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How to Install a Tracking Device

Adrian Mudd   October 28, 2014

Installing a tracking device on a vehicle may sound like a daunting task, but in reality using available modern technology, even a child could do it. Attaching the tracker to the vehicle is the easy part and is a matter of taking advantage of the powerful magnets incorporated in the tracker case. The more difficult aspect is invariably the planning procedure that leads up the deployment operation itself.

Tracking Device FittingInitially you will need to identify when and where the target vehicle is parked on any given day of the week before deploying your covert tracking device. If the vehicle belongs to you or someone you know very well then this won’t be difficult to identify. If you are a Private Investigator undertaking the task on behalf of someone else then this information will be vital as attempting deployment without this prior knowledge may prove to be a waste of time and effort. Of course physical access the the vehicle is imperative, after all if it is kept locked away in a garage overnight then you are going to need to consider a different location.

Covert Installation of A Tracking Device

Timing is a key element. If the vehicle is regularly parked in a busy area during the daytime such as a supermarket car park, then the chances are you will have a large window of opportunity as generally people will ‘turn a blind eye’ other than the owner of the vehicle course. If you intend installing the car tracker when the vehicle is parked outside the owners property then discretion is required to avoid being seen by either the owner or even the neighbours. In these circumstances it would be prudent to visit the property either late at night or in the early hours of the morning.

Upon arrival in the vicinity of the deployment location you will first need to ensure that you don’t park too close to the target vehicle, after all if for some reason you were seen then last thing you need is someone taking down your number plate. Having said this, beforehand, it is worth travelling down the entire length of the street or cul-de-sac where the target vehicle is located to get a feel for the area before venturing out on foot.

Effective Planning & Scouting

Before getting out of your vehicle, take the opportunity to check that the tracking device is working correctly. It is pointless going any further if there is a problem. At this stage it would seem easier just to go straight ahead and attach the tracker to the target vehicle, however personally I would advise initially taking a walk up and down the road to get a gauge on the area. This walk will identify those houses occupied by those who some would classify as nosey neighbours and also where somebody is lingering outside, possibly smoking a cigarette.

Once you are happy that the area is safe it is time to approach the vehicle. Obviously you need to fit the vehicle tracker as quickly as possible to reduce the risk of being seen, so it is prudent to have an idea of where it is best to fit the device before approaching the vehicle. If you can get access to the same type of car beforehand then this will really be a bonus, but if this is not possible then ensure that you consider the following:

  1. Ensure the tracking device is fitted somewhere that can’t easily be seen
  2. Be sure to place the tracker on a surface where the device sticks solidly (different metals under a vehicle may be more or less attractive to magnetic pull)
  3. Try to keep the tracker nearer to the outside of the vehicle – the tracker will perform better if it is near to the outer edge rather than right under the middle
  4. Do not place the vehicle tracker on anything that gets hot like the exhaust as it may well melt the unit
  5. Do not place the covert tracking device on anything that moves like the wheel or suspension spring as this will put the device placement at risk

GPS signals omitted by our GPS trackers will travel through plastic and glass easily, but are blocked by water, metal and wood quite severely. When fitting a device on the underside of the vehicle signals will be picked up reflected from the road surface and this is why it is not the best idea to locate the device in the centre of the underside. This is not because the device will not work at all, but by virtue of the fact that there is the distinct possibility that tracking records will be patchy.

Get The Job Done Quickly & Without Being Noticed

In general, it is advisable to attach the tracking device behind the back bumper, attaching to the metal plate behind the bumper panel on the opposite side of the vehicle to the exhaust pipe (normally where the fuel tank is located). Or the car tracker should sit between the fuel tank and the bumper as the tank gives the perfect place for the magnet to attach and with the bumper being made from plastic, it will not block the GPS signals. If there is no room then attaching to the inner sill in front of the passenger wheel arch (not the Jacking point) or even underneath of the front end of the vehicle. All in all this should normally take less than 30 seconds.

Once you have returned to your vehicle after the fitting, best practice is to do check that the tracker is still sending out locations. The device should still transmit its position for up to five minutes after deployment. After this has been confirmed then it should be fine to leave the area, safe in the knowledge that the tracking device has been deployed correctly. Contact us to talk about our vehicle tracking devices and how to use a vehicle tracker in greater detail.