Vehicle Tracking 101: The Ultimate Guide

 

 Scroll down to read our complete, hassle-free guide on buying and installing a GPS tracker for your car. Or click the button below to download our indepth review of the Best 3 Vehicle Tracking Devices.

 
Download the Review
 

Read Below and Learn..

Live Online Tracking

The Must-Have Features

Get an easy-to-understand explanation of all the features available on various GPS trackers. We even go into which SIM provider you should choose, which specific plan to choose and how much this will all cost together with the trackers.

Insurance Premiums and Car Tracking

Pay Nothing For Your GPS

You'll learn a simple trick which can cover the entire cost of your tracking device. I'm surprised more people haven't used this strategy, but don't worry, I'll give you a step-by-step walkthrough of exactly how it works. One customer saved $175/year!

Tow Alarm

Install GPS Tracker in Car

We're currently working on a complete guide to this. However, in the meantime we've given you a brief explanation of what's involved, and what you can expect. Wiring your own tracker isn't difficult, but you do need some guidance.

If you need a step-by-step breakdown of everything, from how GPS car trackers work to what features you need, right down to what SIM card to get, then Luca’s got you covered. This is seriously the best resource I’ve found. Read it right now.

Irene Jacobs

I practically shit bricks.

After frantically pacing around the car park for 15 minutes I went to their security office.

I was sweaty, frustrated and confused.

I quickly splurted out what happened and asked to see their security footage.

After a couple more minutes of whizzing through their video, there she was.

My pride and joy, being driven straight out the main exit.

car was stolen

After the headache of spending weeks dealing with the police, there was still no headway.

I never saw her again.

The cops think she was chopped for parts and tossed.

I was determined to never go through that again.

So when it came time to buy my next car, I started to have a look at all the options.

And I stumbled across GPS trackers for your car, so I decided to have a look into them.

5 years have gone by and I could not be happier I made that decision.

There's so much more to them than the name suggests.

Now I could:

  • Use my mobile to get the car's location instantly - perfect if you forget your parking spot.
  • Get text alerts whenever my car was moved without me.
  • Text alerts if my son drove it over 85km/h
  • Text alerts if the car gets into a crash - which my son did, and a story for later.
  • Live tracking and past reports of where your car's been.

But enough of me, what's in it for you?

Live Online Tracking

Car Stolen?

Even though car theft is dropping, the average cost for the victim is $6,413 per incident. Couple that with the hassle of dealing with police and insurance companies, and it soon becomes a big ordeal. Instead of wasting all that time and money, with the GPS tracker you know as soon as your car leaves the street.

Instantly notified when car in crash

Teenage Driver?

Is your kid a bit of a reckless driver? Use the GPS tracker to make sure they're safe with the 'Overspeed Alert' feature. Once they hit, for example, 85km/h you'll receive a text message with their speed, location and a few other details. With the 'Shock Sensor' feature you'll also know as soon as the car's been in a crash.

Don't lose your parking space

Bad Memory?

Never, ever forget your parking spot again. I know, I know, you think you'll never use your tracker for this reason. But trust me, you wouldn't believe how many people I've helped have said that this alone makes the whole damn GPS car tracker worth it. It'll save you a lot of time and frustration in the long run. 

But that's only a small snapshot of what you can do with a GPS tracker. Below I've listed out all the features so you can get a feel of what's capable with one of these devices.

Geo Fence for your car

Geofences

Set 'safe zones' for your car, so every time it leaves one of these zones you receive a text. 

Overspeed Alert

Overspeed Alert

Receive a text every time your car goes over a certain speed. Perfect for curbing a crazy P-plate driver.

Instantly notified when car in crash

Shock Sensor

Get an instant notification as soon as your vehicle has been in a crash. Read about my friend and a crash with a kangaroo here.

Live Online Tracking

Live Tracking

Go online to view live tracking of your vehicle as well as past reports, overspeed alerts and many more reports.

Remote Disable Car

Remotely Disable Car

With this more advanced feature you can remotely disable your car, so if anyone has taken it you can immediately shut it off.

Instant SMS when your car alarm goes off

Car Alarm Notification

Receive a text when your car alarm goes off. You don't always notice your car alarm going off, but you'll never miss the text.

Low Power Alert

Low Power Alerts

Receive a text in-case the device accidentally unhooks from the battery, so you're not left in the wind if your car is towed or stolen.

Logging Data when Out of Range

Logging Out of Range

Your GPS data will be logged to the micro SD inside the tracker when the vehicle is out of range or there is no signal.

Is a car tracker right for you?

Now you might be wondering, "Is this right for me?"

"I thought GPS trackers on cars were expensive and only for businesses and fleets"

Wrong.

In the last few years GPS technology has become much more accurate, compact and cheaper.

And now, it's available for the every day Australian.

I mean, for christ sake, you can pick one up on Ebay for $20!

​Although, I wouldn't recommend it cause it's probably dodgy, it's just to show how cheap they can get. And if you're interested, we've reviewed the 3 best vehicle trackers that you can get right here in Australia. Just click here to take a look.

​And you don't need to be driving a Maserati to justify buying one either. I've been installing these on Nissan's, Toyota's, Ford's etc and the owners couldn't be happier!

In the next section, I'll show you exactly why...​

Make the GPS pay for itself.

​Here's probably the best part about getting a GPS tracker for your car.

Most insurance companies give a discount for vehicle owners with a GPS tracker installed.

They understand that having a tracker installed greatly influences how quickly your car will be recovered.

Which means less total car loss claims and more money in their pockets, so they're happy to give you a little discount.

And guess what?

Barely ANYONE takes advantage of that.​

It's so stupid.

That premium alone can cover the whole cost of your GPS.

We've had one customer who now saves an extra $175 every year!

So call up your insurer and find out what premium you can get.

And if you're enjoying the guide, help me out and give it a little share :)

How the GPS trackers work.

​You don't really need to read this section, but it may be interesting to understand.

The majority of vehicle tracking devices have both GPS and GPRS tr​acking. GPS tracking uses satellites while GPRS is tracking via phone towers.

The devices uses GPS to find its location, it then transfers that information to you via phone towers.​

When you want to find out where your car is, you just text the phone number associated with your tracker, and you'll receive an automatic text back with its location. However, we'll get more into this in the next section.​

​DO NOT BUY 2G CAR TRACKERS.

​All of the main service providers are shutting down their 2G networks so your tracking device won't work!

Here's when they're shutting down:​

  • Telstra: 1st December, 2016
  • Optus: 1st April, 2017
  • Vodaphone: To be announced

On that note, don't be suckered in by any 4G trackers either.

The data needed and transferred is really low, it's like paying a whole bunch extra to put a 1000cc motorbike engine in your lawn mower.

Totally pointless.

P.S. Honda actually did that. It goes 210km/h

No shit.

4G GPS Car Trackers

The point is, stick with 3G trackers with both GPS and GPRS capabilities and you'll be fine.

​But, to make it even easier for you, I've done a review on the 3 Best GPS Car Trackers which are all 3G enabled and have all the features you need. I've laid it all out in a clear report and included pricing tables, feature comparisons, overall costings and have even snagged you a premium discount.

How to find your car.

Because of the newer technology using both GPS and GPRS it's become super simple to find your car.

Your tracker will run off a SIM card, and therefore it has it's own phone number.

When you want to find you car, all you have to do is text that number, wait 20 seconds, and you'll recieve an automatic reply with the information.

There will also be a link to Google Maps in the text message. Click on that link and it will automatically open Google Maps with the exact location of your car.

For Australia, it costs around $0.10 per text. So if you get a prepaid SIM with $20 credit, that'll be more than enough for a year. But I'll get into that later, in the SIM CARD section.

Now, if you want more detailed reports you'll have to use an online tracking platform.

This is just a website where you login with your specific details and can see your car's location. You'll also get a view of it's past locations and various reports.

Most services will make you pay extra every month for the live tracking platform because it uses more data, so just keep an eye out for that and take those extra expenses into account.

What tracking features do you need?

There are so many different car GPS trackers out there that it can get pretty confusing.

Especially when half of them just list the specifications without giving any detail or help to people like you and me.

And when you factor in all the Chinese fakes, and people just trying to hike the prices, it can become a real nightmare.

But don't worry, I've got your back.

Here's exactly what you need to look for when buying your first vehicle tracking device.

  • Make sure its 3G. Not 2G or 4G.
  • Make sure it has both GPS and GPRS so we can get location updates through texting.
  • Make sure the live tracking software has all the reporting capabilities you want. Most people generally want:
  • Where the car is right now
  • Where the car has been
  • Whether someone has been speeding in the car, and where and when it happened.
  • Reporting on the car on any particular day
  • Make sure it has a warranty.
  • Make sure there are reviews on the tracker. There have been quite a few cheap ripoffs so be careful.
  • Make sure it's magnetic so we can stick it under the bonnet. Although, this isn't a deal breaker as you can always buy a couple magnets and glue them to the tracker.

This might look like a pretty big list and may sound a little bit daunting. So I've put together a little something to help you out.

I've reviewed my 3 favourite car tracking devices and laid it all out in a clear report. I've included pricing tables, feature comparisons, overall costings and have even snagged you a premium discount. Plus, you can be sure that the trackers follow all of the above rules.

How much is a GPS car tracker?

So, it's the all important question, isn't it?

For a simpler tracker with the following features it'll cost around $100-$250, depending on the quality and brand.

Live tracking app with basic live reporting, geo fencing, overspeed alert, shock sensor.

For a more advanced tracker it'll cost anywhere up to $500. However, you can expect these quality features:

Remote car disabling, car alarm notification, advanced online tracking reports, low-power alerts, tow alarm, offline logging.

Keep in mind that these are only the hardware costs. Generally, you can install the simpler trackers yourself. However, for the advanced tracker you'll need an auto-electrician to install them as they connect to several different functions of you car. 

Which SIM provider should I choose?

As we were saying before, the tracker runs off a SIM card and therefore has its own phone number.

It also will need credit to run.

You'll want to pick up a prepaid card that doesn't expire for a year. Chuck $20 worth of credit on there, that'll last you the year if you're not using live tracking software.

Nearly all the main Australian service providers (Telstra, Vodaphone, Optus etc) offer these year long prepaid cards.

However, I generally like to recommend Telstra as they've got the largest range of coverage.

Once you've got your tracking device there will be model specific instructions on how to insert and activate your SIM. Activation usually involves texting 'begin123456' or some other variation to the SIM's phone number. 

How do I install my GPS car tracker?

Before we go any further, there are two main types of trackers:

  • OBD
  • Hard Wired

Let's quickly go into the pro's and con's of both.

OBD GPS Trackers

The biggest advantage with these is how easy they are to install.

They plug right into the OBD II port underneath the steering wheel.

This port is only used for mechanics to read error codes on your car, so it's fine to use as a power source for the tracker.

OBD II Vehicle Tracking Device

However, this is also one of the biggest drawbacks of OBD Trackers. If someone is stealing your car, it's super easy for them to reach down and unplug it. They also generally have less features compared to wired trackers and aren't as accurate.

Hard Wired GPS Trackers

This is the style we recommend to nearly every one.

It's easy to hide them, they're more accurate, have a more reliable power source and can be connect to additional features such as car alarm, ignition etc.

However, they are a bit more difficult to install.

And if you want more advanced features, such as remote disabling the car, receiving notifications if the car alarm goes off, reporting on fuel usage etc. you MUST get an auto-electrician to install it.

But, if you want just the basic GPS tracking, geo-fencing, overspeed alerts etc you can wire this yourself.

Now wiring isn't extremely difficult, but you do need a little guidance.

We're currently putting together an entire guide on installing your own GPS trackers the CORRECT and SAFE way.

Too many people just plug them straight into the battery and away they go.

They don't think about where the wires are, how they're positioned, how stable the tracher is and how well hidden it is. Not to mention that you need to make sure it's not near any hot engine parts or that the wires aren't wrapped around the steering column - I've seriously seen that before...

If you'd like to get a quick email update when we release the free DIY installation guide just click here.

Wrapping up.

So, let's factor this all together.

You can pick up a decent GPS car tracker for $100-$250 with the basic features.

Overspeed Alert
Instantly notified when car in crash
Logging Data when Out of Range
Geo Fence for your car
Live Online Tracking

You can then install it yourself using the free guide we'll be releasing soon. (CLICK HERE) Now you never have to be worried about your car being stolen, or about your kids driving. 

Plus, you can give your insurance company a call and ask for a premium discount for the extra security added to your car. This sometimes covers the cost of the entire tracker!

So, when you consider how easy it is to set one up, and the peace of mind you'll get, why wouldn't you set one up?

Let me know in the comments below.

​Cheers, Luca.