How often do you find yourself wanting to understand how you can easily track the location of your car? Maybe you’re notorious for forgetting where you parked. Or maybe your children are borrowing your car, and you want to know where they’re taking it. Or perhaps you want to cover and protect yourself by finding your car in the event it gets stolen, there are endless reasons to want to track your vehicle.
However, while this used to be an expensive process that requires a lot of kit, it’s never been easier to track your car. There are plenty of solutions you can use to track your car easily, at any time, wherever it is in the world.
With this in mind, today we’re going to explore all the methods you can use to track your car’s location, whether that’s for a one-off check or a process you want to start using in your everyday life. Let’s get straight into it!
Method #1 – Using a Car’s Integrated GPS Service
If you have a car with a built-in GPS system, or perhaps a navigation system built right into the dashboard of your car, you can use this to track the location of your car. You won’t need to make any third-party purchase on GPS trackers or anything like that. This is perhaps the easiest way to track your car.
All you need to do is go on the internet using the web browser on your computer or phone and then sign into the GPS tracking platform that your car uses. Of course, you’ll need to create an account to use whatever kind of identity verification your GPS system needs, and then you’re done.
From here, you can simply log into your account at any time and track the location of your vehicle. Some cars might offer this service as standard, and it will be easily accessible, and some not so much. It just depends on the make and model of your car. To find out, simply look in your manual or contact your manufacturer and ask for advice on how to proceed.
Of course, not all cars come with a built-in GPS feature or navigation software, and buying a car with this technology can be very expensive. Fortunately, if this doesn’t suit you, there are other approaches you can take.
Method #2 – Use a Mobile Phone Tracker
A relatively inexpensive way to track your car, or any vehicle for that matter, can be done on your mobile phone. Of course, you’re probably going to need to use the mobile phone you use daily, so if you continuously want to track your car, you may want to buy an alternative phone, or even if you have a spare phone lying around that has GPS technology.
If you’re buying a phone, you don’t even need to spend a fortune. Just a basic phone with cellular data capabilities and GPS is enough. This device will also use data to transmit everything, so make sure you have enough time to use the phone for, either as a pay as you go phone or on a monthly contract.
Another consideration you’ll want to think about is the battery life. You may need to charge the phone daily. You can wire in an adapter so you can keep your phone in the glovebox or somewhere hidden in your car. But you’ll need to wire this yourself or use an electrician or installation company.
You could always wire the phone into the cigarette lighter in your vehicle to keep it on charge while the car is running, but this is very obvious if someone steals your car. You could take the phone out of your car every night and charge it for a fresh round of tracking the next day, but again, this can be timely and doesn’t keep your car protected at all times; unless you’re using two phones.
To maximize battery life, you’ll want to disable every single service on the device, minus the GPS feature. You won’t be able to use this method when the phone is off.
Finally, you’ll need to download a mobile phone tracking app. There are plenty out there to choose from, so the choice is up to you. Some are free, and some will come with premium features. You can even use apps like Google Maps or Apple Maps (or the Find my iPhone service) to generate accurate results.
You’ll need to register your device by creating an account on whatever platform or tracking service you choose to use. You’ll then be able to sign in to your account using your other smartphone, tablet, or computer using the same credentials as you used to sign in to your account. Then you’re good to go and track the car, no matter where it is in the world!
Method #3 – Using a Professional GPS Tracking Device
While the methods we’ve spoken about already revolve around creating a tracking service that won’t cost you a lot and cut corners, it’s important to note that professional-grade GPS tracking services and products do exist. Since these are designed to track cars by nature, they’re going to give you the best and most accurate experience, but they can cost more than you may think (unless you find a great deal).
There are two types of trackers: global trackers and Bluetooth trackers. Bluetooth trackers work by connecting to your smartphone while you’re in the local area to your car. It will display the location on your screen. This is great if you have a habit of forgetting where you parked.
However, these devices are limited to operating in the standard Bluetooth range, which is around 200ft. This also depends on how many walls are between you. There are so many variables that can alter this range.
It’s worth noting that if you’re using a Bluetooth tracker like a Tile device, these use a community network, so if there’s a lot of people in your area using Tile devices, this can greatly increase the range in which you can pick up a signal.
On the other hand, if you want the very best experience, you’re going to want a professional GPS tracker. These are typically a bit larger than most trackers but are loaded with huge battery lives and come with limited features. They only track the GPS location of the box, so you don’t have to worry about other services draining your battery.
Commonly, these devices can last up to 14 days on a single charge and won’t require you to connect up your device into your car’s wiring. This also means you’re not limited to where you put the device. You can easily stash it in the glovebox, or you can hide it more subtly, such as under a seat or in the boot of the car. You can even fix it to the outside – perhaps under a wheel arch.
The setup process for these devices is fairly simple. Just log onto the manufacturer’s service portal website and create an account that links to the identification number of your GPS tracker, and you’ll be good to go. Thanks to modern technology wonders, many manufacturers provide both desktop and mobile apps so you can view your vehicle’s location wherever you or the car is.