How a GPS vehicle tracker works
‘Vehicle GPS Tracker for Car’, something you’ve probably googled but are struggling to find information on. Do you want a hidden option, plug n play without wiring, a portable option, or a combination of all? Each type of GPS tracker will excel with a different functionality
GPS Trackers can find their location using one or multiple of the three methods;
- Cell tower triangulation
- Wi-Fi Positioning System (WPS)
How the GPS information is sent
GPS information is sent over the cellular network.
Within Australia, the most common methods are on the 3G & 4G networks.
The 2G network shutdown Australia has already happened, so avoid buying any tracker that runs over 2G (GSM). Ideally, you want to be looking for a 4G GPS Tracker to future proof.
The Three type of GPS Vehicle Tracker
You have three options for GPS Trackers in your car, you can plug them in, wire them in or use a portable option with a battery & magnet.
All of them will require a SIM card with an active phone plan.
Plug in GPS Tracker
Since the late 1990s, all cars as a requirement must have an ‘OBD’ port, which is a diagnostic port used for reading information electronically from the cars ECU/Computer.
There are OBD GPS trackers that will plug into these ports, drawing power directly from the vehicle.
These types of trackers are much easier than a hard wired options. These are great options for both business and personal use.
They are generally out of sight, with inbuilt mobile network and GPS antennas as standard, but it depends on where the OBD port is located on your car as to how stealth it is.
Hardwired GPS Tracker for car
Hardwired GPS solutions are better suited for commercial/fleet use, as they are easily hidden, but do require wiring into your cars power to work.
External antennas for GPS and Network allow you to place the tracker hidden under the dashboard, whilst still having good signal due to well placed antennas.
Hardwired options often come with options for controlling immobilizers, fuel pump activation, driver key fobs and microphones. See our wired hidden gps trackers, also handy as a motorbike tracker.
Battery Powered Tracking Units
Battery operated GPS Trackers do not require any wiring or plugging in of any kind to work. They work on a rechargeable battery which is charged via USB.
Certain battery GPS trackers such as use the Wi-Fi Positioning System (WPS), which allows for greater accuracy when inside buildings if satellites are not visible, which they are often not when indoors.
This is what makes them great for GPS asset tracking.
As they use a battery, you do need to be mindful of their charge.
You can reduce the location reporting frequency down to as little as once per day to preserve battery life as much as possible, as well as of course leaving the tracker constantly plugged in with USB.
There’s no reason why you couldn’t leave this GPS tracker permanently plugged into your vehicle also, as an alternative to a hard wired, or OBD GPS option. Click the link for information on our battery powered vehicle tracker.
GPS Tracker Cost
The cost of a GPS tracker for car can vary based upon the outright costs, and subscription costs. The costs you will pay are as follows
- Hardware (Outright, or bundled)
- SIM card (Separate subscription, or bundled)
- Tracking portal Subscription (Subscription)
This is the cost of the GPS tracker itself
This is a once off fee, or bundled in with a higher subscription cost. Generally, one way or another you will be paying it off, much like how a mobile phone subscription works.’
Sending location data to and from the gps tracker for car
A GPS Tracker requires a SIM card for sending/receiving sending the tracking locations to your phone app, or the server.
There are many cheap SIM card options, but you may opt for a managed SIM card solution which is bundled in with your tracking portal subscription, as it is one less thing to worry about.
An example of a low cost SIM card can be found on our amaysim activiation page.
Tracking portal subscription
How you view your tracking information
Conclusion of the best GPS Tracker for Car
To determine which is the best option for you, you’ll need to work out your requirements and what features are a must have.
If you are trying to track an asset, or animal, then refer to our GPYes GPS Tracker types page to see more options.