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Car GPS Tracking Devices: The Ultimate Guide to What Kinds of Vehicles are Compatible With a GPS Tracking Device


GPS tracking devices are designed to be used on all vehicles, from cars and trucks to motorcycles and RVs. However, some vehicles use different technology than others and aren’t compatible with GPS devices.

Understanding which vehicles can and cannot be tracked using GPS is essential for choosing the right device for your vehicle, especially if you’re shopping online with limited information available about the product you’re looking at. Here are some common types of vehicles and how they relate to GPS tracking systems.


How  Do GPS Trackers Work?


GPS trackers work by collecting data and sending it to a software platform via an antenna. After that, management can view it from their computer or smartphone. Fleetr’s fleet-management tool has additional features like fuel card management and driver performance tools, which make working with a GPS tracker easy and seamless. 

Our tracking software integrates seamlessly, so all your businesses are connected in one central dashboard! If you want to see how our solutions work, try our 30-day free trial today!

What Does Compatibility Mean in a Car GPS Tracker? 


Usually, a GPS tracker will work on your vehicle, and you can install it without much difficulty. However, it might mean something different when a provider says their devices are compatible. It could mean that they will pair with your smartphone or other devices you already have so that you can monitor your vehicle’s location. If a company doesn’t list compatibility information, ask them what kinds of vehicles are compatible with their GPS tracking device.

It’s also a good idea to know what sort of cellular network a device uses so that you can check coverage in your area. Our GPS trackers use networks provided by mobile providers which gives you limited options for where to place it. Others work over multiple networks so that you have more flexibility on placement and can avoid dead zones. If a company doesn’t list compatibility information, ask them what kinds of vehicles are compatible with their GPS tracking device.

Compatibility also applies to how you monitor your vehicle. Some companies that offer GPS trackers connect through an app on your smartphone, which means you can track your vehicle’s location when you’re away from home.

Others work through web-based software and give you a tracking website or a phone number where you can call for updates about your vehicle. Still, others allow you to use a different app, like Glympse or Google Maps, to get location updates directly from your device’s maps interface. If a company doesn’t list compatibility information, ask them what kinds of vehicles are compatible with their GPS tracking device. 

What are the different types of GPS Trackers?


Most GPS trackers are meant for automobiles and other larger equipment. They can still be very small, even smaller than a mobile phone. Some provide power from the car itself, so there isn’t much battery life needed (although it’s best to have an emergency backup battery on hand just in case). 

This product has three main varieties: plug-in, wired into your car/equipment, or wireless-powered with a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion cell phone-type battery. Typically, these devices record data taken while driving and send it wirelessly to another device; many provide remote viewing through an app or web page. 

Plug In GPS Tracking Device

Plugging in a GPS tracker isn’t rocket science! You’ll plug it into an open USB or the OBD II port on your car. Then when you’re done tracking, you take it out and bring it back home. You can even use them to monitor if your loved one has driven too far without stopping to rest or otherwise risking their safety. To make sure they don’t deplete your car’s battery, there are so many different tracking devices nowadays – including those really convenient ones that only need to be plugged in once every few days!

If they don’t want such frequent updates, they could go for active/sleep mode, which will give them less info but still enough to know whether someone is driving around town or going off-roading somewhere else where signals might not work as well. One thing about these little devices? They’re extremely affordable! And they can be used for both personal and business needs.

Hardwired Vehicle Tracker

Hardwired systems are connected straight into a vehicle. This may be because a car does not have an OBD II port. Old cars will not have this port, and diesel trucks use different diagnostic ports that won’t work with hardwired GPS trackers.

Hardwired GPS trackers can also be hidden; they aren’t plugged in, so you could put them anywhere under the dashboard – if installed correctly, you’ll still get all of their benefits from before.

In some cases, a hardwired system might offer more flexibility to users than a plug-in model would. They’re usually for businesses who want to keep track of their large vehicles, but families looking after their expensive diesel trucks or hybrid car might also benefit from one.

Battery Powered Tracking Units

Regarding GPS trackers, one might think all models are created equal—but this isn’t always the case. Portable models run on their long-lasting battery instead of being connected directly to a car or truck’s power system. And while these units may require less time charging, they will generally only transmit data periodically; so if you’re someone who needs constant updates, you’ll want a more permanent model which is attached directly to your vehicle and reports back every minute when the car is running and once an hour when it isn’t.

Battery-powered GPS trackers are typically installed in trailers such as boat or motorcycle haulers but can also be used on cargo boxes, dumpsters, or construction equipment. You’ll find that these systems use much stronger batteries and can operate for months (or longer) without needing recharging!


Costs & How Long Does It Take To Set Up a Vehicle Tracking System


Fleet and truck GPS tracking prices range from $14 to $250 per vehicle per month. Some GPS fleet tracking systems are less expensive than others, sitting at the lower end of that spectrum for an average monthly cost of about $25-45 per car or truck. Of course, this number can fluctuate greatly depending on various factors. These factors Include:

  • How advanced is your preferred system
  • Whether the system is being leased or bought
  • Any additional features the client might require
  • Extra charges that the supplier may require
  • The length of the contract
  • The fleet size

It’s also important to note that some supplies sell bulk tracking units at an affordable price compared to one unit. With that in mind, let’s explore the cost of the tracking system in detail according to the expert market.

Basic vs. Advanced GPS Tracking Systems: How Much Do They Cost

With many different GPS track trackers available, features typically determine the price. This means choosing a cheaper product does not guarantee to get what you need. In this case, spending more and purchasing something advanced for your specific needs would be wise.

Advanced tracking devices provide valuable benefits such as cutting fuel costs, reducing dangerous driving habits, dispatching jobs faster, and staying up to date on vehicle maintenance which can save time and money. What ultimately determines whether or not a product is basic or high-end? Put: the price reflects the quality. Moreover, when purchasing vehicle tracking software, keep these two factors in mind:

  • The features of a vehicle tracking device
  • The rate at which the collected data reflects

1. The features of a vehicle tracking device

Basic GPS systems are only able to track the routes your vehicles take. These often also include some other simple features, such as logging trips, showing when a vehicle starts or stops driving, providing basic reports, and maybe one or two alerts – but they don’t offer much in the way of complex fleet management. This is why these are more affordable compared to others. On the flip side, the best GPS tracking software tends to be more equipped with a host of functions that are not limited to:

  • Fuel consumption reports
  • Theft prevention alerts
  • Diagnostic and maintenance alerts
  • Incident reporting
  • Advanced route mapping and planning

In addition, these vehicle GPS trackers will help you to reduce unnecessary operating costs, identify and improve upon weaknesses in your organization, and run a more efficient business in general. They’re more expensive, of course – but if you invest wisely, you’ll see far higher returns on this initial cost than if you don’t buy them.

2. The rate at which the collected data reflects

Any sound fleet management system is active, which means it sends data to you automatically, typically on a predetermined basis (as opposed to passive systems, which require one to manually transfer data from each device to a computer at the end of the day. As one would expect, higher frequency tends to mean more accuracy. So why do these high-end systems cost more?

Firstly, because they give you an up-to-date picture of your vehicles, compared to gauging a vehicle’s location based on what position it was in 30 seconds ago versus five minutes ago, there is a noticeable difference. 

Secondly, these sophisticated and highly customizable fleets also come with features for higher frequencies – so we can see why these systems would cost more.

The different features of GPS Tracking Solutions


Modern GPS tracking systems are critical for the safety of drivers on the road. They’ve undergone significant transformations to suit modern drivers and provide next-gen features that are revolutionary. Modern GPS trackers have never been this sophisticated, from the SOS function to real-time fuel monitoring to an engine shutdown feature available on smartphones.

However, have you ever thought about what features were best for your specific needs? Regardless of how advanced or complicated a GPS tracker is, it won’t do much good if its functionality doesn’t match what you need for your company’s safety.

Here is a quick overview of the features you should look for when selecting a GPS tracking system.

Real-Time Location Tracking

Real-time location tracking is the most essential and fundamental feature every GPS tracking system should have. It lets fleet managers know where their cars , drivers, and other assets are at any given time – this could save valuable time in emergencies. But not all tracking solutions offer real-time positioning data. Periodic updates may tell you what happened two to three minutes ago rather than now. Make sure your device offers real-time positioning information.

Customizable Alerts

Fleet owners are always looking for ways to keep their drivers connected and the office. With this goal in mind, most fleet owners prefer investing in GPS tracking systems that offer real-time alerts. A strong transport fleet GPS solution should send customized alerts regularly and as soon as possible. Customizable features include – but are not limited to – things like

  • Route deviation
  • Long idle times
  • Needless stoppage alerts

Driver Behavior Monitoring

Monitoring driver behavior is key to ensuring maximum efficiency and productivity. Above all, monitoring may help reduce traffic incidents by enforcing safe driving habits. 

Historical reports

A good GPS tracker should offer you the data and reporting capabilities that your business needs. Historical Reports are helpful as they’ll show you what areas of your company need improvement, such as

  • Excessive idling times
  • Speeding violations
  • Summary of fleets starts and stops
  • Total distance traveled

Mobile Fleet Tracking

In today’s tech-centric world, people want to be able to work remotely and on the go. Dispatch managers need technology to monitor their fleet and drivers from a smartphone. As such, finding vehicle tracking devices that work across multiple devices and offers you the same experience as if you are using a computer desktop is essential.  

Maintenance alerts about your vehicle

Maintaining a fleet of cars is no simple task; it requires more than just scheduling drivers. You also have to keep your trucks up-to-date on different schedules, which may be time-based, mileage-based, or engine-hour-based. Be sure that the GPS tracking system you’re using offers all these options for maintenance notifications so that you never miss anything.

Driver dispatching

If you dispatch drivers on the field and from a central location, your Vehicle Tracking System should provide features that make things easy for both groups. For example, two-way driver communication and finding the nearest vehicle will allow dispatchers to do their jobs quickly without searching through all records. In turn, this allows them to service more customers in less time.


Types of Cars that a vehicle tracking system can be installed


Nearly all automobiles can be equipped with car gps trackers, including:

  • Motorcycles
  • Fuel tanks
  • Snowplows
  • vehicles for public safety
  • RVs
  • Boats
  • Refrigerated automobiles or equipment
  • Tanks
  • Rail cars
  • Trailers
  • Shipping containers
  • Frac tanks
  • Cargo units
  • Skimmers
  • ISO containers
  • Sand traps
  • Cable spools
  • Acid tanks
  • IBC tanks

Choosing Between Cellular and Satellite Vehicle tracking devices


Vehicle tracking systems are essential to most global industries, from transportation to construction. Thanks to advanced tracking technology becoming widely available, it only makes sense to track everything you can for high traceability and accountability.

You’re probably wondering – what kind of GPS tracking device is right for your assets? To figure this out, it’s essential to understand the critical differences between the three main types of devices: satellite, global, and cellular.

Each has pros and cons, affecting what they’re best used for; one company may care more about real-time asset tracking, while another might need something else. Read on to learn more about these different GPS trackers types to know what suits your needs! 

Cellular Tracking Device

Mobile tracking devices use cellular transmissions to report information about the location of your asset. These reports are transmitted every five to ten minutes for live-time updates. Mobile trackers are excellent for recording relevant statistics about the usage of your assets in addition to their whereabouts.

For instance, Fleetr Trak4 Asset Tracke records vehicle speed, odometer mileage, run time, and unsafe driving. These capabilities make it an excellent choice for dispatch managers looking to enhace the safety of their drivers while optimizing efficiency. 

Fleetr Trak4 Asset Tracker is a battery-powered mobile tracker with flexible hybrid tracking abilities–meaning regardless if it remains indoors or outdoors, you can view its current status thanks to GPS technology. It’s an excellent option for assets where one wants flexibility with placing the physical device because its location doesn’t impact its efficacy.

Satellite Gps Tracking Systems

Satellite tracking functions through a network of  devices, including satellites, receivers, transmitters, and computers. These devices collect location data at high frequency – around five times per second which means it has been made for many different uses. 

If your assets travel worldwide, you will want to invest in a tracking system that can keep up with your business’s needs. Not every tracking technology is available internationally or used in remote areas; cellular trackers rely on cellphone networks, while GPS navigation relies on Global Positioning Satellites (GPS). 

Ultimately, it would be best to go with a tracker that provides coverage worldwide and offers reliable information no matter where it goes, such as using GPS services via Global Positioning Systems (GPS). A global tracker might seem expensive now, but if you think about how much time will be saved when monitoring your asset across borders, then it’ll surely pay off! 


How Long Does a Car GPS tracker Take to Upload Data


A car gps tracker refresh rate or sample rate is usually found in the specifications section of a device or on its website, but it’s crucial to understand that not all will suit you best. Most battery-powered devices refresh every 30 – 60 seconds, which might work for most situations, but others can be upgraded to update faster than this, with the trade-off being less battery life. 


At Fleetr’s, We Offer the Best Fleet Management Solutions

As a fleet manager, you know that technology won’t always do what you want it to when the going gets tough. That’s why looking for a provider who can provide ongoing technical support—particularly during those inconvenient times—is so important when buying GPS tracking systems. Fleetr provides all of this and more! With more than 25 built-in reports, the Driver Tablet Site, and easy-to-read analytic reports, there’s no lack of necessary data to make informed decisions about your fleet. Speak with one of our Fleet Advisors today to learn more about Fleetr!

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