Where Is A GPS Tracking Device Installed on a Car? | Azuga (2024)

What is a GPS device?

GPS (Global Positioning System) tracking got its start in the late fifties, with the launch of Sputnik. Scientists at NASA were able to track the satellite by measuring its shifts in radio signals, known as “The Doppler Effect”. Following this breakthrough, the military began satellite tracking experiments to follow US submarines. In the seventies, the Department of Defense called for the creation of a stable satellite network for global positioning. By the nineties, GPS devices were available for commercial use. Today, GPS and navigations systems are installed in cars during manufacturing.

That being said, there are many different types of GPS tracking devices utilized today, with various types of use. The average consumer GPS device doesn’t meet the needs of enterprise fleet tracking. Instead, fleets require a more comprehensive GPS device with software that sends data to a centralized software system. Then fleet managers can use this information to improve efficiency, safety, and compliance.

But are GPS tracking devices necessary for fleet management? Where is a GPS tracking device installed on a car or fleet vehicle? We’ll answer these questions and more below.

Why Install GPS for Fleet Management?

Nearly all fleets have some sort of vehicle tracking device, and those that don’t likely will very soon. This is due to the upcoming ELD compliance deadline on December 16, 2019, which requires all fleet vehicles to have an ELD (Electronic Logging Device) installed to track driver HOS (Hours of Service). This safety regulation is mandated by the FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration). While this particular regulation only requires ELDs for HOS tracking, many ELDs also provide other functions.

In addition, many fleet managers have seen the benefits provided by fleet tracking software such as cost reduction, improved driver safety, and greater operational efficiency. These factors, as well as the benefits below, are why every fleet should (and eventually will) install GPS tracking systems.

Where Is A GPS Tracking Device Installed on a Car? | Azuga (2)

Fleet Operations Cost Reduction

One of the greatest benefits a GPS system offers is cost reduction. This comes in many forms, and will vary depending on your type of business. Some of the savings you should look forward to include lower administrative costs. A good fleet management GPS system will also help increase fuel efficiency courtesy of route planning features. Other common benefits include:

  1. The ability to monitor driver behavior and alert drivers to unsafe practices in the moment.
  2. Better vehicle care and maintenance schedules including predictive maintenance
  3. Reduced paperwork and instant report generation capabilities

Greater Visibility: Monitoring Vehicle and Driver Use

You trust your drivers, but issues can arise that should be monitored. With a good GPS fleet management system, you’ll be able to see if a driver takes a detour, makes an unauthorized stop, is close to exceeding approved hours, has mechanical trouble, is over the speed limit, engages in risky behavior, and so much more.

Having genuine, real-time fleet information allows you to make informed decisions and improve your fleet’s efficiency. This may mean more training for a driver based on information gleaned from their safety score, faster routes with better traffic data, or greater attention to maintenance.

Fleet Compliance

Meeting government regulations can be a challenge when you don’t have an eye on all of your fleet vehicles at once. It is also difficult when all vehicle, maintenance, and driver information are in separate places or spread across different log books that must be meticulously kept. U.S. fleet tracking software often has features for storing data, generating reports on the fly, and automating your company's compliance.

Where Is A GPS Tracking Device Installed on a Car? | Azuga (3)

Optimize Daily Fleet Operations

GPS devices for fleets have many additional features that let you plan more efficient routes, reduce fuel consumption, avoid traffic and construction, keep track of hours, store and sort data, and more. The automation allows you to spend less time with log books and reduce costs spent on administration, so you can focus on the more important parts of your business- such as drivers and customers.

Where are GPS Tracking Devices Placed on Cars?

You can install a GPS tracking device nearly anywhere on a car or fleet vehicle- in the front or rear bumper, wheel wells, under floor mats or seats, or in the glove compartment. However, for fleet tracking purposes, GPS trackers are almost always installed on the dashboard through an on board diagnostics (OBD) port.

Originally, mechanics used OBD ports to run diagnostic reports and interface with the vehicle’s onboard computer. These same ports can also be used to give drivers real-time information on vehicle performance including fuel efficiency, temperature, airflow, speed, and more.

OBD tracking devices are now so common that even insurance companies are using them to provide discounts to safe drivers. However, not all OBD devices are the same, and fleet managers should carefully consider the additional features before they choose a GPS fleet system.

Where Is A GPS Tracking Device Installed on a Car? | Azuga (4)

How to Install a GPS Tracking Device in a Car or Truck?

Most OBD devices today can be paired to your smartphone or tablet using Bluetooth, allowing you to monitor your fleet no matter where you are. Your drivers can also pair with the device to get reports and information regarding their driving habits, routes, and overages.

How to install your GPS depends on the device. If you are using a hardwired black box, they will be installed under the dashboard and require a 3-wire installation. This can easily be done by your in-house maintenance team, if available. If you use this type of tracker, then we recommend you also install a GPS antenna and cables away from any other electrical devices that may interrupt satellite connection.

OBD trackers, on the other hand, are far easier to install and require little to no downtime. Follow these steps for OBD installation:

  1. Locate the OBD port, usually under the vehicle steering wheel, dashboard, or around the gearbox
  2. Insert the OBD device into the 16-pin port
  3. Install the device’s app or software onto your mobile device
  4. Turn on the vehicle’s engine to sync the GPS device with the app
  5. For computer connection, you will also need to install the associated OBD software.

What does GPS for fleet tracking do?

Once installed, your GPS tracker will bounce information collected from the vehicle between satellites, computers, and receivers, to determine the vehicle’s exact, real-time location. Other information that may be collected includes:

  • Engine time
  • Geofencing status
  • Fleet mileage tracking
  • Fuel consumption
  • Hours of Service
  • Speed of vehicle in operation
  • Instances of unsafe driving practices such as hard braking

Connected software and additional features may include:

  • Driving history
  • Fleet summary reports
  • Driver safety alerts/ alert setup
  • Messaging
  • Driver ID
  • Predictive maintenance reports

GPS devices for fleet tracking and management are no longer simply about knowing where your fleet vehicles are and finding faster, more efficient routes. They are also about improving the overall efficiency and safety of your operation.

Now that you understand the benefits of fleet tracking, GPS systems and software, where and how to install it, we hope you will consider installing GPS for your fleet.

Azuga utilizes OBD devices that are simple to install and easy to use, offering your small business the chance to reduce costs, improve driver safety, and increase the efficiency of your fleet. Improve your fleet, with Azuga fleet tracking OBD devices, eLogs, and dashcams.

Where Is A GPS Tracking Device Installed on a Car? | Azuga (2024)


Where is GPS tracking installed on a car? ›

Featuring a magnetic base, the wireless GPS tracking device can be installed in many ways like behind the front and rear bumpers, in the trunk, in the armrest box, under the passenger seat, in the glove compartment, or attached to the chassis of the car.

Do GPS trackers show the exact location? ›

Present-day GPS tracking units are highly accurate and can provide precise location information.

How GPS is used to locate a car? ›

GPS trackers connect to a series of satellites to determine location. The tracker uses a process called trilateration which uses the position of three or more satellites from the Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) network and its distance from them to determine latitude, longitude, elevation, and time.

Can a cell phone detect a GPS tracker? ›

You can detect trackers that are currently near you and separated from their owner's device with manual scan. It's possible that the trackers found in a manual scan are simply misplaced or temporarily separated from their owner's device.

Where do car dealerships hide GPS? ›

it is easy for them to place you connect the device near to the driver's OBD port and make them connect through the application so user can understand all the data of the car and if you ask the dealer to hide the device then it can be the possibility they can hide the device in the steering wheel by the extension ...

What does a tracking device look like on a car? ›

Compact Design: Wireless GPS trackers are small and discreet, often resembling matchboxes or decks of cards, making them easy to hide within a vehicle's interior. Magnetic Casing: Many trackers feature magnetic casings, allowing them to slide under the vehicle and attach to the frame securely.

Is there an app that can detect a GPS tracking device? ›

Tracker Detect looks for items that are separated from their owner and that are compatible with Apple's Find My network. These items include AirTag and compatible devices from others. If you think someone is using an AirTag or another item to track your location, you can scan to find it.

How can I know if my location is being tracked? ›

How To Tell If Your Phone Is Being Tracked
  • Unfamiliar apps on your homescreen. ...
  • Your device keeps crashing or running slowly. ...
  • Your battery drains faster than usual. ...
  • Apps suddenly open or run in the background. ...
  • Your default web browser or homepage changes. ...
  • ‍You have location sharing enabled without your knowledge.
Feb 15, 2024

Does my car have a tracker fitted? ›

Thoroughly look for anything that you find misplaced in your car, whether it's a small wireless electric module or a wired component. Move the car seats and look underneath. Also, check the edge of the seat covers that may hide the tracker. Examine the area beneath the dashboard.

How does GPS know where it is? ›

A GPS receiver determines its own location by measuring the time it takes for a signal to arrive at its location from at least four satellites. Because radio waves travel at a constant speed, the receiver can use the time measurements to calculate its distance from each satellite.

How do I disable GPS tracking on my car? ›

How to Block Vehicle GPS Tracking
  1. 1 Use a plug-in GPS blocker.
  2. 2 Carry a handheld GPS blocker.
  3. 3 Wrap the GPS device in aluminum foil.
  4. 4 Remove the GPS tracker's battery.
  5. 5 Disable location tracking on your cell phone.
  6. 6 Search the exterior of your vehicle.
  7. 7 Examine the interior of your vehicle.

Who put a GPS tracker on my car? ›

4 Simple Steps To Find Out Who Installed A GPS Tracker On Your Car. Check the serial number on the tracker. Look up the tracker's brand name on Amazon or Google. Contact the device's maker or any resellers who might have such information.

Is there an app that can detect a GPS tracker? ›

Tracker Detect looks for items that are separated from their owner and that are compatible with Apple's Find My network. These items include AirTag and compatible devices from others. If you think someone is using an AirTag or another item to track your location, you can scan to find it.


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