How To Track A Car Using Your Phone

Forgot where you left your car or was it stolen? Your phone can now track its location with the help of an app! Find out how here.

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.

However, initially I will outline some advantages that accompany the capability to monitor a vehicle.

“Let’s start with the guide!”

Table of ContentsShow

Benefits Of Being Able To Track A Car With Your Phone

man holding phone in car

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

phone with car icon on top and car traffic in background

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, the cost involves a direct connection between authorities and LoJack. A GPS device you buy yourself, a cellular app, or a tracking system on your automobile won’t possess this connection. The positive information is that if you desire to oversee your vehicle using your phone, the majority of other choices are free or significantly more affordable.

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

GPS navigation in modern car

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 purchased a used car or need to prolong the service, you must press the service button to talk to an agent.

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.

Automobile brands with integrated GPS tracking accessible:

  • 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

Smartphone with map gps navigation app on the screen

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 these brands offer affordable pricing and tons of great features.

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

phone with GPS for tracking location at street level

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.

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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.