How To Track A Car Using Your Phone

Have you ever found yourself wandering around a parking lot trying to remember where you left your car? Or maybe you let your kid borrow it, and they haven’t checked-in when they were supposed to. Thankfully, if you’ve ever wondered how to track a car using your phone, it’s actually pretty easy.

The first option is to use a built-in GPS feature, such as OnStar (GM), HondaLink, and FordPass. The second is to download a GPS tracking app like Google Maps, SpySat, or SpotAngels. The third option is to install a GPS tracking device and pair it with your phone.

Which vehicle GPS tracking option is the right choice for you? Thankfully, in this article, we’ll review each of these 3 methods in detail. But first, let’s look at a few benefits that come with being able to track a car.

Benefits Of Being Able To Track A Car With Your Phone

Possible Insurance Reductions

According to the III (Insurance Information Institute), nearly 750,000 vehicles were stolen in 2018, costing an average of just over $8,400 each. Using these numbers, it should come as no surprise that many insurance companies offer discounts of up to 15% on cars with GPS tracking systems.

Note that this usually only applies to cars with a built-in tracking system or a separate GPS device.

Helps Locate Stolen Vehicles

If you use LoJack as an example, a popular GPS tracking system used by many government agencies and trucking companies. They claim a recovery rate on stolen vehicles of 95%. It’s also a common add-on sold at car dealers, usually with a cost of between $300-$700.

However, this cost includes a direct connection between law enforcement and LoJack. Using a self-bought GPS device, phone app, or a built-in tracking system likely isn’t. Thankfully, if you’re simply looking for a way to track your car via your phone, most options are either free or significantly less.

Keep An Eye On Additional Drivers

Equipping your car with a GPS tracking device is a great way to keep track of any additional drivers using your vehicle. If your son or daughter borrowed the family car and doesn’t return by the prearranged time, simply hop on your phone and check their location.

There is an endless number of scenarios we could use, but it’s likely best to just use your imagination. Regardless, being able to track the movement of your vehicle via your phone is a fantastic way to always know where it is.

Some trackers also offer data about the car while it is being driven. Some of these include driving fast, accelerating quickly, or take corners at high speeds.

Options For Tracking A Car

Built-In GPS Tracking

Most newer cars come with built-in GPS tracking as of their suite of connectivity features. You’ll usually receive a free year or more of service with the purchase of a new vehicle.

If you have bought a pre-owned car or want to extend the service, you will have to press the service button to speak to a Representative.

Be sure to inquire about each as to whether GPS tracking is included in the initial trial or if it’s an upgraded feature.

Once you’re signed up, simply pull out your phone and open the app.

Car brands with built-in GPS tracking available:

  • FordPass – Ford
  • Uconnect – Dodge, Ram, Chrysler, Jeep
  • HondaLink – Honda
  • NissanConnect – Nissan
  • OnStar – Cadillac, Buick, GMC, Chevrolet
  • Mbrace – Mercedes
  • Safety Connect – Toyota
  • Enform – Lexus
  • BMW Assist – BMW
  • Lexus – Enform
  • Lincoln – Lincoln Connect

Phone App

Many apps offer GPS tracking, though, if they aren’t paired to a separate device, you’ll have to leave your phone in the car.

This means purchasing a prepaid phone or adding one to your current plan. Then, you simply plug it in, stash it out of sight, and open the app on your primary phone. Thankfully, most apps don’t require anything fancy, just something with GPS and cellular capability.

If you’re solely wanting to solve the issue of forgetting where you park, many apps let you save a location on a map. Take Google Maps, for instance, which, after an update in 2017, allows you to do so free of charge.

A few of our favorite free apps include SpotAngels, Google Maps, and SpySat.

GPS Device

And finally, there’s installing a GPS tracking device in your car and pairing it to your phone. Most carry a price of between $25-$60 and require a monthly subscription ranging from about $10-$30.

The great thing is that many of them offer some pretty cool features. A few of these include custom SMS notifications and the ability to track driver behavior. As well as vehicle diagnostics and monthly e-mail reports.

A few of our favorite brands include Bartun, AmericLoc, MotoSafety, Bouncie, and Vsyncs. All of which offer affordable pricing and tons of great features.

Why Lose Track Of Your Car When You Don’t Have To?

Instead, utilize one of the above GPS tracking solutions.

Whether you use the built-in GPS that you already have, download an app, or install a separate device. All are cost-effective, and all ensure you know where your car is at all times.

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Joshua Barrett

Josh Barrett is a writer hailing from the great state of Alaska. While describing himself in the third person is not his forte, writing about any and all things automotive – is. After 13+ years hustling in the exciting world of car sales, he took off to travel the world with his dog Teemo.