I recently came across with the situation when a person does not have any understanding what is a GPS tracking device for cars.

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My car insurance company offered me free of charge OBD (ON-BOARD DIAGNOSTICS) security lock with the arrangement that the next three years will stick with given BALTA insurance company.

I heard a conversation with a beautiful lady sitting next to me with another SIA Autonams car security company agent.

She said that has heard that you can find your car anytime in any place just did not has a clue how it works.

Company employee tried to explain to her but in a manner confusing even me. So I decided to make an insight into the topic How GPS tracker device for cars works. Let’s say How it works for Dummies.

What is GPS tracker?

Wikipedia about GPS Tracking Unit-

„A GPS tracking unit is a device, normally carried by a moving vehicle or person, that uses GPS stands for Global Positioning System to determine and track its precise location, and hence that of its carrier, at intervals.“

In other words, a car, boat, dog, people, drone, plane or any other movable object is equipped with the device which can be traced with the help of GPS signals.

Regardless of the trackable object, the principle of GPS tracker is the same.

GPS or other satellite navigation system like GLONASS or Galileo continuously broadcasts the signal which is received by any GPS receiver a tracker including.

By receiving at least three satellites messages, a GPS unit calculates geographic coordinates. For navigation purposes, it is enough, and you can use it for turn by turn navigation for cars or use it for marine navigation.

When it comes to GPS tracking then in many cases we want to know and track the object in real time though for so-called Data Loggers type (logs merely the position of the device at regular intervals in its internal memory) of GPS tracker it would be sufficient without transmitting collected position data.

Data logger type actually was the first GPS tracking solution mainly used for data collection and analysis for commercial trucks. Still in use for the same purposes as it running cost nothing except the price of unit and storage solution.

Another more common type is Data pushers.

Also known as a GPS beacon, this kind of device sends the position of the device as well as other information like speed or altitude at regular intervals, to a determined server or directly to the cell phone or computer that can store and instantly analyze the data.

To answer the question What is GPS tracking device for cars and knowing I wrote above the only missing link in the chain which needs to be clarified is- How to deliver data from the tracker to the end user.

The most common way is by using the cellular network.

On-demand or by set intervals a GPS tracker device for cars or any other assets sends messages of selected data. Security company or owner of the vehicle constantly can check the vehicle position. In the situation of unauthorized movement, the alarm is triggered. For example, GPS tracker is set for geofence (geographical borders), and as soon as the border is violated, you are warned about it.

Many security and other companies around are offering GPS tracking service, but I do not see the reason to spend the extra money on this. Only you need to buy one GPS tracking device for cars on  Amazon, hide it in your car. Then get one most covered GSM  operator SIM card, load it with about $20-$50, activate it and you are set to protect your property.

You can use it not just as security tool but even control your kids for speeding and other limits set by you.

So, once again GPS car tracking steps for Dummies.

Purchase GPS tracker unit, find a place to hide the device, insert charged GSM SIM card, download the free app for given device when it is needed (in some cases you even do not need any application as a GPS tracker device send you a link for position on Google map). Then read simple step by step inserted instruction how to set up alarm mode and other features. A budget will depend on your wishes mainly of the frequency of messages sent by GPS tracking device for the car to the user.

For those who wanted more flexibility and some other opportunities offered by GPS tracker producers can use paid tracking plans. Just in case here is one I would prefer in the present time.

NEW VERSION GL300 W Mini Portable Real Time GPS Tracker. Vehicle / Personal / Asset Tracking. Americaloc tracking.


I hardly found any drawbacks for this device just a couple of battery issues. My vision about a battery is that for car use needs to find a hidden way to connect to the car battery. I guess that it is not a brainer.

Here is the Amazon Verified Purchase customer review

„Unit worked as advertised. You can set up email alerts and then have emails converted to Text messages giving very close to real time alerts. We got reliable movement alerts, and were able to follow the thief’s route, while notifying the police. Tracked the thief all the way to his destination and police were summoned to arrest with goods still in possession. The free first two months of cell service was an added bonus. This unit works, and works reliably. The battery life is good, it was still 80% charged (yes it tells you state of charge) after over a week out in the field. Easy to set up, and customer service is awesome, responding to, even encouraging future inquires, almost immediately. They tweaked the tracking settings for me, and were right on top of it all the way. There are lots of units out there, but this one is a sure bet, at least it was for me.“

Is it the best choice?

I do not think so as you can find cheaper or more durable GPS tracking unit. I purchased China made for $17 just to experiment. It works as I described just battery is dead, and even after connecting with car battery the tracker functionality interrupts due to vibration. But I have experience and confidence how the tracker works.

Our topic is What is GPS tracker device for cars so for boats or planes, and in some situation, even for ground vehicles, another solution must be used. It is because of remote areas non-covered by the GSM network.

There are some other GPS tracking solutions for this mainly by means of satellite communication like Iridium or Inmarsat.

You can find some information in my previous posts about DeLorme InReach SE GPS Tracker

DeLorme InReach SE GPS Tracker is Independent of the Cellular Network

or very innovative and the perspective Internet of Things solution HidnSeek GPS Tracker.

HidnSeek GPS Tracker Innovative Solution.

So it is my short introduction of What is GPS tracking device for cars. You are very welcome to comment or say your vision of the topic.

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