Installing a Fleet Tracking Device: The Most Common Methods on How to Install a Tracking System
Vehicle tracking devices are an affordable and discreet solution to protecting assets, managing inventory, increasing compliance, and monitoring movements. These devices use GPS to determine the location of a vehicle or person and its current position. Placing a tracker in the right spot will maximize its success – which is no easy task when there are so many spots to consider! Luckily for you, we’ve compiled this guide on correctly positioning your GPS tracker on a car. This way, you can always know exactly where they’re at without wasting time guessing – plus, if you’re using them for covert purposes, these tips will keep it hidden from everyone else too!
What Are the Different Types of GPS Vehicle Tracking Systems
There are two types of vehicle tracking devices: portable and hard-wired. A portable GPS tracker doesn’t require much setup, making them great for people who aren’t skilled in installation. They’re easy to hide too!
You’ll have to consider that batteries power them – so if you plan on using your device long term, make sure the area where you plan on putting it has an available power outlet. If discretion or minimal disruption is essential to you, then a hard-wired GPS tracker might be the best option because they don’t use a battery or need to be hidden away from plain sight.
That said, let’s look at these two different GPS trackers in depth.
Plug-in GPS Tracker
Plug-in fleet tracking systems require a small tracking device that plugs directly into the OBD-II port of your vehicle. This is the same port mechanics use to run diagnostics, and it’s both readily accessible and available across most models of modern cars.
Once installed, you’ll never need to think about it again. It simply plugs in and works automatically!
One potential concern with this type of system is how easy they are to tamper with: if someone unplugged yours, they’d also have access to its data until you plugged it back in.
How to Install a Plug-In Tracking System
The installation process for plug-in tracking systems is relatively simple. First, find the car’s OBD-II port. Next, turn off the car and connect the device. After a few minutes of configuration time, your phone will have all of the information it needs from this initial connection to work correctly with the app.
When you need an oil change or significant maintenance on your vehicle, mechanics can easily remove and reinstall your tracker without any difficulties. If you use an OBD-II extension cable to relocate where exactly you want the tracker positioned inside your car (often under one of those seats).
In that case, we recommend getting some holder so that no matter what kind of driving maneuvers are required, this compact little gadget won’t end up being left behind during service!
Pros of OBD Tracking Devices
Easy to install and uninstall: The OBD tracking devices are easy to install and configure, requiring no wired connection for calibrating purposes. It can be fitted into any car with an OBD II port easily. Similarly, when a user wants to remove the GPS tracker from the port, it will disconnect without any issues.
Portable: As you have read before, the use of these tracking devices is limited to only the installation and removal process, making it easier for them to go from vehicle to vehicle. These mobile trackers enable fleet owners to install a tracker on one car, remove it, and put it onto another without worrying about spending time offline or performing an hour-long installation process.
Cons of OBD Tracking Devices
Easily removable or stolen: Although it plugs easily into the car’s OBD-II port, there is no guarantee that the device will stay there. Most cars don’t cover up this port, so people can take out the device without too much trouble when they want to. But if you’re unlucky and bump against the tracking device with a leg or other body part, you’ll have to start all over again! It can also come loose if it gets jostled around.
Vehicle and Engine data only: The PNP device comes in a rigid box, which does not allow for an easy repair of the damaged wires on a GPS. This makes it impossible to monitor input data because if there are no problems, then there is nothing to measure; this compromises a company’s use of GPS tracking devices.
Hard-Wired GPS Tracker
A wire-tracking system has been wired into the vehicle. These are more difficult to tamper with and are connected through wiring similar to a car’s stereo.
Like plug-in trackers, these devices can be operated via an electrical cord plugged in through its internal battery unit, which sends alerts should tampering occur.
Wireless trackers also have the option to disable the vehicle’s ignition if there is a safety or service violation.
How to Install a Wired Tracking Device
Installation is usually undertaken by either the customer or a qualified professional. Fleetr’s devices are designed for seamless installation inside cabinetry and behind exterior panels, usually on the driver’s side under the dash
Pros of the Hard-Wired Tracking Devices
Safe and easy to install: A hard-wired vehicle tracker usually needs a three-wire system installed; one wire for grounding, one for power, and the other for ignition. This makes it possible to mount the device below the hood where it is out of sight from drivers. A tamper seal must be used to make its installation secure, which can also be removed if necessary.
Far beyond vehicle and engine data: Wired tracking devices come with a wireless harness that can be attached to various pieces of equipment while also employing additional features such as data logging and GPS integration.
Cons of the Hard-Wired Tracking Device
Installation downtime: When installing tracking devices, companies usually have to rely on the services of professional installers – which may take up to thirty or forty minutes, depending on how difficult the task is. Installing a hard-wired tracker will require an even longer time due to its complexity and difficulty.
Hard to calibrate: Since hard-wired tracking devices are attached to vehicles and require approximately half an hour for installation, it’s only limited to one device per vehicle. Unlike plug-in devices, this makes them less moveable and cannot be calibrated.
Things to Consider When Installing GPS Tracking Devices
Before we go into more detail about where to place the vehicle tracker, let’s review some basic criteria for what makes a good choice. Depending on its design, you’ll have a few options for placing your tracking device.
But, if you’re using something powered by batteries – which will likely be smaller and less bulky – then you’ll want to make sure there are plenty of access points in case the battery dies or goes dead from lack of use.
This means leaving plenty of room underneath the seat or undercarriage but also ensuring the device has an unobstructed line of sight to the sky at all times (which may mean taking off shaded car covers) so that it doesn’t lose connection with its satellite system.
All things considered, though, when deciding where to place your tracker, think about how often you park somewhere without running your engine and how important accuracy is for anything relying on GPS.
Common Areas to Install Fleet Tracking Devices in Your Fleets
The OBDII port is considered the best place to install a GPS tracker device inside your car because its location ensures you don’t have to worry about running out of battery while traveling.
This Real Time GPS Tracker plugs right into the vehicle’s onboard diagnostics system, which means it doesn’t need batteries since it gets power straight from the vehicle itself!
These devices are often completely invisible and are much more cost-effective than other tracking devices in today’s modern market.
In the back bumpers, various wires are also situated near each other. This design makes it easy to place a black box containing a tracking device without being noticed. This wire will be hard to find hidden among all the cables and wires for sensors and cameras.
You can creatively install the device in many ways so it is undetectable. When no one thinks a device could be hidden in something, such as a wheel well – feel free to keep it there! Or you can take advantage of an out-of-place opportunity and put it inside anything from a jar or even a cylindrical container!
It’s also relatively easy to attach the tracking device using magnets on the metallic parts of the wheels themselves.
Few people know that GPS trackers might be hidden inside the front bumper. This is due to its proximity to several wires in many functions like the sensor, temperature, light, and more. As a result, it’s one of the best places to conceal such a device yet also one of the hardest areas because of its placement deep down within the confines of an engine bay filled with all sorts of tools needed for working on cars.
The devices, when installed in this location, will have uninterrupted power as there will be no need for an external power cord or battery pack, which would mean having wire running through everywhere, making them easy targets for thieves to find and cut off from what little power they may still receive.
Under the Carpet
Hide the tracking device underneath carpets and also between seats. What a fantastic idea for an easy place to put your tracker in the car! Besides these places, you could get creative and find more sites to install it. This includes hiding it in the wheel well where no one would guess it could be there, by your toolbox, or beneath the engine block.
Under the Seat
People who want to hide their portable trackers can do so beneath their seats if they are interested. If this tactic interests you, you’ll need to remove the seat from your vehicle and reinstall it after hiding the device underneath.
You may also have to sew or attach a new cover over the car’s original fabric or padding, which will conceal the tracker from view.
If you choose to place it on either side of the seat, then chances are good that no one will notice it there. Optionally, you can put it somewhere else, such as at the bottom of the seat cushion or inside its armrest compartment.
A Hard-wired Tracker is an excellent option if you’re looking for a discreet tracking solution. Experts recommend installing the tracker inside your car’s dashboard for maximum stealth. It works nearly identically to a typical stereo, which draws power from the car’s battery and thus can’t be removed or charged up often.
Under the Car
One way to attach a car tracking device without exposing it would be under the car. Choose between an adhesive or magnetized device with an inbuilt magnet or a separate magnetic case. This is because metal surfaces are easy to adhere devices onto and will hold them firmly in place. You’ll want to check that the unit has some waterproofing; after all, cars can’t help but go through puddles now and then!
The Glove Box
A glove box is also an excellent hiding spot for a GPS-tracking device. If the driver keeps papers and other valuables in the glove box, they may not notice your tracker when placed at the rear of this small space.
A quality device will still be able to send information about its location even if it cannot communicate with satellites because many models are built to transmit through metal – allowing you access to valuable data about where your fleet has been going or what route they’re taking to get there.
Tips for Where to Place a Tracker on a Car
Here are some other ways how to position a tracking device in a vehicle:
Always place the tracking device on a flat, clean surface. Dirt and debris may affect GPS reception or make it hard to attach an object to a surface, even when using magnet-based mounts or adapter cables.
As previously mentioned, always keep your tracker out of sight. Be careful when attaching your tracker to a magnetic mount – this can cause strain on the battery and damage your device. Tilt the tracker slightly to one side before pulling it off when removing the tracker from its holder.
Why You Should Install GPS Trackers in Cars for Fleet Management
With the new ELD compliance measures implemented back in December 2019, it’s more important than ever to have GPS trackers for your fleet of vehicles. The mandate states that all vehicles in the fleet must have an Electronic Logging Device (ELD) installed on each vehicle to track their use and Hours of Service (HOS) but complying with these rules is just one reason you’ll want tracking software on every vehicle.
Professional GPS tracking devices can offer many other benefits – from monitoring the location of your fleet, providing real-time data about what roads are congested or closed due to construction zones or natural disasters, and even figuring out the most efficient route!
And not only will this save money and fuel costs, but it will also increase productivity since your drivers won’t need to spend hours manually looking up directions or find themselves lost when they’re miles away.
Get Your Fleet Management Tracking System at Fleetr
At Fleetr, we offer some of the industry’s most dependable and accurate GPS tracking devices. With our easy installation process and ability to provide detailed updates on your fleet vehicles‘ locations at all times, you can get everything you need from just one device.
We offer hard-wired GPS systems and premium GPS plug-in vehicle trackers so that it’s easy to find the perfect tracker for your business’s specific needs.
If you’re interested in learning more about our range of options, please get in touch with us at 1 (415) 651-7575!