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Best GPS Trackers for Cars To Help You Recover Your Stolen Vehicle

You can’t put a price on peace of mind, but we’ll try anyway.

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BYCorey Forde/ LAST UPDATED ON May 18, 2022

Whether you leave your vehicle in a parking lot for work or to shop, you expect it to be there when you return. Yet, thousands of vehicles are stolen in the United States each day. Many people are left standing in an empty car spot, reporting the theft to an office over the phone. The realization that your car is long gone sets in quickly and so does sheer panic. With an overwhelming fear of whether authorities can track down the car before it is gone forever causes the uncertainty to heighten. Vehicles without theft protection, or the installation of a GPS tracker, are often very difficult to locate. That’s why you should consider getting a GPS tracker for your vehicle. Protect it with one of these top options.

Best Overall

Spytec GL300

Summary
Versatile, small, and thin with personalization options to fit anyone’s needs. 4G based with unlimited range. Great battery life.
Pros
  • Small/thin sizing
  • Personalized reports
  • SOS button/feature
  • High data storage
  • Perimeter setting
Cons
  • Needs separate case for waterproofing and magnetization
Best Value

Vyncs GPS Tracker

Summary
An app-based tracker with no subscription, and one-time activation fee. Real-time tracking. OBD 2 port plug-in with vehicle diagnostics.
Pros
  • Easily summarized data
  • No monthly subscription 
  • Works on OBD2 port while the vehicle is off
Cons
  • 3G antennas
  • Standard refresh time is long, at three minutes, but a 15-second refresh requires extra payment
Honorable Mention

Land Sea Air GPS Tracker

Summary
A magnetized and waterproof tracker. Versatile in placement. Privacy-focused, with no personal data stored on board. 4G-based dedicated app.
Pros
  • Magnetized
  • Waterproof
  • 4G LTE + satellite 
  • Real time tracking
Cons
  • Recharge time is 12 hours
Best GPS Trackers for Cars To Help You Recover Your Stolen Vehicle

Picture this: You’re walking out of the gym and into the parking lot after a hard workout session. You head to the area where you *thought* you’d left your car. Except, wait a minute — it’s not there. You begin frantically searching the lot, wondering if you forgot where you’d parked. You stop and your heart sinks when you realize one of two scenarios may have just happened to you. Either your car was towed or stolen. 
This story may seem oddly specific because it happened to a friend of mine. And I remember her saying that the worst feeling during the situation was the confusion. It’s a crappy feeling that no one should have to go through. That’s why we at The Drive have compiled a list of the best GPS trackers that’ll give you the peace of mind of knowing where your car is at all times.

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Best Car GPS Reviews & Recommendations

Best Car GPS Tracker Overall
Spytec GL300
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The Spytec GL300 is our best overall as at $40, this versatile and intelligent tracker can fill many roles with great depth and execution. It can fit in numerous places inside your vehicle, and with a waterproof and magnetized case, it can even be placed underneath your car. The Spytec GL300 can personalize reports, based on how you choose to use the device. All information can be easily accessed through its dedicated app, where you can see vehicle departure and arrival, boundary updates, perimeter breaching, and SOS button activation. This GPS tracker is also privacy-focused too, as it keeps zero personal data stored on the device. The battery life is great as well, lasting 2.5 weeks on average.
At $80, and no monthly subscription fee, the Vyncs GPS Tracker is a fantastic value all around. This car GPS tracker plugs into the OBD2 port on your vehicle but works even when your car is off by drawing small amounts of battery to wake itself and update its locations and any other data that has been recorded since its last refresh. The Vysyncs GPS Tracker can also monitor things such as vehicle health, driving habits, fuel level, route mapping, and even vehicle recalls. This tracker also has worldwide support, making it an easy choice for anyone, no matter their country of residence.
Magnetized, waterproof, and a little smaller than a hockey puck, the Land Sea Air GPS Tracker is a great choice for those looking to hide their car GPS tracker in the undercarriage. This tracker is app-based, connecting to 4G LTE towers, as well as satellites. Its pinpoint accuracy tracking is available within six feet. This GPS tracker will alert you through its dedicated app with real-time movements and real-time notifications, providing you with stops, perimeter breaches, and even addresses. There is also a feature available called “Share Spot”, which allows you to send notifications and information to designated contacts, making it a top choice for families and close friends.
The Bouncie GPS Car Tracker is a fantastic option for parents looking to keep their children and family vehicles safe. Plugging into the standard OBD2 port in vehicles, it’s capable of monitoring vehicle health, fuel level, speed, hard braking, accident notification, idle time, route mapping, and geo-fencing. On top of all of that, it also includes roadside assistance and 15-second refresh time. Those who work on their own vehicle will quickly find the appeal in this device, as it’s able to read any fault codes that show up after that pesky check engine light turns on. This GPS tracker is built upon Google Maps, and only costs $8 a month to utilize the features, with no cancellation fees. Its major downsides are the fact that it will not work with the vehicle off, and it plugs into the OBD2 port. Car savvy thieves are likely smart enough to look in that area of a car quickly after stealing one.
At a size slightly larger than a U.S. quarter dollar, the Apple AirTag is a great choice for those searching for a discreet option, and gives peace of mind if lost with the fantastic Lost Mode feature. It runs seamlessly with iPhones and its versatility increases tenfold thanks to the support of thousands of aftermarket accessories. These accessories include keychain cases, magnet cases, and fully submersible waterproof cases. Heck, they even have customizable wallet cases with AirTag slots. They have no monthly subscription, a reasonable price point, and one-year battery life. This tracker updates its location by pinging devices within 30 feet that are connected to Apple’s Find My network. With millions of those devices active daily around the world, AirTags earn its appeal despite the lack of cellular and satellite tracking. However, they fall short as a car tracker due to the fact that AirTags are designed to alert anyone (including car thieves who own an iPhone) that they’re being tracked. They also make an audible pinging sound after 8 hours away from its owner. While this is a great privacy and safety feature for the general public, this can ruin the discreteness of the tracker. It should also be noted that these trackers do not work with Android devices, apart from the direct scanning of the AirTag.

Our Verdict 

We chose the Spytec GL300 as the best all around GPS tracker for your car. It’s packed with useful features, and has extremely accurate, real-time tracking using 4G LTE. The Vyncs GPS Tracker is our best value pick thanks to its no subscription fee and usage versatility. Agree with our picks? Have any that we missed? Leave a comment below and let us know! 

FAQs on GPS Trackers for Cars

You’ve got questions. The Drive has answers.

What is GPS tracking?

GPS stands for Global Positioning System. By sending signals to cell phone towers, satellites or smartphones, a GPS-enabled device can pinpoint and relay its location with varying degrees of accuracy.

How does GPS tracking work?

A GPS tracker works by sending signals in intervals to a receiving point, such as a cell phone tower. These are also known as pings.  After each ping, the tracker updates its coordinates and communicates the information back to the owner. Many GPS trackers are capable of learning their location, time, velocity, and even elevation.

How accurate is GPS tracking?

This depends on the type of device, its capabilities, and its communication antennas. There are also a few factors that can render a GPS tracker useless, such as a lack of receiving points, or interference like thick walls and underground locations.

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