How to Track a Car Location with a GPS Device?

Cars are considered to be one of mankind’s greatest inventions, but it is also the most expensive and most difficult to maintain because of the repairs that are often associated with it. It just goes to show that knowing how to track a car location becomes an important skill set for everyone to learn.

It’s easier to do this nowadays with mobile apps and GPS devices that are available for download and use anytime. Unlike before where you had to go around town using another person’s car and try to espy your car from a distance, without assurance if the one you are looking at is actually your car.

Sometimes this method works, but it mostly fails because there’s a good chance that your car has already been stolen, or it has already been taken to the junkyard and squared into smaller cubes for recycling. However, this was before GPS was introduced as a safety device for automobiles, and car manufacturers loved it.

Benefits of Having a GPS Locator

GPS technology started out as a military application that aimed to locate enemy placements without having to use reconnaissance planes and traditional human spies. This technology eventually found its way outside with several commercial uses, although the US Military still owns it.

Setting that fact aside, here are some of the benefits of having a GPS device installed in your vehicle.

  • Tracks Your Car

There are nights where you find yourself liking the drink too much and end up going home inside an Uber or a cab with no memory of how you got home or where you came from. GPS devices help you find your car without asking your dudes where you left it, just open up your GPS app and locate.

  • Warns You of Any Danger

Some GPS devices come with locating apps that inform you in advance if an accident occurred close to where you are. These devices can also provide weather updates if paired with the right application and data service.

  • Finds Alternate Routes

Other GPS-enabled mobile applications, aside from advising of any accidents up ahead, can also find you an alternate route so that you don’t get stuck in oncoming traffic build-up. A few of these applications can even map your route and use your GPS device to lock on to your location and tell you how close or far you are to where you should turn.

  • Makes Recovery Faster

This is especially true in cases of lost and stolen property as GPS locators can easily locate where your car was brought, which makes it easier for law enforcers to plan their action.

  • Tells Others Where You Are

This is both an advantage and a disadvantage because 1. you are letting others know where you are, and 2. you are letting others know where you are. It’s not always a good thing, but for safety reasons, it definitely is an advantage especially if you frequently get lost while driving or if you have a history of short-term memory loss.

  • Keeps Tab Of Borrowers

Everybody has that friend, colleague, or relative that borrows your car and never returns it for days, even when you see them every day. They even have the gall to return it with an empty tank. GPS trackers can tell you where your car is anytime and how much mileage it has racked up without you in it.

This is especially beneficial if you own a fleet of vehicles, or maybe one or two, and you have several people driving them for you. GPS devices let you know how honest they are and knowing that a GPS device is installed in a vehicle makes them more accountable for their actions.

How Does GPS Work?

GPS, or Global Positioning System, utilizes a network of satellites, both military and civilian, that are currently orbiting the planet to determine or triangulate the approximate location of a device that was designed to receive and transmit the same frequency. The principle here is calculating the distance that a signal travels from the source to at least three orbiting satellites and back.

This method provides an almost pinpoint accuracy with regards to the location of the GPS device as compared to other locating technologies. GPS has found its way into devices like mobile phones, sports trackers, and geolocators, as well as mapping applications and traffic navigation devices and software.

How to Track a Car Location Using a GPS Device?

Tracking a car’s location using a GPS device is fairly easy, you just need to use the following steps.

Step 1: Buy a GPS Device.

The most obvious thing to do is to buy a GPS device at a store or online. Read up on the different models and their reviews so that you can decide which one is the best for your need. Also, check if the GPS software is updated.

Step 2: Install It.

Find the best location for your GPS device inside your car. Most car owners would place it just above the rear view mirror while some would place it near the rear window shield. Secure it with cable ties and duct tape, but make it as unobtrusive as possible.

Step 3: Search for a Compatible Tracking App.

Most GPS devices come with their mobile application, but several developers have released apps that are compatible with most GPS device models which makes syncing easier and faster.

Step 4: Test it.

After you are done installing your GPS device, as well as your mobile tracking app, it is time to test to see how well it would work. Ask a friend to drive your car a few yards and see if it will register on the app. Do this a few times at varying distances to calibrate.

Step 5: Replace and Repeat as Needed

Not all mobile tracking applications and GPS devices would work well the first time but just repeat the process, try out different trackers and replace as needed.

How to Know If You Are Being Tracked?

Sometimes knowing how to track a car location using a GPS device is a good thing, but how would you know if you are being tracked without your knowledge? This is not a surprising fact as most people like to get a hold of some people for nefarious purposes, and they use GPS devices for that.

It’s one of the downsides of modern technology really, but you do not have to worry, here are some steps you can do to see if you are being tracked.

Step 1: Check the Exterior.

With a flashlight, check under the hood of the engine or underneath the car, right on the chassis. Most perpetrators would place GPS trackers on hidden yet easy-to-reach locations where it will go unnoticed without anything to block or interfere with its signal. It depends on how long it was placed, but you should expect that these devices would be far from clean and not noticeable unless you are looking for it.

Step 2: Check the Interior.

Sometimes perps can get inside your car with their bag of tricks and what not. Go over the data ports as well as the glove compartment and trunk to check if you have a GPS device installed without you knowing. Again, the go-to place for hiding GPS devices would be somewhere hidden and forgotten; somewhere you don’t always look at.

Step 3: Sweep

Bug detectors are sometimes available in electronics shops and places where you can buy GPS devices. You can buy one and sweep your car with it, but do remember that some trackers are only active when the vehicle is running, and most detectors don’t work when the device is passive.

Final Thoughts

GPS devices for automobiles are a good thing to have no matter what the downsides are as it does not defeat that feeling of security that you are bound to feel knowing where you left your car or where a friend or employee took it. Together with knowing how to use GPS devices, knowing how to use mobile applications to help you track your car’s location are definitely some skills worth looking into.