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 have 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 guide, I will review each of these three different methods in detail.
But first, I will explain a few benefits that come with being able to track a car.
Let’s get started with the guide!
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Benefits Of Being Able To Track A Car With Your Phone
Possible Insurance Reductions
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), nearly 1 million vehicles were stolen in 2021, costing an average of roughly $9000 each.
Using these numbers, it should be 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, for 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. These include driving fast, accelerating quickly, or taking corners at high speeds.
Options For Tracking A Car
Built-In GPS Tracking
Most newer cars come with built-in GPS tracking as part 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
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.
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 these brands 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, you should know that all of them are cost-effective and will let you know where your car is at all times.