The Best Car Tracking Devices

The Best Car Tracking Devices

Car tracking devices make it possible for parents to monitor their teen drivers remotely. Most tracking systems are passive, meaning that they generally do not use GPS and simply store information about how and where the car has been driven. The most active systems can be programmed to send text messages to a parent’s cell phone when her teen driver is speeding and can also be utilized to track a stolen vehicle.

Passive System Without GPS

In any car model year 1996 or later, the passenger glove compartment contains an on-board diagnostics (OBDII) connector. Davis manufactures the CarChip, which is a small black box that plugs into the OBDII. The box is capable of storing up to 300 hours of trip details, including time, date, distance, speed, acceleration and engine trouble diagnostic codes. This allows parents to review the driving activity of their teen and gives the ordinary person a diagnostic tool previously available only to automobile service professionals. As of 2009, the CarChip was available at for $100, at for $76 and at for $99.

Passive System With GPS

The 3100INT, launched by Land Air Sea Systems, can be plugged into your home computer to create a computerized analysis of driving behavior. Once a week, the USB data stick, a component included as part of the system, is removed from the car and used to generate not only data, but maps of routes driven, as well as personalized driving tips generated by the driver’s own behavior behind the wheel. Although the system is passive, meaning it cannot generally be used to track a driver in real time, the GPS component of the system can be used by police to assist in the recovery of a stolen vehicle. As of 2009, the 3100INT was available on for $280, on for $257 and on for $260.

Real-Time Tracking Device

STGPS recently introduced a tracking device named the TrimTrac Pro, which enables parents to track their teens in real time. A teen’s position can be viewed online, as can his current speed and direction. If computer access is unavailable, the phone can be used, and an automated voice will report the car’s current position, speed and direction. Parents can be alerted via cell phone or email if a teen crosses a certain speed threshold. In addition, up to 10 rectangular or circular boundaries can be predefined, and parents can be notified if teens move into these regions. Also, the device enables a remote lock-unlock from home if keys become locked in the car. The starter can also be disabled remotely in case the vehicle is stolen, and the system will also alert the user to other potential problems, such as a low battery. These systems are by far superior to passive systems in terms of both stolen vehicle recovery and remote monitoring capabilities. In 2009, the TrimTrac Pro real-time tracking device was available on for $245, on for $221 and on for $269.