12 Best GPS Trackers for Cars in 2017
If you have ever had your car stolen, it is a horrible feeling that’s tough to shake even when your ride has been retrieved. Violated is the first word to come to mind and the longer the thieves have your vehicle, the larger the chance for damage. If theft is a concern for you, a GPS tracker can quickly become your new best friend.
GPS trackers can be installed on anything these days and work in conjunction with satellites to track your exact location at any given time. All modern smartphones have them as well as tablets and various other types of tech. GPS trackers geared specifically for cars are a bit different however and not something you can easily wrap your head around if you aren’t familiar with the technology involved.
We have put together a quick guide to help you find the best GPS tracker for car or truck use. All of these products will give you a quick fix on the location of your vehicle, and while we would recommend any one of them, some units have far more features than others do as you will see in our Review section.
Table of Contents
- Top 12 GPS Trackers for Cars Ultimate Table
- GPS Tracker Buying Guide
- Ease of Use
- Subscriptions & Reliability
- Top 5 Best GPS Tracker for Car Reviews
Top 12 GPS Trackers for Cars Ultimate Table
|1. Accutracking VTPlug TK373 3G Real-Time Online GPS OBD II Vehicle Tracker||ODB||No||4.7|
|2. Optimus Real Time GPS Tracker||Batteries||Yes||4.5|
|3. TrackmateGPS’s affordable – MINI – tracker, Car/Motorcycle||Hardwired||Yes||4.5|
|4. MasTrack MT-OBD Live GPS Vehicle Tracker||ODB||Yes||4.4|
|5. MOTOsafety OBD GPS Tracker Device||ODB||Yes||4.3|
|6. Linxup OBD GPS Tracker with Real Time 3G GPS Tracking||ODB||Yes||4.2|
|7. AwareGPS Trackers & GPS System, Tracking Device Car GPS, Wired Vehicle Tracking Device AWVDS1||ODB||Yes||4.2|
|8. Vyncs No Monthly Fee Connected Car OBD Link||ODB||Yes||4.2|
|9. Vectu Portable Vehicle Tracker GPS/GSM Tracking Real-time Locator||Battery||Yes||4.1|
|10. Anysun Vehicle Car GPS Tracker Tk103b||Harness||Limited||4.0|
|11. VYNCS Premium: No Monthly Fees Connected Car OBD 3G Vehicle GPS Tracking||ODB||Yes||3.9|
|12. ATian Plug & play OBDII Vehicle GPS Tracker||ODB||Yes||3.7|
GPS Tracker Buying Guide
GPS can keep tabs on your kids and belongs including that expensive wheeled wonder in your driveway. Before you jump in, keep these tips in mind.
Ease of Use
While we are not going to delve into how you install a GPS tracker or all that goes along with it, we will talk about how some are easier to use. If you need to keep tabs on your vehicle at all times, you probably have children and are not nearly as concerned about thieves. That means you will want to take a different approach as Bobby and Sally joyriding in your Camry is different from your new Lexus LS Sport going missing during the night.
- Mobile App – Some of the trackers on our list come with mobile apps which are good for more than just finding your parking space; this is your best bet if you need quick access to the location of your car at any time.
- Emergencies & Safety – Other services are more high-tech and can call you (or the police) which isn’t necessarily what you’ll want if the kids take your car without permission. On the other hand, a full-fledged tracking service can monitor your precious Porsche at all times leaving you with a piece of mind whether you are home or abroad.
Whether you have a $50,000 luxury ride or a beater on its last legs, tearing into your dash or wiring is not a good idea unless you know what you are doing. Some GPS units are easier to install than others as they will simply plug into a harness or an ODB II (on board diagnostics) port which is found on all vehicles from 1996 and beyond. There are also units that are hardwired, meaning once they are installed, they are not going anywhere unless a thief cuts it out. These are perfect for high-end vehicles and classic cars which don’t have today’s modern tech.
If you have multiple vehicles and never stick with the same daily driver, GPS tracking tech can be tricky. Having a subscription for each tracker can be quite costly as well. If you don’t stick to one vehicle, you may want to choose a tracker that’s portable and battery powered in this case. Some are quite stealthy and can be quickly removed if you decide to roll with a different ride.
Subscriptions & Reliability
This is one area where you will have to do your homework although we can point you towards the key areas. There are only a handful of GPS vehicle trackers that offer up “free” tracking, and it usually comes with several caveats. In other words, be prepared to pay monthly unless you have something in place or plan on going through your cellular provider.
Reliability goes hand-in-hand with those subscription-based services as well. Some companies actually have their own GPS tracking satellites while others take a different approach or lease time. If in doubt about what type of service a particular GPS tracker offers, hit up the manufacturers website and get all the information you need on their plans before making your choice. The frequency in which you get updates and services offered will depend on how much you pay.
Top 5 Best GPS Tracker for Car Reviews
Accutracking offers up several different options in the GPS tracking field including the easy to use VTPlug TK373. This tracker works off 3G but is backward compatible with 2G service as well. The bands could be a bit tricky depending on where you reside although there is a “roaming” SIM card included.
It’s also extremely easy to install as this model is built to plug straight into your vehicles ODB II port. That means it should work on any care with that port although Mitsubishi cars are excluded. As for the tracking, you’ll get real-time data 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That includes vehicle diagnostics, geofencing, speeding, inactivity, and mileage just to name a few. You can even get reports emailed or texted to you or draw on a 30-day history online.
Like most if not all tracking services, this one is subscription-based but dubbed “pay as you go” so you don’t have to commit long term. You can opt for monthly, quarterly or yearly pricing, all of which are rather reasonable considering the services provided. While you will get full web access to your data, this tracker does not come with an app.
Looking for something a little more portable? Well, the Optimus GL300GPS tracker is a fine option due to its battery powered nature. That coupled with the fact you can pay as you go makes it a lock for our list of the best GPS tracker for car use. This one also comes with an app for iOS and Android devices although Windows Phone and other platforms were not listed.
The battery life itself is solid, but usage will vary by your update rate. That said, you should get around a week of normal usage before this one runs dry. There is a low battery warning system, however, so you will know in advance if you need to recharge. The Optimus tracker works like the rest of the pack by keeping tabs on your vehicle and can send emails and text for speeding or going into “forbidden” areas. In other words, you will have nothing to worry about when it comes to your kids taking the car out for the night.
Optimus GPS tracking service has a reasonable monthly fee and is free to cancel at any time. It’s also quite small at 2.7” x 1.5” x 0.93” which opens up an array of options when it comes to placement.
Some consumers are just looking for a simple tracker and don’t necessarily need constant updates or all the bells & whistles. If you fall into that category, you will appreciate what the Trackmate mini GPS tracker brings to the table. That said, it is far from bare bones as you will still get inactivity alerts, traffic conditions, and the ability to create different “groups” by vehicle type.
This one work with 2G service in the U.S. and there is an app which is a bit limited but available for both iOS and Android handsets. The company offers several different plans with no contract including a low-cost plan which gives you a check every 5 minutes if you set up quarterly payments. On the downside, this one is hardwired with a battery backup, so you will need to install it (or have it done) unless you have a plug readily available.
The MasTrack MT-ODB tracker is another simple, but effective ODB II module. The real-time tracker offers up updates in one-minute intervals and comes with an app if you want to dig a bit deeper. There is a web portal available as well in case you are still rocking the old school flip phone or entry level device.
When it comes to features, all the usual basic ones are included with alerts for various events, geofencing, and engine code monitoring. Needless to say, if your kids or significant other are slamming the brakes or doing burn outs, you will be notified promptly. MasTrack has three different options available when it comes to monthly subscriptions, and there is a model available with a backup battery as well.
By now you have probably started to notice a trend with GPS trackers for cars and trucks. They all generally look the same and are of the ODB II variety. That’s what you will get from the MOTOsafety GPS tracker which is 3G-based for a broader range of connectivity. It’s a bit more expensive than some of the units on our best GPS tracker for car list, but does offer up some perks you won’t find elsewhere.
As the name implies, the MOTOsafety tracker is built to keep you and your loved ones safe. Especially the teens as it was designed as a “driving coach” of sorts. That means you will get geofencing along with features like Route Replay which gives you a daily review of your teens driving habits throughout the day. That comes complete with an actual report card, which may result in a decrease in insurance depending on your provider.
Other family-friendly features to note with this tracker include a Curfew setting, a driving coach program, and the official MOTOsafety app. Beginning service rates are a bit higher compared to some of the other options on our list, but you are not under contract so you can cancel anytime you’d like.