Chapter 3

How to choose a GPS tracker for a car?

If you're looking for advice on how to choose the best GPS tracker for your car, you've come to the right place. Here is an overview of the different technologies available (with no monthly fee).

traceur gps bas debit dans voiture

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The British government strongly recommends to report to the police your car theft as soon as possible. And also to your insurance company depending on the deadlines set in your contract. Today, protecting your car is essential! With a car stolen every 6 minutes in the UK, the GPS tracker for cars is an essential tool to find your car after a theft. It will allow you to greatly reduce the time between the theft and when you get your vehicle back. It is an important tool in the fight against theft.

Below, we outline different tracking device technologies, the pros and cons, with a focus on GPS trackers for cars with no monthly fee.

SUMMARY

The best vehicule trackers: low-power trackers

An invoxia gps tracker with no sim card

If you want to find a car, it is better to use a low-power GPS tracker for cars. But how does it work? Find out the pros and cons of these tracking devices for cars.

How does it work?

The GPS trackers with no monthly fee work thanks to low-power networks. These networks are based on public frequencies that do not require a license to use. This is what allows GPS tracker manufacturers to offer you GPS vehicle tracking device with no monthly fee. For example, the French company Invoxia offers this type of tracking device for cars at a rather attractive price and with no fees (or rather with fees included).

The Sigfox and Lora low-power networks followed the rise of smart objects in our daily lives – they are also known as LPWAN (Low Power Wide Area Network). The promise of Sigfox and Lora is: a more efficient battery than those for conventional wireless networks at a lower price.

Pros and cons of the low-power trackers

The pros

The tracking device doesn't need to be charged too often. Usually, this type of GPS tracker has a long battery life (about 1 year). The GPS tracker for cars is independent and can send its GPS position from anywhere in the world. This will help you locate your vehicle anywhere and without any distance limit in case of theft. This device is discreet, waterproof, and chargeable. You can also put it on a motorcycle.

The manufacturer sometimes provides an app that will allow you to get a notification in case of theft or unusual movement of your vehicle, for you to quickly take action.

The low-power GPS tracker for cars is the best option to find a car. There is no monthly fee thanks to Sigfox and Lora low-power networks. This tracking system allows you to track a stolen vehicle and report it to the police. This is not, strictly speaking, an anti-theft device, but it will allow you to get the GPS coordinates of the thief and find your vehicle. This is a game-changer and will bring you peace of mind.

The cons

These networks are less expensive and allow for a longer battery life. However, real-time GPS tracking is impossible due to network saturation (public frequencies). All messages sent by the tracker are delayed and each position is updated with a delay of 1 to 2 minutes on average.

To track a car, the lack of real-time location is not really a problem and this type of network proves to be a very good option for car tracking devices. The purpose is not to follow the vehicle's movements in real-time but to locate its final destination, especially in case of theft and to share the information with the police.

Why is this the best option?

Low-power GPS trackers for cars are the best option. By using low-power networks, the car GPS tracker can send its position from anywhere in the world. Therefore, it is more powerful than other types of car trackers. It has a lot of pros and a few cons in terms of finding a stolen vehicle.

An important feature is that this GPS tracking device for cars can include a monthly fee for the first few years of use, or sometimes none at all. Indeed, in addition to providing all the necessary requirements for tracking a car, it is also available at a very good price. The low-power GPS trackers for cars are the best option for tracking stolen vehicles, making it easier than ever to locate them. The French company Invoxia has developed the best GPS tracker for cars, "Roadie" starting at £99.

Other options to track your car with no monthly fee

An SUV seen from the front

The SIM-free GPS tracker

The term "GPS without a SIM card" is very vague when trying to define what it really is. But, it actually refers to two types of products:

- GPS trackers that use conventional networks (2G,3G,4G) that do not include a SIM card when purchased, but require you to buy one later on for the tracker to work.

- GPS trackers working on low-power networks. They do not require a SIM card to work and in our opinion, these are the best option for tracking a car.

Below, we will detail the first option listed above: The GPS tracker sold without a SIM card but which requires one to work.

About GPS trackers sold without a SIM card

A GPS tracker sold without a SIM card is a product that will be perfect to locate your car as it will allow you to track your vehicle with no distance limit and in real-time. The tracker can be located wherever there is a GSM network, including most of the US.

The manufacturer does not provide the SIM card and you will have to get one from the carrier of your choice and subscribe to a monthly plan. So be careful: The so-called "SIM-free" GPS tracker for cars does not always mean it’s a GPS tracker that doesn't need a subscription plan to work.

Finally, buying this type of GPS tracker for a car is like buying a phone, you need to subscribe to a monthly plan from any service provider you want to get it running and get access to all its features.

Is a GPS tracker without a SIM card the best option for a car?

This is not the best type of tracker for tracking a car. Indeed, paying a monthly subscription fee for a GPS tracker for a car is often useless since the main advantage of paying the fee for a SIM card is real-time tracking. In case of theft, you will try to find your vehicle (which will eventually stop) and not track it in real-time. Finding your car with a SIM-free GPS tracker is not recommended.

Prefer a low-power GPS tracker for cars.

Also, this type of tracker has a shorter battery life than low-power trackers, so you will need to charge it regularly.

The Bluetooth tracker

How Bluetooth tracker works?

Bluetooth technology is also used for GPS trackers that do not require a monthly fee. This is true of Apple's Airtag or Tile's trackers. These small Bluetooth GPS trackers have a one-year battery life and send a Bluetooth signal to your smartphone up to 164 ft (50 meters) in an open environment. You can then find what you are looking for using the tracker's app.

Over 164 ft (50 meters), or less depending on your surroundings, this device will not work. This is why manufacturers have introduced the concept of "community GPS" or "crowd GPS". This allows you to rely on everyone with the same Bluetooth GPS receiver around you to extend the signal beyond 164 ft but also beyond obstacles that reduce signal.

Bluetooth: not the best option for a car

This type of tracking device is not a reliable way to find a stolen car or to track it. Indeed, the community size, using the same technology, is a major problem. In a rural area or in an area with too many obstacles and not enough people around you with the same Bluetooth GPS receiver, this device might not work.

Also, real-time tracking without a reliable distance limit is impossible with this tracker, as you have to wait for someone to pass by the tracker for the signal to be updated on your phone. Thus, if your vehicle is stolen, it will be more difficult to locate it or to find its position and will reduce your chances of success.

Its small size may be tempting as it’s convenient, but it is not a tracking device nor a mini GPS tracker. It is a tracking tag that will allow you to find everyday objects but not a car.

Things to check before buying a GPS

18 questions you need to ask yourself before buying a GPS tracker for your loved ones!

A dedicated GPS for pets

A dog and its Weenect collar on a boat

A very different use than for a car

Tracking a pet is very different than buying a subscription-free GPS tracker for a car. Indeed, a pet is a living being and needs specific features to be tracked. For example, real-time position is essential, as pets are constantly on the move.

What is the best type of GPS tracker for a pet?

For a lost dog or cat, we strongly recommend a GPS tracking device with no distance limit AND real-time positioning. Without these two features, your tracker will be useless, making it impossible to find your lost pet.

The GPS cat collar or GPS dog collar with a subscription plan also provides the user with updates through text messages or notifications on their smartphone. For example, you can define a safety area for a cat, and if it leaves it, you will be notified.

Only GPS trackers with a subscription plan (and therefore with a SIM card) will provide this. Therefore, it is important to define the use you want to make of your GPS tracker before making your choice.

Conclusion

The main thing to consider when buying a GPS tracker for a car is unlimited range. Indeed, a thief stealing your car, your motorcycle or your bike will most certainly drive several miles (or more) away from where the theft took place.

Finding a lost or stolen bike or car thanks to a subscription-free GPS tracker is therefore perfectly possible thanks to low-power network technology. Nevertheless, always remember to define the use you want to make of your GPS tracker before choosing a product, tracking a pet is very different from tracking a car.

Continue reading our guide

This article is part of a complete guide on the subject. Do not miss the next chapters.

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