You don’t need an expensive tracking device to monitor your car’s location. With some creative thinking and everyday technology, you can piece together ways to track your wheels remotely.
Follow these seven ingenious tips to track your car without a dedicated GPS tracker.
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7 Clever Tips To Track Your Car Without A Tracker
Follow the below clever tips to track your vehicle without a tracker:
1. Use Find My Phone
If you left your phone in the car, you can use Find My Phone or a similar app to locate your vehicle. The phone’s GPS will show its coordinates on a map.
Just ensure location services and data are enabled on the phone. Find My Phone is built into iOS and Android devices. Third-party apps also provide tracking should you misplace your phone in the car.
This tactic won’t work for monitoring a thief or borrowed car long-term. But it can quickly pinpoint a lost phone and car location if you have access to another device.
2. Get Family or Friends to Help
Enlist trustworthy friends or family with cars to search areas your vehicle may be. Give them your license plate number and description.
With multiple people in different vehicles checking parking lots, streets, and neighborhoods, you can cover more ground than driving solo.
Set up a group chat to coordinate search areas and report anything found. Don’t forget to thank them for their time and gas afterwards!
Bluetooth trackers like Apple’s Airtags or Tile work well for tracking within short distances. Hide one in your car’s trunk or under a seat.
Use your phone to view the tracker’s location on a map when it’s within range – usually around 100-150 feet. Just be aware that thieves can find and disable the trackers if they know what to look for.
4. Check Your Mileage
If you suspect someone is secretly borrowing your car, jot down the odometer reading before and after. Calculate the mileage driven while you didn’t have the car.
Unusually higher numbers indicate it was driven and can at least confirm your suspicions, even if not tracking the actual routes taken. Just be sure to subtract your own trips.
5. Use Social Media Check-Ins
This tactic relies on the other driver being active on social media from your car.
After lending your car, monitor platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat to see if someone checks in or posts photos with geotags from inside the vehicle. The social timestamps and location tags will show where your car traveled.
6. Purchase a Used GPS Tracker
You can find an affordable previous-generation GPS tracker on eBay or Craigslist for under $50. Just ensure the hardware is clean and connects properly.
Hide the tracker in the car’s cabin or trunk and use the accompanying app to view location history. This is much cheaper than new real-time tracker hardware.
7. Check Connected Services Accounts
If your car has built-in connected services like OnStar or Mercedes mbrace, you may be able log in to your account and locate the vehicle.
Connected services often include stolen vehicle tracking and some provide the ability to view past trips and driving analytics through a website or app.
When Professional Tracking Is Needed
For reliable long term tracking, these DIY methods are not ideal replacements for dedicated modern vehicle trackers and GPS units.
Invest in pro installation if you regularly need to:
- Track cars remotely in real time
- Recover stolen vehicles
- Monitor teens or employees
- Receive alerts when movement is detected
- View exact routes, speeds, stops, etc.
Professional trackers can’t be easily located and disabled like consumer tags. And they integrate directly into the car’s electrical system for reliable accuracy.
While more of an upfront investment, dedicated tracking hardware and monitoring services provide the most comprehensive ongoing car surveillance if truly needed.
With some clever thinking, you can monitor your car’s location without pricey pro trackers:
- Use built-in phone finding capabilities
- Get help from family and friends
- Hide Bluetooth tags in the vehicle
- Check odometer mileage
- Look for social media check-ins from your car
- Buy an affordable used standalone GPS tracker
- Check connected services accounts if available
These tricks provide tracking on a budget. But for advanced monitoring needs, dedicated tracker units provide the best long-term solution.