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What is the best way to track my car?

Use a GPS tracker. OBD-II port-powered trackers provide the most data and get power from the vehicle, so they don’t have to be recharged. But they can easily be disabled if they’re unplugged. Hardwired trackers are a bit more discreet and also don’t need recharging. Internal battery-powered trackers can be hidden on the vehicle, but have a short power lifespan.

Where do you put a GPS tracking device on a car?

It depends on the style of tracker you buy. If you get an OBD-II port-powered tracker, it’ll only go where that port is stationed in your vehicle. Trackers hardwired to the battery are limited to your car’s battery location. But other trackers powered by internal batteries can be placed wherever you like—most are equipped with a magnet. If you want to track a vehicle via its exterior, verify that the tracker is waterproof.

Do all car GPS trackers require a monthly fee?

Most of them do, and the ones that don’t aren’t worth buying. Prepare to purchase your tracker along with a subscription plan. Some trackers even offer subscription tiers that provide more features and data.

How long can a GPS tracker last on my car?

OBD-II-powered and hardwired GPS trackers can last as long as the vehicle’s battery—many, many years as long as the vehicle is driven at least every couple months or so—while internal battery-powered trackers have a limited lifespan. The length of this lifespan really depends on how often the tracker is reporting—something the user can adjust—and can vary from just a couple days to a few months.

Is it legal to install a GPS tracker on someone else’s vehicle?

In most states, it is illegal to install a GPS tracking device on someone’s vehicle without the owner’s consent. If you’re worried that this might’ve happened to you, check the OBD-II port, look for suspicious wires coming from the battery, and inspect other areas, like under your seat, wheel wells, and under the dashboard. Contact the police immediately if any suspicious devices are found.

Why Trust Us?

This test was conducted in an environment that provided equal testing procedures for each product: the Car and Driver garage. We tested each GPS tracker equally to compare them based on alert reliability, data, features, and ease of use. Upon tallying our findings, we agreed that our test provided enough information to recommend picks to our readers.

Hearst Autos combines the talent, resources, and expertise of three of the largest, most influential automotive publications in the world. We don’t need to game SEO algorithms for traffic or promote lousy products to make a sale. We’re more concerned with our legacy, our reputation, and the trust our readers have in Autoweek, Car and Driver, and Road & Track to deliver honest evaluations and expert opinions.

Read more about our product testing and evaluation process here.

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