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GPS Tracking Installation

GPS Tracking Installation Guide: How To Hardwire A GPS Tracker To A Car

If you want to keep track of your vehicle’s location and ensure efficient fleet management, a GPS tracking device is an essential tool. Hardwired GPS trackers are a popular option for vehicle tracking because they are reliable and offer constant power, unlike battery-powered portable GPS trackers. In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide on how to hardwire a GPS tracking device to your car. Now, let’s get into the 7 simple steps for installing GPS trackers!

Materials You Will Need For Installation:

  • GPS tracking device
  • Wiring diagram
  • Red and white wires
  • Power source
  • Extension cable
  • Basic tools

Step 1: Choose The GPS Car Tracker

GPs Tracker For Trailer

Selecting the right GPS tracker is crucial for effective vehicle tracking. While there are various types of GPS trackers available, such as satellite trackers, personal GPS devices, and OBD2 plug-in trackers, for permanent and reliable vehicle tracking, a hardwired GPS tracker is often the best choice. Why? These devices are specifically designed for integration into vehicle systems and offer continuous operation without the need for battery replacements. But we will go into more detail on this later. Let’s first briefly go over the different types of trackers and discover what you should look for when buying a device.

  • Satellite Trackers. Ideal for remote areas without cellular coverage. They use satellite signals to transmit location data but may have higher operational costs. Examples include Zoleo and Spot.
  • Personal GPS Devices. Portable and easy to use, these are commonly used to protect assets or track cheating spouses. Examples of products include SpaceHawk, Tracki, and SpyTec GL300.
  • OBD2 Plug-In Trackers. These plug into the onboard diagnostics port and are easy to install, but they can be easily removed or tampered with. Examples of OBD2 brands include Connect, Sync, and Vyncs.

Why Choose Hardwired GPS Trackers for Vehicles?

Why is a hardwired GPS tracker considered ‘better’ than a wireless device?” you might ask. Well, it’s about uninterrupted operation. A hardwired tracker taps directly into your vehicle’s electrical system, ensuring continuous functioning. It goes beyond simple tracking, allowing features like remotely disabling the starter or unlocking doors. Moreover, its concealed installation makes it less susceptible to tampering, enhancing your vehicle’s security and peace of mind.

Factors to Consider When Choosing, Researching, and Comparing GPS Trackers

  • Features. Look for essential features like real-time tracking, geofence alerts, and history logs. Advanced features might include driver behavior monitoring, fuel usage tracking, and engine diagnostics.
  • Read Reviews. Look at customer reviews and ratings on e-commerce platforms, forums, and tech blogs. Reviews can provide real-user insights into the reliability and user-friendliness of different models.
  • Check Industry Blogs and Websites. Websites dedicated to automotive technology or GPS tracking often review and compare different GPS trackers, offering valuable insights.

Step 2: Determine The Power Source

Installer Determining A Power Source For GPS

When installing a GPS tracker, the power source choice is crucial. Aim for a constant power supply, unaffected by your car’s ignition status. Typically, connecting to your car’s battery is a reliable option. Alternatively, tapping into the power supply near the steering column is effective. But before starting, prioritize safety. Disconnect the negative battery cable to avoid electrical mishaps. This step safeguards both you and your vehicle’s electrical system. Here are some helpful tips you should be mindful of when determining the power source best for your GPS installation:

  • Check Voltage Requirements: Ensure the tracker’s voltage requirements match your car’s battery or power supply.
  • Secure Connections: After identifying the power source, use secure connections to prevent loose wires.
  • Avoid Interference: Place wires away from areas that might cause signal interference or damage.
  • Test Before Finalizing: Once connected, test the tracker to ensure it’s functioning before finalizing the installation.

Step 3: Locate the Red and White Wires

GPS Tracker Install Wires

For Step 3 of your GPS tracker installation, correctly identifying the vehicle’s wiring is essential. In most vehicles, the wire colors signify specific functions:

  1. Red Wire – Constant Power Source: This wire is connected directly to the car’s battery, providing a constant power supply. It’s crucial for devices like GPS trackers that need continuous power, even when the car is turned off.
  2. White Wire – Ignition Source: This wire becomes active only when the car’s ignition is turned on. It’s used for devices that should operate only when the car is running.
  3. Black Wire – Ground: The black wire is used as the ground or the negative terminal. It completes the electrical circuit by providing a path back to the battery’s negative terminal.

When installing your GPS tracker, connect the tracker’s power wire to the red wire for a continuous power supply. The tracker’s ground wire should be connected to the black wire. If your tracker requires connection to an ignition source for specific functionalities, use the white wire. Be mindful of these details:

  • Double-Check Wire Identification. Always verify wire functions, as wire color coding can vary between vehicle models.
  • Use a Multimeter. A multimeter can help confirm the function of each wire.
  • Safety First. Remember to disconnect the negative terminal of the battery before starting the installation to prevent electrical shocks and short circuits.

Step 4: Connect The Wires

How To Hardwire A GPS Tracker

In Step 4, connecting the wires of your GPS tracker correctly is vital. Here’s a more detailed explanation of the function of each wire and what their function is:

  • Connecting the Red Wire: Start by connecting the red wire from your GPS tracker to the car’s constant power source, typically the red wire in your vehicle. This wire provides continuous power to your tracker.
  • Connecting the White Wire: Next, attach the white wire from the GPS tracker to the ignition source wire in your car. This connection ensures that the tracker powers up when the car’s ignition is on.
  • Connecting the Black Wire: Finally, connect the black wire from your GPS tracker to the car’s ground, usually a black wire. This completes the circuit and provides a return path for the electrical current.

Using Crimp Connectors: Crimp connectors are a user-friendly way to connect wires.

  • Strip the ends of both wires you’re connecting to expose the metal.
  • Insert the stripped ends into the crimp connector so they meet in the middle.
  • Use a crimping tool to tightly squeeze the connector, securing the wires inside.

Here is a helpful video on how to use crimp connectors:

Soldering the Wires: For a more permanent connection, you can solder the wires.

  • Strip the ends of the wires.
  • Twist the stripped ends together.
  • Heat the joint with a soldering iron and apply solder until it flows over the connection.
  • Let it cool and then cover with electrical tape or heat-shrink tubing for insulation.

Testing the Connection: After connecting the wires, test the GPS car tracker to ensure it’s receiving power and functioning correctly.

Remember, working with electrical components requires caution. If you’re not confident about doing this yourself, consider consulting a professional. Proper connections are crucial for the reliable functioning of your GPS tracker.

Step 5: Use An Extension Cable

hard wire kit for GPS tracker

In Step 5, if your GPS tracker is far from the power source, you’ll need an extension cable. An extension cable is simply a length of wire that extends your tracker’s reach to the power source. It’s essential when your chosen location for the tracker isn’t close to the power wiring. When using one, route the cable carefully. Avoid areas with moving parts like the steering mechanism or seat adjusters. Also, steer clear of hot surfaces like the engine or exhaust. Secure the cable with zip ties to prevent it from dangling or getting caught. This keeps the installation neat and safe. Remember, a well-routed cable ensures your tracker works reliably without interference.

Step 6: Install The GPS Tracker

How To Hardwire A GPS Tracker

In Step 6, the focus shifts to installing the GPS tracker in your car. Once the wiring is connected, finding a discreet location for the tracker is key. You want to hide it to prevent tampering. Ideal spots are under the dashboard or behind the glove compartment. These locations are not only hidden but also offer protection from external elements.

When placing the tracker, ensure it’s in a position that doesn’t obstruct its signal. Avoid metal barriers as much as possible, as they can interfere with signal transmission. Once you find the perfect spot, secure the tracker in place. You have a couple of options here:

  • Double-Sided Tape: This is a quick and easy way to mount the tracker. Make sure the surface is clean before applying the tape for a strong bond.
  • Zip Ties: If you prefer a more secure method, zip ties are an excellent choice. They are especially useful if the tracker has mounting holes. Loop the ties through these holes and around a stable part of your car’s interior, like wiring harnesses or support structures.

Remember, the goal is to keep the tracker both concealed and securely mounted. A well-hidden and stable tracker ensures accurate tracking and reduces the risk of detection or damage.

Step 7: Install A Dash Cam (Optional Step)

To ensure maximum security and safety, you may also want to install a dash cam along with your GPS tracker. This will help you monitor your car’s activities and deter theft. You can connect the dash cam to the same power source as the GPS tracker and mount it on the dashboard or the windshield.

Vehicle Tracking Installation

Related Article: GPS Tracking Device Price List

GPS Tracker Installation Near Me – How To Find An Installer

Finding a reputable GPS tracking installer near you can be a daunting task. However, it is essential to choose a professional and reliable installer to ensure proper installation and compliance with local laws and regulations. One of the best ways to find a reputable GPS tracking installer is to search online for reviews and testimonials from previous customers. You can also ask for recommendations from friends, colleagues, or business associates who have installed GPS tracking systems in their vehicles.

GPS Installer

Another option is to contact GPS tracking equipment suppliers or manufacturers. They often provide installation services or can recommend authorized installers in your area. These suppliers and manufacturers also offer a wide range of GPS tracking systems, including hardwired vehicle tracking devices, asset trackers, and driver ID systems. They can help you choose the right system for your specific needs, whether it’s fleet tracking, car tracking, or asset tracking.

If you prefer to buy and install GPS tracking systems yourself, make sure to follow the manufacturer’s installation guide carefully. Most GPS tracking devices come with easy-to-follow instructions and wiring diagrams. However, it is important to have basic technical knowledge and experience to ensure proper installation and avoid damaging your vehicle’s electrical system. Battery-powered portable GPS trackers are easier to install but may not offer constant power like hardwired vehicle tracking devices.

Finding a reputable GPS tracking installer near you requires research and due diligence. Online reviews, recommendations from friends and colleagues, and contacting GPS tracking equipment suppliers and manufacturers are some of the best ways to find a reliable installer. Alternatively, you can buy and install GPS tracking systems yourself, but make sure to follow the manufacturer’s installation guide carefully and have basic technical knowledge and experience. Whether it’s for fleet tracking, car tracking, or asset tracking, GPS tracking systems can help you monitor and optimize your business operations, including mileage calculation, fuel costs monitoring, and GPS signals tracking.

SpaceHawk GS Tracker GIF

GPS Tracking Installation FAQs

Can I Install A GPS Tracking Device Myself?

Yes, it is possible to buy and install a GPS tracking device yourself. However, it is recommended to have the installation done by a professional to ensure safety and legality. DIY installation can also be challenging, especially for those without technical expertise. The reason? You could void the manufacturer’s warranty if you fry the vehicle tracker.

How Long Does It Take To Install A Car GPS Tracker?

The installation time for a car GPS depends on various factors, such as the type of device, the complexity of the installation, and the installer’s experience. Simple installations can take as little as an hour, while more complex installations may take several hours or even a full day.

How Much Does It Cost To Install A GPS Car Tracker?

The cost to install a GPS car tracker can range from $50 to $200, though this amount can vary. But what are some factors that influence the final price? First, the type of tracking device plays a crucial role; a simple hardwired GPS tracker might be on the lower end of the cost spectrum, while a more advanced dash cam with GPS tracking capabilities could be more expensive. Basically, the complexity of the installation process matters. If your vehicle’s make and model require intricate wiring or additional components, this can increase the cost. Lastly, consider the installer’s fees. Some suppliers offer free installation with the purchase of their devices, but others might charge additional fees. To avoid surprises, always ask for a detailed quote from the installer or supplier before making your purchase and setting up the installation.

Ryan Horban
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