15 Best GPS Trackers for Cars: Buying Guide

gps trackers for cars

Car trackers or vehicle tracking devices provide an in-depth record of the usage statistics and location history of your vehicle, which can be useful to stay on top of maintenance, prevent theft, and help train young drivers. If you’re looking to record the exact whereabouts and condition of your car at all times, discover the best GPS trackers for cars.

What are the best GPS trackers for cars available now?

Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Easy setup
  • Cusomizable alerts
  • Monthly reports
Price: $49.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Five year subscription included
  • Companion app
  • Car code reader
Price: $39.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
  • Battery-powered
  • Accelerometer-based motion detection
  • One year of cloud data
Price: No price available Shop now at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Companion app
  • Battery-powered
  • Unlimited historical data
Price: $29.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Companion app
  • Inexpensive
  • Teen driver training modules
Price: $29.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Flexible subscription rates
  • Companion app
  • Easy setup
Price: $29.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
accutracking gps tracker for cars Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Inexpensive
  • Reporting includes diagnostic data
  • Speed, ignition, & harsh braking alerts
Price: $19.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Linxup gps trackers for cars Amazon Customer Reviews
  • No varied packages to choose from
  • Companion app
  • Geofence, idle, accel and braking alerts
Price: $39.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Bouncie gps trackers for cars Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Vehicle diagnostics included
  • Dedicated app
  • Low monthly subscription - $8/month
Price: $67.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Autobrain gps trackers for cars Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Full alerts including diagnostics
  • Dedicated app
  • Roadside assistance included
Price: $34.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Americaloc gps trackers for cars Amazon Customer Reviews
  • 14 day battery life
  • Faster data updates included
  • Works worldwide with included SIM card
Price: $106.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
CarLock gps trackers for car Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Dedicated app
  • Alerts for unusual vibrations and towing
  • Works worldwide
Price: $49.95 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Mileage Ace Pro gps trackers for cars Amazon Customer Reviews
  • Super accurate
  • Does not require the OBD port to work
  • Large storage capacity on the device
Price: $46.89 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
MasTrack gps trackers for cars Amazon Customer Reviews
  • No additional service fee
  • Dedicated app
  • Unlimited history
Price: $159.00 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Vyncs gps trackers for cars Amazon Customer Reviews
  • No additional service fee
  • Dedicated app
  • Tracks vehicle location hourly when off
Price: $79.99 Shop at Amazon Shop now Read our review
Our Unbiased Reviews
  1. 1. Zubie GL500C12M 3G Consumer Connected Car Service with 3G Always-On GPS Tracking

    Pros:
    • Easy setup
    • Ability to set up alerts to and from common places
    • Maintenance alerts
    • Monthly driving reports
    Cons:
    • User agreement may give them permission to share data with third parties (possibly a concern for any such device)
    • Frequent app updates may be buggy
    • No easy way to view data on a computer
    • Delays in data updates can reach half an hour

    First mentioned in our best gifts for car guys post, the Zubie is focused on new driver training. Safe driving monitoring includes alerts for excessive speed compared to posted limits, hard braking and acceleration, and, of course, real-time GPS tracking.

    There’s also a featured called Fuel Finder that will locate the cheapest fuel near you. It will send you alerts for check engine lights, worn batteries, oil changes, and low fuel. You can also integrate it with Amazon Echo so you can ask it where your car is at any given time.

    VideoVideo related to zubie gl500c12m 3g consumer connected car service with 3g always-on gps tracking2018-10-11T11:55:01-04:00

  2. 2. Automatic AUT-350C Pro Gold 3G Connected Car Adapter

    Pros:
    • Companion app with emergency response service
    • Five year subscription included in price
    • Built-in car code reader
    • Compatible with IFTTT apps and products, like Amazon Echo
    Cons:
    • Newer software may still be buggy
    • Short stops may trigger new trips
    • No ability to disable tracking or delete tracking reports
    • Some missed notifications

    Now in its third generation, this start-up created serial port module offers a slightly elevated service in comparison to some of the others. That’s certainly reflected in the price, but so is something else: a five year subscription. That makes this a comparatively cheap option next to some of the others on this list.

    Coming from tech start-up land, this integrates with IFTTT, which means you can use it with a wide variety of apps in addition to Amazon Echo and Nest, which will let you do things like turn on lights or set the thermostat depending on what your car is doing. Unlike most GPS trackers, this one also includes a car code scanner in case of check engine lights or other troubles.

    If you’re ever in an accident, the device will automatically contact Automatic’s customer assistance, which will call you and ask if you need emergency service or to call a personal contact. Given all those options, the price isn’t so bad at all.

    VideoVideo related to automatic aut-350c pro gold 3g connected car adapter2018-10-11T11:56:13-04:00

  3. 3. Spy Tec STI_GL300 Mini Portable Real Time GPS Tracker

    Price: No price available
    Pros:
    • Battery-powered — two-week life
    • Tracking platform works on any device (website based)
    • One year of data stored in the cloud
    • Real-time tracking and accelerometer-based motion detection
    Cons:
    • Somewhat expensive monthly subscription
    • Accuracy limited to the accuracy of GPS generally
    • Data updates are a little glitchy
    • No dedicated mobile app

    While we don’t condone spying of any kind, as long as you’re using these modules on your own car for the purposes of safety, the “spy” angle is really just a name. This mini module doesn’t require being plugged into the OBDII serial port in your car, so if you must hide it (from your teenager, for example), you can. The battery will last for up to two week and offers up-to-the minute tracking.

    The accelerometer inside detects motion and will only power the device on when moving. You can setup geo-fenced areas and receive alerts when your vehicle enters or exits that area. Up to one year’s worth of data is backed up to a cloud service.

  4. 4. Optimus Real Time GPS Tracker

    Pros:
    • Dedicated app
    • Battery-powered — two-week life
    • Unlimited historical data while subscribed
    • Good customer service
    Cons:
    • Some tracking delays
    • Only transmits data in areas with cellular coverage
    • Not ideal for constant fleet tracking
    • May need to be reset regularly to work properly

    Utilizing a very similar GL300-style tracker from the option above, Optimus have created a dedicated app for managing the data the tracker creates. Unlike the one above, this one claims to be able to send alerts for speeding, in addition to geo-fencing, battery status, and panic. There’s a version of the app for both iPhone and Android, so you don’t need to worry too much about the device.

    While you’re subscribed, your saved data history is unlimited so you can compare trends and rectify issues over time. They make a magnetic waterproof case for it, which is highly recommended.

  5. 5. MOTOsafety OBD Teen Driving Coach Vehicle Monitoring System

    Pros:
    • Tracking for location, direction, speed, traffic, and others
    • Relatively cheap
    • Complete teen driving education course, including scores for hard braking and other bad habits
    • Dedicated app
    Cons:
    • Acceleration alerts are very sensitive
    • Notifications sent via SMS
    • Speed limit notifications are difficult to set correctly and make useful
    • App may be relatively limited in function

    Taking the driver education approach over the spy route, this is a serial port tracker that gives you finite details over what’s happening to your car and when. There are report cards and a coaching program to help train new drivers and identify bad habits. It offers geo-fencing, of course, but also allows you to set up curfew hours that will alert you when the car is being driven at certain off-limits times.

    When you review the route taken, you’ll see spots where unsafe driving occurred, so you can review with your teen. Otherwise, it’s just a good GPS tracker with enhanced car information and is one of the cheaper options for that purpose.

     

    VideoVideo related to motosafety obd teen driving coach vehicle monitoring system2018-10-11T11:59:28-04:00

  6. 6. BrickHouse Security TrackPort 2.0

    Pros:
    • Flexible subscription rates
    • Breadcrumb trail of movement and geo-fencing
    • New dedicated app
    • Easy setup
    Cons:
    • Reviews from December 2016 suggest that it might not work in trucks (Note: BrickHouse Security clarified that vehicles lacking the necessary OBD connector should use the hardwired version.)
    • U.S. use only due to CDMA network requirement (Note: BrickHouse offers international versions here.)
    • May need to consult company's tech support to help you decide which model to buy

    The new version of the TrackPort from BrickHouse includes the release of an app — BrickHouse TrackView — which gives you a satellite or map view of your vehicle’s location. Using Verizon’s CDMA network, the OBD port-style tracker wirelessly beams information to both the app and the online platform every 30 seconds at the highest subscription rate of $29.99 per month. Otherwise, you can choose push-only for $9.99 per month, five minute intervals for $19.99 per month, or one minute intervals for $24.99 per month.

    Speed alerts and geo-fencing are available, as are travel reports and a panic button. The first month of the subscription is free with purchase.

  7. 7. Accutracking VTPlug TK373 3G Real-Time Online GPS OBD II Vehicle Tracker

    Pros:
    • Inexpensive
    • Reporting includes diagnostic data
    • Speed, ignition, and harsh braking alerts
    Cons:
    • Lowest update rate is every 15 seconds - requires most expensive monthly package
    • No smartphone app
    • Will not work in Mitsubishi vehicles

    Here’s a cheap and cheerful option. It allows for geofencing and also tracks a full range of statuses and activities: speeding, low battery, inactivity, fence duration, harsh behavior, ignition/ACC, check-engine with DTC, unplug from vehicle, engine idle, oil change, engine temperature, RPM. You can have these alerts sent to your phone via SMS or to your email account. Real-time tracking is available in different increments depending on which monthly subscrption you choose. At the cheapest, which is $12.99, updates will be available every 120 seconds, which can be reduced to 15-second intervals at a cost of $25.99 per month.

    This is a pay-as-you-go prepaid service, with the GSM radio inside utilizing AT&T’s 3G network for connectivity. You can access all reports up to a 30 day history via the company’s rather rustic website, which can then be downloaded into a simple CSV file. Basic functionality at a relatively low price.

  8. 8. Linxup OBD GPS Tracker

    Pros:
    • No varied packages to choose from - flat rate monthly subscription
    • Companion app
    • Geofencing, idling, acceleration and braking alerts
    Cons:
    • Somewhat pricey subscription - $22.99/month
    • Not quite real-time - tracks once per minute
    • Early termination fee applies if you opt for one or two year contracts (contract not required)

    Linxup offers this option, which most directly compares with the MOTOsafety in that it’s less than $50, can be used with the company’s dedicated app, and identifies and tracks bad driving habits. As with the others, this tracks the usual suspects of speed, hard acceleration and braking, and has a geofence capability. All data is viewable on the dashboard-based mobile app or on the website. All data is retained for one year, while some summary data is retained for up to three years accessible by the user. Summary data up to five years old is also available but requires you to contact the company and pay a service fee for retrieval.

    Speaking of fees, the monthly subscription rate is $22.99 per month, though you can reduce this quite a bit by signing one, two or three year agreements. These have the trade-off of an applicable early termination fee, but if you plan to use them for years, might be good option for you. The tracking on these refreshes once a minute, so it’s not quite real-time, but should be accurate enough for most. Alerts can be sent via the app, email, or text.

  9. 9. Bouncie Smart Driving Companion GPS Tracker

    Pros:
    • Vehicle diagnostics included
    • Dedicated app
    • Compatible with IFTTT apps and products, like Amazon Echo
    Cons:
    • Not quite real-time - tracks once per minute
    • No tracking when the vehicle is off
    • Alerts can be slow to send at first - requires a syncing period

    Competing with the Automatic and the Zubie, the Bouncie is an all-around vehicle health and GPS tracker. Engine trouble codes can be sent via alerts along with speed, hard braking, driving outside of curfew hours, trip distance, idling, and more. Among the unique features is that drives can be color coded by speed ranges. Additionally, you can setup various “geo-circles” to geofence different locations. It also alerts you when the device is removed from the car and can be shared with multiple users via the app.

    The monthly subscription fee is $8, but if you have multiple cars or a fleet to track, you can save on multiples of three. The tracking interval is about one minute and unlike other options on this list, it does not track when the car is turned off. Data is unlimited.

  10. 10. Autobrain OBD Real-Time GPS Personal Vehicle Tracking

    Pros:
    • Full alerts including vehicle diagnostics
    • Dedicated app
    • Roadside assistance included
    Cons:
    • Driver grade may be negatively impacted when app doesn't know the speed limit for a given area
    • App may require signing in each time
    • Reports of glitchy updates

    This option competes with the Automatic, Zubie and Bouncie but puts an emphasis on family safety. In addition to tracking all the expected tracking and alerts for vehicle location, diagnostics, speed, and curfew, this option adds in a couple of extra touches to differentiate. First, four 24/7 roadside assistance service calls per year are included in your subscrption fee of $9.97 per month. Furthermore, crash detection is built in, so in the event of a collision, an emergency advisor will attempt to call you. If you don’t answer, they will then call your loved ones to alert them.

    Tracking on this is near-real time, with ten second intervals being common. However, it can be a bit glitchy at times and require being unplugged and plugged back into reset it. The first month of service is free, so you have 30 days to test it on your car and in your area to get a feel for how well it responds.

  11. 11. AMERICALOC GL300W Mini Portable Real Time GPS Tracker

    Pros:
    • 14 day battery life
    • No additional cost for more frequent data updates
    • Works worldwide with included SIM card
    Cons:
    • Pricier than other options
    • Monthly subscription is $25 (but can be cheaper if prepaid for longer time periods)
    • Unrefined app

    Competitive with the Spy Tec and Optimus trackers, this is one of the best hidden GPS tracker options. Where as the OBD-style models plug into your car, this one can be affixed to the outside with the help of a magnetic waterproof case for discreet tracking. The battery life on this newer version is up to 14 days of tracking the expected parameters: movement and stopping, speeding, entering or leaving zones, and tampering such as the front button being pressed or being powered off. Naturally, a low battery alert is also available.

    There is a companion app, but it’s on the rough side. Also, the monthly fee is steeper than some other options at $25 per month, but you can save up to $72 per year by prepaying longer intervals. Out of the box, the tracking refresh rate is set to one minute, but you can contact the company and have this reduced to as little as ten seconds for no additional cost. One year of tracking history is included.

  12. 12. CarLock Advanced Real Time 3G Car Tracker

    Pros:
    • Dedicated app
    • Alerts for unusual vibrations and towing
    • Works worldwide
    Cons:
    • Potentially glitchy tracking
    • Some reports of defective units
    • No direct customer service phone number - calls must be email requested

    Though many of the expected functions are present in this unit, the focus of the CarLock is on anti-theft activities. This includes unusual vibration alerts intended to signal that someone may be using a tool to access your car or that it is being towed. It can also alert you to theft attempts using stolen or cloned keys if the car is moving when you don’t want it to move. Aside from that, the normal hard acceleration, braking, and hard cornering alerts are present, as is a car battery monitor.

    The monthly subscription fee is $9.60 per month. The data refresh interval is 30 seconds with no options to change this.

  13. 13. Mileage Ace Pro GPS Mileage & Real Time Vehicle Tracker

    Pros:
    • Super accurate
    • Plugs in via USB rather than using the OBD port
    • Large storage capacity on the device
    Cons:
    • Much larger than other options
    • Requires USB power in your car
    • Must be mounted somewhere inside the car

    The aim of the Mileage Ace varies slightly compared with some of the other options on this list. While there’s considerable overlap, this notably is neither meant to plug into an OBD port for vehicle health and instantaneous tracking, nor is is meant to hide somewhere for discreet monitoring. Instead, this is aimed squarely at tracking business and fleet mileage for costing and tax purposes. Because data is stored to the device and then uploaded – either via wireless network or via wifi in this model – the tracking is super accurate and can be stored for years without reporting back to the database. That data then forms the basis of detailed trip logs which can be used for tax documentation.

    Real time tracking is stil available, but comes at an added cost. Standard accounts start at $15.49 per month plus $0.19/day for the cellular data. You can add real time tracking for $2 per month at five minute intervals or $4 per month at one minute intervals. While most similar products are made in China, this one is made in the U.S. with domestic customer support.

  14. 14. MasTrack GPS Tracker

    Pros:
    • No additional service fee for the first year
    • Dedicated app
    • Unlimited history
    Cons:
    • Must buy premium packages for real time tracking
    • High initial cost
    • Only reports when vehicle is running

    Like the Automatic, this offering from MasTrack bakes the first year of service into the intial purchase price. While you can buy just the device on its own, your best bet is going with either this price, the basic service offering, or the premium version at $269. The basic service plan competes with the CarLock on this list and is aimed at anti-theft activties, racking ignition events for an unlimited history. The premium service offers one minute interval real time vehicle location reporting, unlimited alerts, and roadside assistance.

    After the first year, you can pay on a monthly basis for each of the service levels, found on the company’s website here. The most expensive is the premium reporting at $17.91, but there’s an essentials offering at $15.83 per month that offers five minute update intervals and the unlimited alerting. A companion app will let you see all the collected details, as will the online web portal.

  15. 15. Vyncs GPS Tracker

    Pros:
    • No additional service fee for the first year
    • Dedicated app
    • Tracks vehicle location hourly when car is turned off, otherwise goes to sleep
    Cons:
    • Must upgrade plan for faster data updates - one minute is standard
    • App and website can be slow at times
    • One-time activation fee of $29.99 required

    Vyncs also makes real time GPS tracker for cars that requires no additional monthly fee. The first year of service is baked into the price, with different service levels offering various upgrades. This is the base model, which includes the standard set of alerts and tracking (geofence, vehicle OBD diagnostics and maintenance, fuel economy and fuel level (if available on your car), speed, hard braking and acceleration, trip history and even a drive score. These sync to the app at a three minute interval at this service level, but you can upgrade this with additional annual fees. Vyncs Premium is the same as the basic offering, but adds in roadside assistance.

    Vyncs Pro includes a one minte data refresh rate (can be separately upgraded to 15 seconds), as well as a live map mode that refreshes whenever new GPS data is available. Finally, there is Vyncs Fleet which adds greater dashboard scalability and better idling tracking. All service levels offer speed histograms, device tampering alerts, and an engine fault code reader. There are definitely some fees and added costs to navigate here, but the base cost for the second year renewal is $74.99, or about $6.25 per month. With judicious option selection, you could manage a decent service price for this tracker.

What is the Purpose of a Car Tracker?

There are several reasons you might want to know the exact whereabouts and traveling conditions of your vehicle. Maybe you're keeping very tidy maintenance records and you want to be able to reference the performance history.

If you live in an area where car theft is high, you might install one on the off chance your car is stolen, so you can track it to its exact location. Perhaps you manage a small fleet of vehicles as a landscaper, for example. If you're a driver for Uber or Lyft, maybe you want to keep your own records of your fares.

These vehicle GPS trackers either attach somewhere in the car or connect to the sixteen-pin, OBDII diagnostic port we discussed in our car code readers post.

In one form or another, all require a monthly subscription to support the cellular network data that beams vital statistics to your smartphone, tablet, or computer so you have real-time data on where your car is being driven and how. Some feature maintenance reminders and engine trouble code readers, as well, expanding their use.

Keeping Track of Young Drivers

Far and away the most popular reason for investing in GPS trackers for cars is that you are the parent of a freshly-minted driver. Teenagers, as new drivers, might report that they're being safe at all times in your (or even their own) car, but we've all been that age once and we know it isn't true.

I know I was very unkind to my first car and I'm sure my mother would be horrified to know the details. I survived without any major incidents, but that doesn't make it okay. The modules can give you piece of mind when your child is driving without you.

The point of these really isn't to spy on your teenaged driver, but to help train them to be the best operators they can. Valuable insight can be gained from how they drove on a certain stretch of road that will make them into more aware, better prepared drivers, which will help them avoid accidents in the future.

Logging Data for Your Car Maintenance App

Finally, among the CarBibles 20 car maintenence tips there is advice to monitor your fuel efficiency, learn what the engine lights mean and an entire section encouraging you to use technology to keep track of your car.

For fleet maintenance, this kind of logistics detail can mean big savings in terms of route planning, vehicle upkeep, and overall strategy. They can also be helpful in the event of a crash as proof of speed, among other things.

Almost all of the companion apps for the car GPS trackers above feature some kind of maintenance reminder or logging system. Combined with the usage stats, you can improve the driving efficiency of your car and vastly extend the life, which will save you far more than the monthly subscription prices in the long run.

See Also:

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