Trackers rely on Global Positioning System (GPS) and cellular networks to keep track of the location of a vehicle in real-time. These devices are so tiny that you wouldn’t notice them if you are unsuspecting or untrained. GPS trackers can be used legitimately; by warranted police investigators, or illegitimately; by unauthorized persons. Uses of GPS trackers include fleet management, monitoring minors, theft recovery, and helping you figure out where you parked your car. You can use GPS tracking devices for your different types of boats and can protect your Jet Ski, Waverunner or Seadoo with a waterproof boat GPS tracking device.
GPS trackers can either be active or passive. Active ones determine location and transmit that information through a cellular connection, while passive ones record and store data on-site. Some GPS’s draw power from the electrical system of a car while others is battery-powered, making them even more difficult to find. If you suspect that someone has installed a GPS in your car, here is what you can do to find the GPS tracking device on your vehicle
Basic and advanced tools
Get a flashlight, a creeper, and a telescoping and mechanic’s mirror. If these visual inspection devices do not yield results, you will need specialized bug detectors and electronic sweepers.
Steps in locating a GPS device
Start with the exterior. Use the flashlight and mechanic’s mirror to check hidden areas of the vehicle. Think about areas which are quick and easy to access. Begin by checking under the vehicle. Use the creeper to go under. Keep in mind that the tracker could be muddy, dusty, or grimy if it is hidden under the vehicle.
Move to the wheel well and check all the wheels. Use a telescoping mirror to gain a good view and use your hand to feel around if your eyes cannot get to some of the points. Check under the plastic wheel well liner, a potential place where someone may attach a magnetized tracker. Also, look inside the bumpers and the engine compartment.
Go in and check the data port, a likely place for electronically powered GPS devices. The data port is found under the dash near the driver’s legs. Also check under the seats, behind the glove compartment, in the trunk, in the seat pockets, behind sun visors, between seats, in the spare tire, behind a door panel, and inside sea cushions.
Use a bug detector to sweep the vehicle
Bug detectors detect electromagnetic signals and can only work on active GPS trackers. Some trackers will only register a transmission when the vehicle is moving. Walk around your car as you hold a bug detector near all the possible locations. If it detects the GPS, it will light up and buzz.
Seek professional help
If you have tried all the above methods and still cannot find the tracker, find a technician who deals with automotive electronics, and car alarms and audio. They will help you find the tracker.
When you find a battery-powered GPS device, pull it loose to remove it. If the device is hard-wired into power, seek professional help to remove it safely and avoid future electrical problems.