This is the most covert way to go about tracking a car - and the person behind the wheel.  The LandAirSea 54 is a compact device that is completely waterproof. The best part of all is the built-in super strength magnet for easy placement on the underside of a car’s frame.

The LAS 54 tracking device tracks in real-time using Google Maps. Users can view tracking information on the web-based software or by downloading the SilverCloud app. Choose to receive SMS or email alerts (or both) on geofencing, driver behavior, location reporting, and historical playback. Tracking is only available in the United States, so you won’t be able to use it internationally.

The device itself is budget-friendly, but unfortunately, the monthly subscription cost isn’t cheap. The basic membership will set you back about $25 per month. This includes 60-second tracking updates, but faster updates will cost you more. If you want the fastest update rate of 3 seconds, you’ll have to pay $50 per month. But this is the price you pay for reliable AT&T 4G LTE service that is unlimited. The reliable connectivity makes the higher-than-average monthly fee worth it.

Pros

  • Unlimited 4G LTE data
  • Manufactured in the US
  • Built-in super strength magnet
  • Real-time Google Maps tracking

Cons

  • High monthly cost
  • Limited to the US

10. Vyncs

Best Rated Model for Cars

Dimensions

.9 x 1.9 x 2.4 in

Weight

2.2 oz

Battery Type/Life

OBD II

Memory/Storage Capacity

Historical Time/Unlimited

Warranty

Limited Lifetime (with active subscription)

The Vyncs has rightfully earned the title of the best-rated model for cars thanks to the raving reviews and opinions of Vyncs customers. So what do people love most about this tracking device? The first positive feature is the no monthly fee - once purchased, you’ll receive one year of free service included.

If you’re unhappy with the service, Vyncs allows customers to make a return within the first 30 days. This shows how confident the company is about its products. It’s very unlikely that you’ll be dissatisfied with the service, though. This device uses the AT&T network and supports 2G and 3G. It works well with Android and iOS phones, tablets, and computers.

With Vyncs, you’ll get real-time location tracking and detailed trip history. The device does this by collecting data every second, analyzing it, and sending an update to the server once every 3 minutes. If you’d like faster updates, there are 60/30/15 second update upgrades available. The Vyncs comes with all the driver alerts you could ever need.

This includes geofence zones, start/stop notifications, speeding/harsh braking/rapid acceleration alerts, and car maintenance reminders. Users have a few options for receiving alerts, but most opt for the push notifications. Setting up the device is easy and can be done in less than 30 seconds. With over 1300 reviews, most of them close to 5 stars, it’s clear that Vyncs is a top choice among vehicle owners.

Pros

  • No monthly fee
  • Monitors vehicle health
  • Works in 200+ countries
  • Closely monitors driving habits
  • Works with Amazon Alexa

Cons

  • Activation fee

Vehicle GPS Trackers and the Law

On a federal level, GPS trackers are legal within the USA. However, you still need to consider the state laws regarding these devices. The other thing to be mindful of is how you use your GPS tracker. Even if the laws state that yes, you can use a GPS tracker, there are stipulations as to how. Generally speaking, as long as you own the car that you’ll be tracking, all is good.


Smartphone GPS Tracker vs. Dedicated Vehicle GPS Tracker

Many people wonder if it’s possible to perform the same tracking functions with a smartphone GPS. Many smartphone models do offer GPS tracking, but there are a few major differences between a smartphone GPS tracker and a dedicated vehicle GPS tracker. The main difference is

Appsetter says that “standalone smartphone APPs may be cheap or easier to access but they will never give you the peace of mind and the accuracy that even a basic GPS tracking unit can provide...Coupled with a smartphone APP, you will have constant access to the precise location of the object of desire with the push of a few buttons.”


Smartphone GPS Apps for Vehicle Tracking

Using a smartphone with installed GPS tracking apps for cars offers convenience and versatility when it comes to tracking your vehicle. The 3 most popular smartphone apps for GPS vehicle tracking are GPS Car Tracker, Find My Car, and Trackimo.

  • GPS Car Tracker
    GPS Car Tracker is a live car location finder. It is perfect for those annoying times when you can’t remember where you’ve parked. Forgetting the whereabouts of a vehicle happens to the best of us, but it’s no longer a problem with GPS Car Tracker. Try it out for free for 3 days or pay the monthly or yearly subscription.
  • Find My Car
    This powerful car-finder app works similarly to GPS Car Tracker by helping app users to locate their vehicles in large parking lots, confusing garages, or unfamiliar territory. The beauty of Find My Car is that it doesn't require a network connection so that you can find your car even in offline mode. 
  • Trackimo
    Trackimo allows you to track from anywhere, no matter if that means tracking a single car or an entire fleet of vehicles. It uses real-time tracking technology that provides up-to-the-minute speed and location updates. This app has been proven to improve driving habits, prevent theft, and avoid accidents.

How to Attach/Wire a GPS Tracker

The process of attaching or wiring a GPS tracker depends on the power source. If you have purchased a rechargeable tracker, there is no wiring involved. You can place the device anywhere in the car with no installation necessary. The other option is to purchase a tracking device that connects to your vehicle’s onboard diagnostics (OBD).

This is a popular choice since it keeps the tracker hidden, and there is no need to remove the device from the vehicle for recharging. OBD installation is as simple as locating the OBD source and plugging the device into the slot. A vehicle’s OBD is almost always found beneath the dash to the left of the driver's legs.


How to Use a Car GPS Tracker

The steps for using a car GPS tracker depend on the specific model you’ve purchased. It’s usually fairly simple, but since one device is unique from the next, it’s a good idea to read the user manual. Before actually installing the tracker within the vehicle, become familiar with the software. This can be accessed from a desktop, laptop, tablet, or smartphone. Once again, all this will be available within the device’s manual.


Care and Maintenance of GPS Trackers

There is not much you need to do to care for and maintain your new GPS tracker. Like all electronics, you should do your best to keep your GPS tracker out of direct sunlight. If you expect the temperature to be overly hot or overly cold, it’s a good idea to bring your tracker indoors for the day. This is a good habit to get into if you’d like to increase the lifespan of your tracker. 


GPS Tracking Devices: Common Issues & Fixes

The most common GPS tracking problems, according to Trackimo, have to do with connectivity. 

"Accuracy problems can arise from a variety of conditions, from atmospheric to terrestrial,” says Trackimo. “When a satellite isn’t able to transmit its position, it won’t be able to establish a link with your GPS tracker.”

This is typically caused by the current weather conditions, like rain and clouds. It could also be the result of tall skyscrapers, dense forests, or peaking mountains. To be honest, there’s not much that can be done by this issue. Even the most advanced mapping and navigation systems are at the mercy of inclement weather and towering buildings. You just need to be patient and wait for the connection to improve.


Frequently Asked Questions

How accurate are car GPS trackers? Can they pinpoint the exact car location?

As long as you do your research and buy the best GPS tracker for a car, the device can pinpoint a car’s exact location with 100% accuracy. Top-rated car tracking systems offer 99-100% accuracy.

Where is the best place to buy a GPS tracker for cars?

It’s possible to purchase a GPS tracker directly from the manufacturer, but for the best price, you’ll want to do your shopping on Amazon. Just be sure to find a reputable seller that has been reviewed by fellow buyers.

Where is the best place to hide a tracking device on a car?

If you purchase a tracker that connects to a car’s OBD source, you have no choice but to place the device within the OBD outlet. The other option is to purchase a rechargeable tracker, which can be hidden anywhere within the car. It’s up to you on where you hide it, but you might consider placing it in the trunk or under the driver’s seat.

Can you buy a GPS tracker for your car keys?

Yes! If you're one of those people that constantly loses their keys, then buying a GPS tracker for your keychain is a great idea. You can connect the tracker to your mobile device, and with the push of a button, the tracker will start sounding an alarm. Simply follow the noise, locate your keys, and be on your way.

Will my hidden GPS car tracker work in rural areas?

In the past, the answer to this question would have been no. But GPS has advanced to the point where a car tracker works even in the most rural areas. The main culprit of poor connectively is inclement weather, not remoteness of location.


Conclusion

Still haven’t decided which car GPS tracking device is right for you? Trust us when we say that you can’t go wrong with our top pick, the MasTrack Premium Car GPS Tracker. It’s easy to install, easy to use, highly reliable, and extremely accurate. This device connects to a vehicle’s OBD port, so if you’d prefer a tracker with its own rechargeable power source, go with the SpyTec GL300 instead.

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