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Vehicle Tracking

How Are Vehicles Tracked?

Installing a vehicle tracker can give you insurance benefits and safeguard your vehicle against theft. Since vehicles are such a valuable asset, losing them to theft can be devastating. Vehicle tracking can help deter thieves and aid in recovering a stolen vehicle.

What is a Vehicle Tracking System?

A vehicle tracking system is a system that tracks the exact location of a vehicle that owners of passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, or personal vehicles use. The system incorporates vehicle tracking software combined with a stolen vehicle recovery service to safeguard the vehicle.

Tracker companies offer various types of tracking services and software to align with the needs of the customer. Basic GPS vehicle trackers can be used after the theft of a car to find it, or real-time tracking can tell you the exact location of your vehicle at all times.

Vehicle tracking devices can sometimes provide vehicle diagnostics data, such as fuel consumption, engine diagnostics, driver trends, idle hours, and more. These data points are usually most useful for business owners, offering them geographic locations for their motor vehicle assets and data that can help them improve the efficiency and productivity of their drivers and vehicles.

What Does a GPS Car Tracker Look Like?

There are many kinds of trackers on offer from various tracking companies, but generally a tracker is a very small black box with a magnet inside and a light or antenna on it. Often it is hidden somewhere out of sight on the car, hard-wired or plugged into the car. Sometimes, people opt for using portable trackers that can be left anywhere in the car. 


How Does a Vehicle Tracker Work?

There are many kinds of vehicle trackers, and they each work differently, but the end result is detailed vehicle locating capabilities that help you know where your car is. They also deter motor vehicle theft and help in stolen vehicle recovery. 


GPS-based vehicle tracking systems use a satellite signal sent to a tracking server and sometimes a user’s mobile device to provide location information. Some GPS trackers offer real-time information, while others need to be activated before they start sending out a satellite signal. The latter helps disguise the existence of vehicle tracking devices in the car from thieves.


If your tracker solution includes a mobile application, you may be able to track your vehicle straight from your phone or tablet. The satellite signal is received by the company’s central server, then sent on to your app in this case. Some trackers are “passive” and collect data you can only get when the car returns. These trackers are ideal for commercial use.

How It's Powered

The other difference in how trackers work centres around how they are powered. Some trackers are battery powered, while others need to be plugged in to an external power source such as the car’s battery. They are low power consumption devices, so often battery-powered devices last for a very long time before batteries need to be replaced.

Where It's Installed

Where they are located in the car can also differ greatly, from being connected to the car battery, to being hidden somewhere near the engine, connected to the air vent, etc. If you installed a passive tracker for telematics technology, the location should be an easily accessible one. But if you installed a tracker for theft and recovery, it should be difficult to find so that thieves cannot easily remove it or disable it.

Does a Car Tracker Make a Noise?

No, car trackers are designed to be discreet and hard for thieves to find. You don't have to worry about it making any sort of noise that would be detectable by human ears. 

How Does a Real-Time Vehicle Tracking System Work?


Real-time trackers provide constant information that users can often view on an app or website. This means the GPS signal is in consistent use, providing real-time asset location information and data for fuel monitoring, driver behaviour, etc. If you want to know the real-time location of your car or business vehicles 24/7, this form of tracker is for you.


Does Every Car Have a GPS Tracker Inside it?


In South Africa, this is not the case, but some countries now install trackers as a standard feature in most new vehicles. In South Africa, it is up to the car owner to buy a location sharing tracker. Either way, it is an important device to install, whether you drive a heavy-duty vehicle or a regular passenger car.


What Are the Benefits of Using Car Tracking?


Modern vehicle tracking devices offer many benefits for consumer vehicles and a fleet of vehicles. The most obvious benefit is being able to recover your vehicle if it has been stolen. But, did you know there are many other benefits?

  • Driver Safety. Whether you’re concerned about teen drivers or drivers employed to travel long distances, you can track their location and know where they are at all times with a device like a 4G LTE Real-Time GPS tracker.
  • Fuel Economy. You can track fuel usage, fuel levels, distance travelled, idle time, and more to help you find ways to drive with more efficiency and waste less fuel. 
  • Route Efficiency. Collated tracking data can help you find the best routes more often based on actual trips you or your driver has taken.
  • Insurance Cost. Save on your car insurance by installing a tracking device. Insurers often decrease your premiums, because trackers are so beneficial in deterring theft and recovering stolen vehicles.

What is the Best GPS Tracking Device for a Car?

You can get a vehicle tracker quote by filling in the form at the top of this page. Our high-tech system will match your needs with the ideal tracker for your vehicle. The tracking company will then give you a call with an obligation-free quote for the best device for your needs.


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