GPS tracking devices are now commonly used by consumers for auto-theft security, or to track high-risk drivers such as newly licensed teenagers or senior citizens. The same location-based technology is also critical in assisting businesses with GPS fleets management applications such as routing, mileage documentation, and job costing. The truth is GPS tracking systems are now frequently called upon for a variety of reasons, leaving some drivers concerned a GPS tracker might be attached to the vehicle they operate. That same wonderment also results in the following question being asked: Is it illegal to track someone without their knowledge? First of all, it is highly recommended that anyone who believes they are being tracked illegally to contact the proper law enforcement authorities. Secondly, if a person believes a GPS tracker is on their vehicle, they should start by scanning the automobile and searching for the most popular places GPS tracking devices are placed on cars.
Whether it's to make sure of your teen driver's safety, to ensure that your spouse is not cheating, or to know where your vehicle is in case it is stolen, you must place your tracking device in an inconspicuous area. Once the person finds out that they're being tracked, your device will be broken, and a family conflict may arise because they will think you don't trust them. To avoid this scenario, you have to know where to hide the GPS tracker on a car.
How GPS Tracking Works
GPS, or the global positioning system, is a tool that transmits live location information to your computer or mobile phone. The pieces of information you receive in your cellphone are from the 24 satellites that revolve around the earth. The triangulation method is used in validating the location of the transmitter before the information is sent to you.
When using the vehicle tracking device, it should be positioned in a way that the antenna can detect satellite signal. The tracking device is the same navigation tool you use in finding location while hiking or driving.
Things to Consider
The most important thing to bear in mind when installing your GPS tracker is signal strength. If it cannot receive an adequate GPS satellite or cellular signal, the device will not work.
Most GPS signals travel through plastic, fibreglass, foam, wood, and glass, but not all solid materials, so it's usually a good practice to allow your GPS tracker to have a line of sight to the sky. Places like the roof, dashboard, or windscreen are obvious choices, but whether you want your tracker to be visible or not is the real decider. Let's look at the options.
Where to Hide a GPS Tracker in a Car?
If you are looking for covert positions, there a few possibilities available:
The Front Bumper
While it's certainly true that the front bumper is a less-than-ideal location for a hidden GPS tracking device (as it often houses a great deal of wiring for things like your car's lighting system, the temperature sensor and more), it isn't impossible to install such an item in this location and, as a result, should be one of the first places you check.
Unfortunately, this also brings with it a bit of bad news — because this area tends to be on the "complicated" side, you probably can't check for a GPS tracking device here yourself. Even if you have the skill necessary to pull such a critical component of your car apart and put it back together again, you likely don't have the equipment needed to do so. Because of that, you're probably going to want to call your trusted mechanic to make sure the job gets done properly.
Once you do pull apart your front bumper, look for a little black device (or a series of wires) that don't belong. If someone installs a GPS tracking device here, it's probably connected to the power supply on your car — which means that it can transmit for a very long time from nearly any location.
Your Wheel Wells
Although this is the location that DEA Agent/Brother-in-Law Hank used to track criminal mastermind Walter White on the hit AMC show "Breaking Bad," this is another one of those locations for a hidden GPS tracking device that isn't that popular for a variety of different reasons. For starters, it's very easy to spot something that has been covertly installed in a wheel well — your brakes should be the only thing back there, and anything else will very clearly not belong. Secondly, because this area is located on the outside of your car, there's a lot that could go wrong, and the device itself could easily become damaged or lost.
Having said that, if you do suspect that you're being tracked without your permission or knowledge, you'll still want to check all four-wheel wells of your vehicle. Get down on your knees, get out your trusty flashlight and be on the lookout for anything resembling a tiny box, a cylinder or something that looks out of place. Again, your brakes should be the ONLY item behind the wheels. Anything else that you find will likely be worth a closer look.
Your Rear Bumper
This is a very similar situation to your front bumper and is not the world's best place to install a hidden GPS tracking device for a variety of reasons. Again, your rear bumper houses a lot of important wires for your vehicle's electrical systems — mostly those that handle your lights and the other external sensors that your car's computer uses to help you out while you're driving.
To complicate matters a bit further, if your car has a rear backup camera (and if it was purchased within the last few years, it probably does), there will be additional cables devoted to that unit in this location as well. Once again, you're likely going to want to call your local mechanic to help you out if you suspect a hidden GPS device may be in your rear bumper.
If you do decide to proceed on your own, get out your car's instruction manual and take a look at the wiring diagrams. Compare the manual to what you're seeing and look for something that was added after the fact. But do not, under any circumstances, remove any wires unless you're sure you know what they do. Making the wrong move at this stage of the game could result in a car that you won't be able to use for quite a while.
This is one of those places that presents something of a mixed bag for people who are trying to track your every move. On the one hand, hiding a GPS tracking device under someone's dashboard is tricky because you need physical access to the inside of the car in order to do it. Once you've got that taken care of, however, it's the perfect location for such a hidden device because A) it's already filled with so many different wires and components that it can be hard to keep track of it all, and B) people rarely take a closer look at this part of their car in the first place.
In order to be sure that nobody has installed a hidden GPS tracking device in this area, remember the fact that all of the wires you see should be tied together in groups. If you see a wire or cable that is completely separate from everything else, doesn't match the existing colour scheme of all the other wires or looks like it doesn't belong, you may be onto something worth a closer look.
Your Glove Compartment and More
If you're the type of person who often forgets that you even have a glove compartment in the first place, you may be looking at one of the most common places that a GPS tracking device might be hidden on your car. Again, this is a tricky one because it requires physical access to the vehicle's interior, but provided that someone can achieve that, they can hide a GPS device easily without you noticing. Take a look inside your glove compartment or any other storage area within your vehicle. Look for small devices that almost look like television remote controls and be very wary of any component that you can't remember placing yourself.
Other Common Locations
Suppose yours is the type of car that has a sunroof, a moonroof or is a convertible of some type. In that case, unfortunately, it also offers a wide range of additional places to hide a GPS tracking device potentially. Remove any and all covers that are designed to protect these areas and take a look around for strange wires. While you're at it, be sure to check under your car's carpets, beneath the floor mats, under and in between your seats, and in similar areas.
On the exterior car, be sure to examine your vehicle's undercarriage closely. Use a flashlight to peer into ALL inaccessible areas of your car's frame. As you do so, remember that a GPS tracking device probably won't be able to transmit data (at least not in any reliable way) if thick metals cover it. The antenna needs a clear, unobstructed way to send and receive computer signals. Thankfully, this means that you can write off certain areas right away. Any GPS device hidden on the undercarriage of your car will probably need to be near the edges, so look there first.
How Can A Fleet Management Company Benefit From Using GPS Tracking?
In the long run, the survival of a fleet management company is decided by its level of productivity. You can end up losing large money in any case your employees are not working during their allotted working hours.
When you install GPS devices for tracking on the fleet of your vehicles, you can find out who is really contributing his working hours to work and who are simply wasting time regularly.
This update on the motions of work helps you decide the perks, wages and other advantages that you offer to the employees.
Save Money With Personal GPS Tracking
When you track employees on a regular basis, it becomes easier to find out the most productive one.
You can notify the employees that all the vehicles are on GPS tracker, which will indirectly pressurize them to elevate their overall performance and contribution to work.
It is an established fact that employees work with 100% focus when they are being observed or judged by their superiors. It directly increases your level of production and with just small investment in tracking device; your profit is automatically increased.
Improvement In Work Culture
Drivers tend to have a lot of habits that can affect the level of productivity and work culture in a company. By installing the GPS tracker, you indirectly put these employees on radar due to which they are forced to keep aside their time-wasting habits and completely focus on work.
Drivers drive more carefully when they are being monitored. Similarly, the employees rarely think of taking an alternate route or drive on random routes when they are aware of being tracked. This helps to save gas.
Significant Rise In Team Spirit & Commitment
By using a GPS tracking device to track vehicles, companies can witness a significant rise in the team spirit as everyone now is working towards only one goal, and that is to give their 100%.
Thus just one decision to install a GPS tracker in your vehicle can ensure that you not only save on the overall expenses but can motivate your entire team to work more with dedication and commitment.
So, there are multiple ways in which you can cleverly set up a GPS tracking device in your car without anyone noticing it and ensure optimum productivity and maximize the profits.
How to Choose a GPS Device
Before you buy a GPS device to use for covert tracking, consider the following:
- Choose a small GPS tracker (a standard Trackimo device measures 39 × 47 × 15 mm), with a colour that will easily blend with the car. The purpose of this is so the driver or passenger can't easily notice it.
- Look for a GPS unit that is motion-sensitive. This feature is an energy saver because the tracker is only active if the vehicle is moving.
- Look for a GPS tracker with the longest battery life. The average battery life of most tracking devices lasts 15 hours before it needs recharging. Some devices are able to last for up to 96 hours, depending on how you use it.
- A tracking device with a magnetic cover is a great choice because it fastens firmly to the vehicle's metal part. You won't worry about it falling off.
The Importance of Battery Life of a GPS Device
You must purchase a GPS device with long battery life because the transmission of location information can only continue while the device is turned on. But sometimes, it's the way you use the device that affects the longevity of the tracking device.
These are some of the factors that can drain a GPS device's battery:
- Size. The bigger the device is, the longer the battery life.
- Constant location updates. If you keep requesting the location every 5 or 10 minutes, that will burn your device's power faster than normal. Set up your device so that it has a 20- or 30-minute interval of data transmission to avoid losing power.
- Motion sensor turned off. Make sure that this feature is activated to avoid using battery power when not necessary.
Tips to Remember
When putting the device on the undercarriage of the car, place it near the edge so the antenna can still get satellite signal. In this case, the antenna is normally pointing downward. When concealing the GPS tracker inside or under the front dashboard, see to it that it can still transmit its location correctly because the signal from the satellite radio may hinder your device's transmission.
And when you hide GPS tracker on a car, make sure you don't place it near where the driver usually puts their GPS-equipped device like their cellular phone. The GPS signals of two devices could crash and corrupt the data, or worse, and the driver may discover your tracker.
Do not hide your tracking device in hot places like the front grill of the car bumper because it might melt, dissolve, or break down. Also placing the tracker under the hood is not an ideal place because the temperature inside can also damage the device's fragile electrical components. Aside from this, this spot gets a weak GPS signal.
In between seats is yet another unadvisable place to hide your tracking device because it's the first place people check to look for their missing items. There is also a possibility that the hidden car tracker will be found when the car is at the car wash for cleaning.
Making Your Choice
When selecting the placement of your GPS tracker, you have to consider both visibility and signal strength. If covertness is not your primary goal, then you have a lot more options. Whatever you decide, make sure your tracker is secure, safe, and able to detect a GPS signal.
Are you interested in supercharging the security of your vehicle? In addition to tracking its location, you can also track what happens in and around your vehicle with a handy, easy-to-use car camera. Some of these devices also offer GPS tracking, giving you an all-in-one tool for vehicle security.
If you have questions about the products and services offered by BrickHouse Security, or how to install a GPS tracker in a car, we can help you! We invite you to contact our team of experts so we can help you make the best decision for your security.
Frequently Asked Questions
GPS trackers connect to a series of satellites to determine location. The tracker uses a process called trilateration which uses the position of three or more satellites from the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) network and its distance from them to determine latitude, longitude, elevation, and time.
Like hardwired systems, Plug and Play GPS trackers get their power from your vehicle's electrical system, so they don't require batteries either. But there's no need for professional installation.