What Is a GPS Vehicle Tracker?
GPS, a global positioning system, is a network of satellites orbiting around the earth that help determine the exact location of a person or object.
A GPS vehicle tracker uses a global navigation satellite system network to communicate with the GPS devices and provide information such as fleet speed, location, direction, and time.
There are two types of tracking systems; passive and real-time trackers.
Passive tracking systems monitor the location and movement and store the data internally or on a memory card. The data can then be downloaded and analyzed later. However, some systems download the information automatically periodically throughout the journey.
On the other hand, real-time tracking relays data as it happens. In other words, fleet managers only have to log in to their devices to receive all the data they need.
Types of GPS Trackers
Most GPS trackers are smaller than a cell phone and share information through a cellular connection. They also do not require large batteries to operate since they draw power from the car.
There are three types of GPS tracking devices; plug-in, battery-operated and hardwired.
As the name suggests, plug-in GPS trackers require plugging them into the OBD II port. All the cars manufactured from the mid-1990s come with an OBD II port, usually located at the bottom of the dashboard on the driver’s side.
The port is generally used for engine diagnostics and gathering sensor information. However, it is perfect for providing uninterrupted power to the GPS tracker.
Plug-in trackers, just like the Fleetr GPS tracking devices, are small in size and easy to install. The best thing is that you can effortlessly switch from one vehicle to another.
In other words, you plug and start receiving data.
They also have a sleep mode feature that allows the driver to switch to inactive mode to avoid draining the battery. However, fleet managers receive alerts even when in the said state.
Hardwired GPS trackers are installed into the vehicle through a three-wire connection. The wiring involves power, ignition, and ground.
Additionally, a hardwired tracking device’s best position is underneath the dashboard for maximum satellite communication. The tracker draws power from the car; hence no battery is required.
A hardwired tracking device sends notifications in case of a power cut or malicious removal. They also have a tamper seal that shows unauthorized attempts on the device. The added security features make hardwired trackers suitable for the commercial fleet.
Battery-Operated Tracking Devices
Battery-operated tracking devices do not rely on the vehicle’s power. Instead, they come with a durable battery that lasts for ten years. Additionally, most battery-operated tracking devices do not send data in real-time.
They relay data on a one-minute interval when the vehicle runs or after one hour in sleep mode to save power. The good thing about these devices is that they do not require wiring and can be attached to any surface on the car.
General Guidelines on How to Install GPS Tracking Devices
As discussed earlier, there are three types of tracking devices, hardwired, plug-in, and battery-powered. Each of the devices comes with its own set of instructions.
However, there are general instructions you should keep at the back of your mind before you jump into the installation process.
Read The Manual Carefully
Before making any attempt to install a vehicle tracking device, read the manufacturer’s manual carefully. The installation guide comes with diagrams that explain each part and its function.
The dos and don’ts also equip users with safety knowledge that comes in handy when installing hardwired devices.
Find the Best Spot for the Tracker
It is always advisable to position the tracker in a hidden spot to avoid driver interference.
Undoubtedly, beneath the dashboard is the best spot to hide the device.
Additionally, the dashboard components allow the GPS satellites to pass through while hiding the tracker from view.
Some people also place the tracking device under the car(like in the movies) because of strong signal reception. However, you must ensure the device has a magnetic feature that sticks firmly on any metallic object.
The device must also be weather protected to withstand rain, snow, dirt, and wind.
Other possible locations include:
- Under the seat
- Inside the door panel
- Inside the glove box
- On the front or rear bumper
- The space between the grill and radiator
Note: A tracking device should not be placed beneath a metallic object. GPS signals do not penetrate through metal, reducing the tracker’s functioning capabilities.
Download the Tracking Software
GPS tracking systems require installing tracking software on smartphones, tablets, or computers. You can download the software from the google play store or apple store, but it is always good to follow the manufacturer’s manual.
Once you set up your account, you will track your vehicle from any location.
Step by Step Guide for Installing Tracking Devices
The GPS trackers installation concept is straightforward, but each device has its instructions, as outlined below.
Hardwired GPS Installation Process
- Identify the three wired connections on the tracking device by opening up the dashboard; Red wire(power), black wire(ground), and white wire(ignition).
- Locate the wired power source on your car and remove about an inch of the insulation.
- Poke the wire using a sharp object and create a circle.
- Take off an inch of insulation on the red wire on the tracking device.
- Twist the exposed end of the red wire (tracking device) and poke it through the circle you created on the power source.
- Squeeze the loop, twist the two red wires, and wrap them with electrical tape.
- Take the vehicle’s ignition wire and connect it to the tracker’s white wire.
- Finally, locate the vehicle’s ground wire and connect it with the device’s black wire.
- Hold the device firmly on the vehicle using a Velcro, tape, or zip tie to avoid moving once the car hits the road.
- Reassemble the dashboard.
- Start the car and ensure the device lights up once powered.
Plug-In Installation Process
Plug-in tracking devices such as Fleetr or Trackimo are installed easily and effortlessly. You just plug and play. Here are the simple steps to follow;
- Switch off the car.
- Locate the 16 pins OBD-II port on your vehicle, located on the dashboard.
- Plug the tracking device into the OBD port.
- Wait for at least five minutes before switching on the car. The device should produce a beep sound or light-up to show it is powered.
- Download the tracking app and create an account.
If you want to move the device’s location far from the dashboard, you can purchase an extension cable for the OBD port. The cable will provide additional length to move the tracker’s site, and all you have to do is plug the device at the end of the wiring.
Battery-Powered Installation Process
A battery-powered GPS tracker is a small unit that does not require installation. All you have to do is mount it on the preferred spot in your car. The device functions optimally; however, you will have to charge the battery often or as the manufacturer recommends.
How to Check if You Installed the Tracking System Correctly as a Driver
Bravo! You have finally installed the tracking device on your vehicle. However, it is vital to ensure you have done everything correctly and that data is relied on as expected.
Therefore, it is time for a test drive.
Before that, read and record data manually from your cars, such as speed, fuel levels, and direction. After the ride, compare your notes with those relayed into your phone through the cloud software.
The data should match, a sign that the tracking device is working perfectly and accurately.
Fleetr GPS Tracking
If you are looking for a more innovative way to track your fleet, we recommend Fleet tracking system allows you to track your valuable assets conveniently from anywhere in the world.
Here are some of its unique features:
- Intelligent Alerts: The device sends you instant alerts on your phone or tablet once the vehicle moves.
- Multiple Device Tracking: Have several fleets to track? You do not need a smartphone for each vehicle. Fleetr allows for multiple monitoring on one screen.
- One Main Administration Account: Fleetr allows multiple users to access one account. All you have to do as the administrator is to determine the rights for each user.
- Worldwide Coverage: You can track your fleet from any location in the world, provided GSM cellular reception exists.
- Low Annual Service Costs: pay a service cost of $5 per month. The good news is that the first year is free. So no contract obligations or hidden fees. Fleetr is genuine to the core.
- Geofencing Alerts: Receive alerts once the vehicle details from its course.
How Fleetr Will Benefit Your Fleet Business
Fleetr management designed the system with one goal in mind. To help fleet owners manage their business operations accurately, meet delivery deadlines and keep customer promises without much of a hassle. Let’s break down the benefits the system has to offer.
Imagine if one of your fleets gets stuck in traffic for several hours. It means delayed orders and fewer trips. Obviously, time is of great essence in the transportation industry.
With Fleetr in place, you can view several routes and guide your drivers to take the most convenient one. Your drivers, therefore, save time by getting to the destination on time and completing more trips.
If you are looking for ways to reduce operational costs, investing in Fleetr is a brilliant move. As mentioned earlier, you can choose the shortest and most convenient route, saving on fuel costs.
You also reduce unnecessary overtime costs. Your drivers will no longer fill the distance spreadsheet manually, making room for inaccuracy and irregularities.
The tracker will send you accurate updates on the distance covered and eliminate loopholes for unnecessary overtime expenses.
The GPS vehicle tracking system will help you find the shortest route and get to the customer within the agreed time. Remember, keeping customer promise is paramount for any business.
Additionally, you get to manage trips efficiently by assigning the nearest customer to a service call. So, real-time updates on the location of your fleets are paramount in keeping your customers happy and satisfied.
Fleetr tracking devices have a feature that allows fleet managers to set the next maintenance schedule. The device then sends reminders a few days before the due date.
It, therefore, means no more missed schedules, keeping the vehicles healthy and in perfect condition. Also, it helps reduce unforeseen repair costs.
Knowing the location of your fleets at all times is a guaranteed way of maximizing their safety. Fleetr tracking system relay real-time information on the location of your vehicle through the live map on your device
So, you get to know when one of your fleets is moved without authorization and take appropriate action. Fleetr also has a geofencing feature that enhances fleet safety.
The feature allows fleet managers to mark a predetermined area and prevent drivers from wandering off the work zone or entering a risky location.
The system also provides real-time data regarding your driver’s behavior on the road, such as overspeeding or acceleration. Managers then determine which driver needs personalized road safety training from the collected data, curbing possible crashes.
Things to Consider Before Fitting A GPS Tracking System
The decision to install a GPS tracking device maximizes your fleet operations. However, you must ask yourself several questions if you want to realize your goal;
- Does the tracker provide real-time data transmission? Real-time alerts provide instant information that will help you act promptly in case of an emergency and avert possible dangers.
- Does the company have excellent customer care services? What happens if the tracker fails and you need help? Is the company ready to offer all the assistance you need?
- Does the tracker offer the latest technology? Choose a tracker that offers real-time alerts even when the device is disconnected. It should also have distress buttons for emergency purposes.
- Does the GPS tracking device have all the features you need? What would be the need to buy a system that will serve your business interests? So, listing down the features you need will guide you into making the right decision.
- Is it easy to manage? The last thing you need is a tracking system that will complicate your operations further. Therefore, choose one that your employees will manage and operate with much ease.
- Is the tracking system good quality? A high-quality tracking system will cost you more, but it is worth every penny.