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  • Kim Freeman

Top GPS Car Trackers

car dashboard

There are several reasons that you may wish to track your vehicle, whether you want to track a fleet of vehicles, make sure your teenager is safe or just want some piece of mind in case your car gets stolen. There are different types of car trackers on the market and there will be one that suits your needs.

Types of Car Trackers

There are three main types of tracking devices for your vehicles.

  1. Hard wired, which needs professional installation.

  2. Plug and play which you can install yourself.

  3. Mobile devices, wireless trackers that you can place anywhere.

These all have their pros and cons and will have features that suit your personal needs. You need to consider factors such as cost, data you want to access and how many vehicles you need to track. We will go though the pros and cons of each type of car tracker and then review some of the best ones on the market.

Hard Wired GPS Trackers

These types of car trackers are hardwired into the cab of a vehicle and tend to be tamper proof, which is a plus for vehicles that have multiple drivers. They also come with tamper sensors which can alert management or whoever installed the car tracker that someone has attempted to tamper with the tracker. These types of car trackers also allow you to monitor the behaviour of the driver, by using a range of sensors to detect speed, sudden breaking and erratic movement.

There are some downsides to this type of tracker. They are expensive to install, as they will need to be professionally done so. Not only will you have to pay for the installation, but you may also lose money for the day the vehicle isn't on the road. Another factor you might want to consider is that once installed they are a pain to remove, which means if you ever want to sell or decommission the vehicle, it's going to make more forward planning to have the tracker removed completely or put into another vehicle.

If you are a business whose main concern is the safety and security of your vehicles, then hardwired GPS trackers might be the one for you. They offer tamper proof tracking with a range of other safety features.

Self-Installed Car Trackers

These trackers are self-explanatory, you can install them yourself and don't need to hire a professional to do the job for you. What you might enjoy about this type of car tracker is that you simply put it in and it's ready to go. They are usually inserted to the vehicles OBD-II, JBUS or another diagnostics port which is generally found under the steering wheel. Its also easier to move between vehicles, which is good for businesses that have a high turnover or short-term seasonal fleet vehicles. One thing you will have to remember is that if/when you put the tracker in another vehicle, you should inform the provider, so they can update their records. The cost of installation GPS trackers is automatically lower as you don't have to pay out for installation, and you won't have any downtime for your vehicle.

The downside of using self-installed GPS trackers is that they are easy to remove. As they are not securely hardwired into the vehicle, a person such as a car thief, can just reach down and take it out with minimal fuss. You do also get less data with a self-installed tracker, you tend to just get location, engine and mileage data.

This sort of GPS tracker is mainly used for business with fleet vehicles but is also a viable option for those who want a more robust tracker for their personal car.

Mobile Tracking Devices

Those looking to use mobile devices are normally non-commercial vehicles or business that want the ultimate tracking flexibility and don't want to pay a huge amount. Mobile tracking products such as Apple Air Tags can be placed anywhere in a vehicle and give you the option to track the person as well as the vehicle. It's likely that you or your employees will already be familiar with this type of product, so there is no need for any extra training. The other huge benefit of mobile tracking devices is that you can usually track from your phone for virtually anywhere in the world. Hard wired car trackers are normally monitored by a third party, which can cause delays in updates. As mobile tracking devices are not hardwired, there is no extra cost to install and should work out cheaper than other types of tracking devices overall.

The disadvantage of a mobile car tracking device is that they are very easily removed from a vehicle and can be easily lost. A mobile tracking device will not give you any information on the condition of the vehicle, fuel usage and miles driven. Mobile GPS trackers were not really made to track vehicles, so there may be some issues with the battery life of the tracker and potentially the battery strain on the phone being used to monitor. If that phone runs out of battery, then the tracker is useless!

Best Car Trackers 2023

TruTrack FMT100

This is a wired car tracker that fits your cars 12V battery. This means the TruTrack doesn't need charging as it gets its power from the car. You don't need a separate SIM with this tracker. For set up, you phone the company, and an associate will activate your unit. Although this is a wired tracker, you can access all info from an app on your phone. You can track the live location, tracking history, driving style and you can also set alerts for speeding and certain locations.

The price is a major plus point for this car tracker as well, at between £30-£35 it does everything you'd want a car tracker to do. However, if you are not confident to fit this tracker yourself, you will have to pay out for a professional to come and install it.

Carlock Advanced Real-Time Tracker

This tracker is fitted into the OBD port in your vehicle. Some reports say that you will need the £9 extension cable as the tracker is large. What we like about this tracker, is that it alerts you when your car is started or goes faster than your pre-set limit. It also offers basic location and journey tracking, all accessible through an app.

One thing we aren't so sure on is the monthly price, which starts at £6.95 per month. There are cheaper subscriptions out there for trackers that do the same. You need to bare this in mind if you have a set budget in mind.

Apple Airtag

While this tracker isn't made specifically for vehicle tracking, it's a nifty little device and from £35 the price isn't bad either. While we wouldn't recommend this tracker for commercial use, for tracking a family or teenager's vehicle it does a good job! The Apple Airtag works a bit differently from other trackers. It relies on all the Apple devices around it, it will then send the location to the cloud where you can access it. All this is done anonymously and is encrypted to protect everyone's privacy.

If you are just wanting to make sure that your newly driving teenager is safe, then the Apple Airtag might be the one for you. For £35 and multiple ways of using, it's definitely worth the money and with all Apple products the design and user experience is very sleek.


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